Power Formula LinkedIn Blog

How to Capitalize NOW on an Important Upcoming LinkedIn Change

Posted on October 22, 2016
Wayne Breitbarth

Get ready. LinkedIn has announced that changes are coming soona very important one being the makeup of the custom feed on your LinkedIn home page when viewing it on your computer. Note: This does not relate to the mobile app. Man Reading the Definition of Change

Here's what they've said thus far:

"Through the LinkedIn Feed, we are inspiring and informing professionals every day with the most relevant industry and trending news. We want professionals coming to LinkedIn daily to get the right information on what’s trending in your company, in your industry, and in the news...Today we previewed the biggest advancements to date with our Interest Feed, giving professionals even more ways to discover, search and dive deeper into relevant trending content."

What does this change mean for you?

With this change, it's more important than ever to make sure you get relevant information about you, your company and your industry in the feeds of your network. screen-shot-2016-10-20-at-7-24-04-amAnd the simplest way to do that is to put together a plan for sharing status updates on a consistent basis.

Bear in mind, however, that you don't want to annoy your target audience with too much blatant self-promotion or irrelevant information or they'll simply start to ignore you.

What kind of information should you be sharing?

I would like to suggest a rule that has worked for me and many of my LinkedIn clients. I call it the 6/3/1 Rule.

Simply put, for every ten status updates you post on LinkedIn (no matter over what time frame those posts take place), follow this rule:

Six should be great educational information for your intended audience that you didn't write. This is stuff written by others in your area of expertise that resonated with you.

Three should be great educational information for your intended audience that you or your company authored or created. It could be blog posts, articles, video, checklists, white papers, customer testimonials, "how to" information, product comparisons, or other research that you believe will help your audience.

One can be flat-out promotional, attempting to sell your goods or services.

If you follow this rule, you'll be sharing great customer-focused information 90% of the time and directly promoting only 10% of the time.

I work really hard to adhere to this rule out of respect for my network. And, by the way, if you're not part of my network, send me an invitation to connect! Then when my network sees a post about the new edition of my book, my upcoming classes, or my LinkedIn consulting, they will probably say, This post doesn't bother me since most of the time Wayne shares great educational information about LinkedIn, and, after all, a guy's gotta make a living.

Using status updates correctly, no matter what social media site you're on, is one of the foundational principles you need to understand in order to be successful in the new digital marketing world. And the 6/3/1 Rule is particularly important on LinkedIn because it's meant to be a purely professional site.screen-shot-2016-10-20-at-7-14-04-am

If you want more concrete examples, I highly recommend Gary Vaynerchuk's book Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World. He provides lots of specific examples of how to share social media updates correctly. Although he doesn't specifically mention LinkedIn, many of the concepts are applicable.

Get in the habit now of engaging your network with consistent, informative status updates, and your efforts will pay even greater dividends when the new LinkedIn feed appears on your home page in the near future.

Is Your LinkedIn Profile Really Working for You?

Posted on October 15, 2016
Wayne Breitbarth

"Before I meet someone for the first time, I send them a link to my profile. I think that—when we meet someone—the entire first Business people shaking hands, finishing up a meetingmeeting (as well as the rest of the relationship) is a confirmation (or correction) of our pre-existing expectations. I send my profile in advance because I think it will establish the right expectations. Looking at my LinkedIn profile is a lot like meeting me."
Artie Isaac (Vistage chair, CEO coach, and  creativity trainer—convening CEO peer groups)

When my friend Artie Isaac said that, I had to stop and ask him to repeat it. Then I realized, holy cow, this is one of the best overall LinkedIn profile strategies I've ever heard—and I was bummed I didn't think of it myself!

If you aren't using this brilliant strategy, it just might be the reason your LinkedIn profile is not generating the profile views, connection requests or, more importantly, meeting requests/phone calls/emails etc. you'd like to see from the right people.

However, if you're going to direct people to your profile, you need to be certain it adequately reflects not only your experience but also your personality and passion—in other words, exactly what makes you tick.

7 quick and easy profile updates

You only get one chance to make a powerful first impression. These seven simple profile tweaks will help you put your best foot forward and engage with the people who look at your profile.

1.  Photo. Be sure your profile photo is current and you're wearing your typical business attire, because you want them to recognize you when you meet.

2.  First person. Write your profile in the first person because that makes it easier to draw someone in and quickly put them at ease. Third person can make you appear distant.

3.  Tone. Be sure the tone of your profile reflects your personality—such as friendly, funny, helpful, etc.—while still keeping in mind that LinkedIn is a professional site.screen-shot-2016-10-15-at-1-30-27-pm

4.  Concern for others. If you share your time and talents with nonprofit organizations, you may wish to include a reference to this in your Summary section or add separate Job Experience entries to share more specific details about your involvement with particular groups. Adding media to these profile sections can make them more interesting—and you can also request recommendations. These references can be great conversation starters.

5.  LinkedIn activity. Any status updates or published posts you originate or like, comment on or share will be a reflection of your personality and style. Therefore, be sure to think about how it might be perceived before clicking any of those buttons.

People can review your current activity screen-shot-2016-10-15-at-1-29-03-pmwhen visiting your profile by clicking the down arrow in your top box and selecting View Recent Activity. This allows the reader to get a feel for the information and type of audience you're passionate about.

6.  Interests. Add the Interests section to your profile and include your most important personal interests (without "going all Facebook"). These can also be good conversation starters.

7.  Groups. Join LinkedIn groups that reflect some of your personal interests—but be sure they are consistent with the professional brand you want to display. For instance, displaying certain political groups on your profile may offend some of your audience.

After you update your profile, ask a close friend or business associate if it is a positive and accurate representation of who you are—or, as my friend Artie said, is looking at it a lot like meeting you.

Here’s How to Make Your LinkedIn Profile More Engaging

Posted on October 1, 2016
Wayne Breitbarth

Engaging: very attractive or pleasing in a way that holds your attention (Merriam Webster Dictionary)

Friends giving a laptop gift to a surprised girlIs your LinkedIn profile very attractive and pleasing (to your target audience) in a way that holds your (target audience's) attention?

To answer that question, you first need to clearly define your LinkedIn target audience. My free resource below, Finding Your Target Audience, will help you determine exactly who you want to reach.

How to make your profile more engaging

After you've identified your target audience, follow these three simple steps to spruce up your LinkedIn profile. Include the information your target audience is interested in seeing, and soon you'll have your target audience knocking at your door.

screen-shot-2016-09-28-at-8-59-05-amAdd media. By simply clicking the Add Media icon, you can upload documents or add links to website pages. Media can be added to your Summary, Job Experience and Educational Experience entries on your profile. You'll not only greatly improve the look of your profile, but people will be able to watch, download or read your most helpful content right from your LinkedIn profile.

screen-shot-2016-09-28-at-9-06-46-amRearrange profile sections. People view your profile from top to bottom, so be sure your best information is near the top to encourage viewers to keep reading.

By clicking the up-down arrow icon on any profile section or individual job entry, you can lay your profile out in just the right order that will hold your target audience's attention for a much longer time.

screen-shot-2016-09-28-at-9-03-13-amOptimize your profile headline. The headline of any article is written so that it grabs the attention of the intended audience and encourages that audience to read the full article. Does your LinkedIn profile headline grab the attention of your intended audience or does it simply state your current title and employer?

I think your headline is the most important 120 characters on your entire profile. For quick ways to optimize your headline, check out my worksheet The Definitive Worksheet to Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile Headline under the Free Resources tab on my website.

Once you've followed these steps and created an engaging profile, your target audience will be excited to engage with you--which should lead to new relationships and business growth.

For help with defining your target audience, check out the attached Finding Your LinkedIn Target Audience worksheet.

Download (PDF, 130KB)

Your LinkedIn Help is on the Way

Posted on September 25, 2016
Wayne Breitbarth

In my recent LinkedIn user survey, I asked:

"What would you like to learn this year in my weekly emails?"

Sign Directions Support Help Tips Advice Guidance Assistance isolated on white background. 3D render

There were more than 200 responses to this question, and I will address many of them right here in the upcoming months.

However, quite a few of them can be answered easily by using one of these three resources:

1. My book, The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success, now in its 3rd edition

2. My blog

3. LinkedIn's Help Center

You may have already purchased my book, one of the first two editions or maybe the new 3rd edition. And if you have, thank you! You will find answers to many of screen-shot-2016-09-22-at-3-48-14-pmyour foundational, blocking-and-tackling LinkedIn questions in the book.

Secondly, my blog (over 275 articles for both beginners and advanced users) is completely searchable by entering keyword(s) in the search box. This is the most comprehensive database of LinkedIn strategies available anywhere.

Thirdly, the LinkedIn Help Center (which even I access several times each and every week) is just a few clicks away. The Help Center is filled with answers to many of the technical questions you may have. You won't find a lot of help with LinkedIn strategy, but that's where I come in!

To access the Help Center, place your cursor over your photo on the top toolbar. Then select Help Center. Enter a few keywords in the How Can We Help You box, and you should get a list of all the articles that address your question or concern.

If you are unable to get your answer from one of these articles, open a job ticket, and screen-shot-2016-09-22-at-3-43-54-pmsomeone from LinkedIn will investigate and get back to you. Click the Contact us tab (bottom of page) to get started.

The response will not be quick, but they usually answer. In my experience, it typically takes about 48 hours for them to respond. I'm sorry to say there's no toll-free 800 number to call. Also, I have not found the response time to be shorter if you have a premium account.

I look forward to addressing specific survey responses in the near future. But if you'd like me to help you on a one-on-one basis, feel free to contact me to get more details about the consulting services I provide in person or on the phone.

Here’s How to Make LinkedIn Part of Your 2017 Success Plan

Posted on September 17, 2016
Wayne Breitbarth

Are you starting to put your game plan together for 2017? Is LinkedIn part of that 2017 Just Ahead Green Road Sign Against Cloudsplan? If not, it's probably because you don't know exactly what to do each week to get results.

Well, it's your lucky day. I recently revised and updated my LinkedIn Game Plan for Success: Your One-Hour Weekly Playbook for Results. It's received rave reviews from my recent audiences, and I know you're going to love it, too.

Start following these steps this fall so that by the start of 2017 they become part of your weekly routine.

2017 LinkedIn Game Plan for Success

You can download Power Formula for LinkedIn Success 3rd Editionthe full worksheet below, but here's a quick summary of the weekly process that's sure to kick-start your business and career in the new year.

Page number references in the worksheet refer to the brand new 3rd Edition of my book The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success. Pick up a copy at your nearby book store or Amazon.com to learn more simple ways to acquire lucrative new customers, land a great new job, and, of course, substantially boost your income.

1. Start by checking out profiles of people you're considering connecting with, taking specific note of the things they're posting and sharing.
 Consider mentioning them using the "@" sign before typing in their name when sharing one of their updates. Be sure to keep an eye on your "Who's Viewed Your Profile" section to see if they check you out. That would be a good sign.

2. Use a custom invitation and invite ten people in your target audience to join your network. This will take about 15 minutes per week, but strengthening your network is bound to result in more future business.

3. Send a follow-up thank-you note to ten people who have agreed to join your network. This should only take about ten minutes, and it gives you an opportunity to request a meeting or phone call that could lead to new business or lucrative referrals.

4. Engage with your audience. Like, share or comment on status updates, published posts or company page updates made by ten of your most important connections. This, too, should only take about ten minutes, and it's a great way to stay on the radar of your target audience.

5. Post ten helpful status updates each week. This might take you 20 minutes per week, but it will go a long way toward establishing yourself as a rockstar in your field--and it also gives you an opportunity to promote your products and services.

Use my 6/3/1 rule when making your posts. Six posts can provide useful content from others, three posts should include helpful content from you and your company, and one post can promote your products or services.

You're now prepared to hit the ground running in the new year and make it your best year ever.


Download (PDF, 10.79MB)

Is There a Nonprofit Looking for You?

Posted on September 11, 2016
Wayne Breitbarth

DB_NHQSept27_16_LinkedInWhile preparing for a LinkedIn presentation later this month, I came upon a tip that I need to share with you right now! If you're involved in a nonprofit in any way (volunteer, staff, board member, donor, etc.) or wish to get involved for the first time, this tip will be a home run for you.

(If you'd like to catch the full LinkedIn Strategies for Nonprofits presentation later this month, you can register here to attend the free live event in Madison, Wisconsin, or watch it live on Facebook Live, Periscope or Twitter.)

Here's how to get started

If you'd like to open the door for some worthy nonprofit to capitalize on your unique Screen Shot 2016-09-05 at 12.27.01 PMskills and desire to help, add the optional Volunteering Opportunities section to your profile. You can then select whether you're interested in providing skills-based volunteering or serving on a board. With these two options, every one of us, regardless of our experience level and skill set, can find the perfect match between our skills/desires and a need that exists in our community.

Your interests will then be displayed on your profile, which is great, but the real power is unleashed when a LinkedIn member uses the Advanced People Search filters to find someone with your particular interests.

How does the Advanced People Search work?

Just the other day I was working with ACTS Housing (a Milwaukee area nonprofit that makes it possible for low-income families to become home owners). They were looking for someone screen-shot-2016-09-11-at-10-40-43-amwho could take a few trees down at a property they were renovating for a client.

To get a targeted list of candidates, we took the following steps:

1. Clicked Advanced in the top toolbar.

2. Entered the words "tree cutting" OR "tree cutter" OR "tree trimming" OR arborist in the Keywords box.

3. Clicked all four boxes under the Relationship section.

4. Entered the corresponding zip code and mileage range we felt people might travel to help them.

5. Clicked the Skilled Volunteering box in the Nonprofit Interests search filter.

6. Clicked the blue Search box.screen-shot-2016-09-11-at-10-40-20-am

And magically a targeted list of tree professionals living in the area who have a desire to volunteer appeared. We got 60 people who were raising their hands for this specific opportunity.

Simply put, I believe this combination of features (Volunteering Opportunities profile section and Advanced People Search) is the best one that LinkedIn has ever come up with. I have to give them a big shout-out on this one.

Is your hand raised high?

Have you added the Volunteering Opportunities profile section to make sure your hand is raised when some worthy nonprofit organization is looking for a person just like you


If you're already working for or helping a nonprofit, have you taken advantage of these powerful Advanced People Search criteria to fill your next board or volunteer opening?

If you know of an organization or association that might be interested in taking advantage of my LinkedIn for Nonprofits workshop or need help understanding how LinkedIn can fit into their growth plans, just drop me a note at wayne@powerformula.net.

7 Amazing but Hard-to-Find Free LinkedIn Features

Posted on September 3, 2016
Wayne Breitbarth

Most LinkedIn users (79% according to my latest LinkedIn user survey) are not Screen Shot 2016-09-01 at 9.58.24 AMpaying anything to use the site. That's why most of what I teach in my book, my online training course, and in my live corporate and individual sessions focuses on becoming a skillful user of the free account.

Here are seven simple ways you can capitalize on powerful, hard-to-find LinkedIn features without spending a cent.

1.  Save Advanced People Searches. This is like having a 24/7 virtual assistant who's always looking for the right people. Once you've completed anScreen Shot 2016-09-01 at 9.21.27 AM Advanced People Search that gives you a list of just the right folks, click the words Save search (top right corner). Then each week LinkedIn will automatically show you new people who meet your defined search criteria. This is absolutely priceless. For more information on this feature, click here.

2.  Find fellow alumni. It's hard to explain the warm, fuzzy feelings fellow alumni have for each other, but LinkedIn makes it very easy to find and contact your fellow alumni--and many times they'll be quite willing to do business with you. Screen Shot 2016-09-01 at 9.23.38 AM

Select Universities from the drop-down menu and type the name of your school in the search box. Choose your school when it shows up on the list, and then select Students & Alumni. Choose your filter columns or keywords, and LinkedIn magically shows you just the right fellow alums--smiling faces and all. Ka-ching! For more information on the Alumni feature, click here.

3.  Add media to your profile. To create a compelling profile, you need to strategically tell your professional story. A simple way to enhance your written story is to add links to important websites and upload media or other files. Screen Shot 2016-09-01 at 9.26.44 AM

Click the Add media button to add your best stuff to your Summary, Experience, and Education entries. Viewers will then be able to watch, download, and read your most important work samples, company information, personal testimonials and recommendations, and so much more. For more information about adding media, click here.

4.  Download your connections database. Who wouldn't want a spreadsheet of their first-level connections' first and last name, current company and title, and primary LinkedIn email address? Screen Shot 2016-09-01 at 9.28.03 AM

Simply select Connections under the My Network tab on your top toolbar, and then click the Settings icon. Next, click Export LinkedIn Connections on the top right, and then enter your user name and password. Within minutes LinkedIn will send you a zip file with that information and much more.

Screen Shot 2016-09-01 at 9.38.50 AM5.  Use the Relationship tab. All of your first-level connections have a Relationship section at the top of their profile where you can make confidential notes, set follow-up reminders, and use tags to file their names in your predetermined file drawers. This could be the easy-to-use CRM (customer relationship management) tool you've been looking for. For more information about this feature, click here.

6.  Send messages to fellow group members. Unless you have a premium account, you cannot send a direct message to people who are outside your network without incurring an InMail fee--with one exception. Each month LinkedIn gives you 15 free direct messages you can send to people who have agreed to accept messages from fellow group members. Screen Shot 2016-09-01 at 9.32.17 AMInMails typically cost $10 each, so this is a $150 gift from LinkedIn.

You can join a group just long enough to send someone a free InMail. Under the group name, click the number of members, and enter the person's name in the Find a member box. Then select the envelope icon to the right of the person's name.

7.  Search your connections' connections. This is an easy way to look for potential customers, employers, etc. whom your connection can introduce you to.

Start by clicking the magnifying Screen Shot 2016-09-01 at 9.34.30 AMglass in the Connections section of one of your first-level connection's profile. After clicking, in place of the magnifying glass, a box appears where you can enter keywords. LinkedIn will then provide all the people in your connection's network who have those keywords included on their profile. To learn more about this valuable feature, click here.

There you have it--seven features that would certainly be worth paying for, but they're totally free.

For step-by-step video lessons on these features and many more, check out my advanced LinkedIn online course by clicking here.

10 Simple Ways to Improve Your LinkedIn Summary

Posted on August 28, 2016
Wayne Breitbarth

man and modern elevator with opened doors to field

A well-executed elevator speech is a powerful business tool. During the time it takes for an average elevator ride, you need to sum up what your company makes or does and get your listener excited about it. 

Your LinkedIn Summary section is similar to an elevator speech. Because it typically shows up near the top of your profile, it's one of the first things a person sees when looking at your profile. It has also gained much higher importance since LinkedIn revised their IMG_0051app last fall. The first 78 characters (including spaces) of your Summary are now prominently displayed near the top of your profile when it appears on the app.

This screen shot shows how one of my LinkedIn consulting clients takes advantage of this.

Your Summary is the perfect place to market and brand yourself and your business. It should:

  • Act like a cover letter for the rest of your profile
  • Include your most strategic keywords
  • Move your readers to action

It can include up to 2,000 characters, and I suggest you use every one of them. Use a word processing program, do a spell-check and character count, and then paste it into your profile.

10 simple ways to enhance your LinkedIn Summary

Following these suggestions will help you creatively tell your unique business story and improve your chances of being found by the right people.

1.  Describe briefly the types of jobs you have had and any major accomplishments. Don't waste this space with all the details. That's what the Experience section is for. But if there's something you want to summarize or highlight, do it here.

2.  Describe your perfect customer, vendor relationship, employee, etc. If you're a job seeker, describe your perfect job.

3.  Include a direct quote from an impressive customer testimonial or letter of recommendation. If you want to share the entire testimonial or recommendation, include the quote in your Summary and then direct the reader to the complete document in the Add Media section below your Summary.

To learn how adding media can pay big dividends, check out my article Does Your Profile Need a Boost? Add Media!

4.  Describe what makes you, your company, and your products unique.

5.  Describe how you help people/companies accomplish their goals--and if you're a jobScreen Shot 2016-08-25 at 9.12.20 AM seeker, explain how your skills, experiences, and proven results can be used to improve a prospective employer's business. This screen shot shows how I use this strategy on my profile.

6.  Describe briefly any of your business relationships or experiences that resulted in superior outcomes.

Screen Shot 2016-08-25 at 9.10.18 AM7.  Include a specific call to action so the reader knows what to do next. This screen shot shows how I use calls to action in my profile.

8.  It's important to use a significant portion of your Summary section to share forward-thinking ideas and thoughts. Outline new markets or new job opportunities you are considering and the type of relationships that could assist you in that effort. Don't just duplicate the Experience and Education sections that revolve around your history.

9.  Describe your company's products, services, history, locations, etc. This description should include the critical keywords your company uses in its website.

10. If you feel comfortable doing so, include business-related contact information.

For more simple ways to create and enhance the Summary section of your profile, check out Chapter 7 in the third edition of my book titled That's My Boy. The LinkedIn Profile: Summary Section.

Are You Spending Enough Time on LinkedIn to Get Results?

Posted on August 21, 2016
Wayne Breitbarth

Online Internet Web Coupon for Laptop Computer Discount ShoppingMany of the best ideas in life never get implemented because there just isn't enough time.

I frequently make this comment in my closing remarks at LinkedIn speaking engagements:

If my LinkedIn book came with a coupon in the back for an extra hour each day (a bonus 25th hour), I know that more of you would fully embrace many of the great features I just shared with you.

Perhaps lack of time is one of your LinkedIn hurdles as well. So let's take a look at how much time successful LinkedIn users are actually spending on the site.

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 11.34.39 AMAccording to my most recent LinkedIn user survey, just over half of respondents said they're spending zero to two hours per week on LinkedIn, but 15% of the users are spending more than one hour per day!

How much time does it take to get verifiable results on LinkedIn?

By digging deeper into the survey results, we can see the correlation between the amount of time spent on LinkedIn and the success users are having as a result of the time they spend.

When asked How important is LinkedIn in your efforts to grow your network and Screen Shot 2016-07-30 at 10.22.35 AMdevelop your business or help you find employment, respondents answered 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5, with 5 representing extremely important and 1 representing not important.

About one-tenth of those surveyed answered 1 or 2, but only 13% of them are spending three or more hours per week on LinkedIn.

Two-thirds of the survey respondents answered 4 or 5, and a full 60% of them are spending more than three hours per week on LinkedIn. 

First of all, it's good news that two-thirds of all respondents consider LinkedIn to be very helpful to their business or career. But it's also important to note that the majority of those users are spending in excess of three hours per week. Personally, I don't think it's a tremendous leap to conclude that most people who make a significantly larger commitment of time on LinkedIn are seeing real results from that increased time devoted to LinkedIn.

What should you be doing with your time on LinkedIn to optimize your effectiveness?

Like most things in life, the more time you put in, the more results you get--as long as you're spending your time doing the right things. So, what are the right things?

Without having a one-on-one LinkedIn consulting session with you to learn more about you and your business, it's hard for me to answer that specifically, but here are the top three activities that will produce results, regardless of your individual objectives and strategies on LinkedIn. They have been extracted from my free 20-question LinkedIn self-assessment titled LinkedIn Success Scorecard: How do you measure up? Download your free copy below.

In an average week, how often do you post an individual status update? [0 = 0 points, 1-5 = 5 points, 6-10 = 7 points, 10+ = 10 points]

To learn more about posting status updates, read LinkedIn Status Updates: The Rule Everyone Should Follow.

Have you saved at least one Advanced People Search? [10 points]

To learn how easy it is to amp up your results by using saved searches, read Have You Ever Called on the LinkedIn Dynamic Duo?

When people in your target audience show up on your “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” list, how often do you send them a message or an invitation to connect?  [Never = 0 points, Sometimes = 2 points, Frequently = 5 points, Always = 5 points]

Read Are You Taking Advantage of the Top Rated LinkedIn Feature to learn how this LinkedIn feature can pay big dividends. 

These three activities are best practices with most of my consulting clients, but it's important for you to evaluate the features and activities you're spending your time on each week and make sure they're giving you the results you desire.

If you'd like to schedule a personal session with me to learn more specific ways to generate results for your company or your career, contact me here.

For more suggestions on how to manage your LinkedIn account on a daily, weekly, monthly, and periodic basis, check out Chapter 19 of the newest edition of my bestselling LinkedIn book Ready...Set...Go! A Six-Week, Two-Hour-Per-Week Road Map to Results.

LinkedIn Success Scorecard: How do you measure up?

Download (PDF, 304KB)

Do You Want to Know the Top 2 Reasons to Use LinkedIn?

Posted on August 14, 2016
Wayne Breitbarth

LinkedIn has lots of potential uses, depending on Mobile Linkedin smwho you are, what you do, who you want to meet, where you're located, etc. But just what are the typical business functions most people say LinkedIn has helped them with?

According to my latest LinkedIn user survey, the vast majority of respondents said two functions are far and away the most useful:

  • Research people and companies (77% of respondents)
  • Reconnect with past business associates/colleagues (71% of respondents)

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 11.35.19 AMAnd as you can see in this chart, all other features are perceived as much less helpful.

Here are some simple strategies and techniques you can use to get significant results for your business and career with these two LinkedIn features.

Research people and companies

Advanced People Search. The Advanced People Search filters will help you quickly and easily search LinkedIn's half a billion member database and zero in on your target audience. Improve your skills at using the Advanced People Search feature and your LinkedIn ROI will go through the roof.

Company page search. If you know the name of your target companies (for Screen Shot 2016-08-12 at 4.52.07 PManything from sales to job seeking and everything in between), simply type the name of the company in the search box at the top of your home page. When your target companies show up in the search results listing, click that entry, and LinkedIn will take you to their company page.

On the company page you will see details about the company's products, services, markets they serve, job openings, contact information, and shared updates. If you click the (Number) Employees on LinkedIn, you'll get a complete list of all their employees who have LinkedIn accounts. Then you can use the Advanced People Search filters to uncover the exact people you're trying to find.

Once you find the right people, follow the ten steps outlined in my article "Got a Meeting? Then You Better Get on LinkedIn" to learn how to instantly capitalize on the information you discover on their profiles.

Reconnect with past business associates/colleagues

Advanced People Search. In the Company box, enter the name of the company you used to work for and choose the filters you'd like to apply (Current or past, Current, Screen Shot 2016-08-14 at 1.44.33 PMPast, or Past not current). Then in the Title box, enter the name of the department you used to work in (e.g., marketing, finance, etc.), and you'll get a list of most of the people you worked with at the company--and hopefully contact with one or more of those people will lead to your next big sale or job opportunity.

Company Alumni Groups. Some of the larger national and international employers have strategically set up specific LinkedIn groups for past employees so the company can maintain a positive relationship with them.

You may also find unofficial company alumni groups that could open the door to tremendous networking opportunities. To find them, just click the down arrow next to the search box on your top toolbar and select Groups. Then type the name of the company in the search box and add the word alumni.

Screen Shot 2016-08-12 at 4.57.36 PM

University Page. Most people have warm, fuzzy feelings about their alma mater and thus are more likely to consider doing business with fellow alumni--and it's easy to locate them with this powerful LinkedIn feature.

Select Universities from the drop-down menu, enter the name of your college or university, and it should appear in the resulting list. Screen Shot 2016-08-12 at 5.02.34 PM Once you click your school's entry, you'll land on their University Page. Select Students & AlumniAttended or Graduated, and choose a date range. Getting a list of fellow alums is just that simple.

University Alumni Groups. Find, interact and connect with people who are members of official and/or unofficial LinkedIn groups related to your university.

Get busy and capitalize on LinkedIn's powerful features for researching people and companies and reconnecting with past business associates and colleagues.

And once you reach out to any of these people, be sure to customize your invitation to connect by using the strategies outlined in my Five Star Connection Tip Sheet, which is one of the resources from my online video course Explode Your Revenues Using LinkedIn.

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