Power Formula LinkedIn Blog

Are You Kidding? You Want to Join My LinkedIn Network?

Posted on February 7, 2016
Wayne Breitbarth

People frequently ask me what they should do when people they don’t iStock_000024116995_Smallknow invite them to connect on LinkedIn. This will begin to happen with greater frequency as you become more active on LinkedIn, especially if you decide to join larger groups. Some people assume that because you’re members of the same group, you will want to connect with them on the first-degree level.

To see who wants to join your network, click the Add People icon on Screen Shot 2016-02-05 at 10.55.29 AMthe right side of your top toolbar and then choose See all on the Pending Invitations line.

This next step is critically important but often overlooked. Scroll over the blue quotation marks in the top right corner of each invitation.Screen Shot 2016-02-05 at 11.34.06 AM If anyone took the time to write a personal note to which you’d like to respond, be sure to reply immediately, because once you accept an invitation or choose to ignore and archive it, the message will disappear.

How to respond to an invitation

You have three options when responding to an invitation. You can:

1. Accept. If you click the circled checkmark, the person will immediately become a first-degree connection. This is the perfect time to invite him or her to do something that is likely to move your relationship forward.

As soon as I accept someone’s invitation, I send a thank-you-for-connecting note and ask if the person would like to begin receiving my free weekly email of LinkedIn tips and strategies.

2. Reply (don’t accept yet). People often overlook the option of using the Reply feature because it’s not readily visible as an option. As mentioned earlier, if you scroll over the blue quotation marks, you can review the message from the person who has invited you into his/her network. You can reply without accepting the invitation by clicking theScreen Shot 2016-02-05 at 11.36.34 AM arrow at the top of the person’s message.

If I’ve had an interesting meeting with the person and we belong to the same group or club, I might send a message saying something like, “At the next meeting, let’s make sure we connect and get to know each other better so we can join each other’s LinkedIn network.”

3. Ignore and archive. If you click the circled X, the invitation will be put into the archive file and marked Ignore. Before deciding to ignore an invitation, I suggest you check out the person’s profile to determine whether there might be a reason to meet him or her.

After selecting Ignore, you’ll have two additional options—I don’t know [name] or This is spam. If you select I don’t know [name], the person will not be allowed to send you any more invitations. In both instances your feedback assists LinkedIn in deciding whether to restrict this person’s account in some way.

Consider these options when you decide whether to accept people into your LinkedIn network. Then your network will be made up of only the people you are truly interested in communicating with and potentially doing business with in the future.

Got a Meeting? Then You Better Get on LinkedIn

Posted on January 31, 2016
Wayne Breitbarth

Way to go! You finally got that meeting or phone call set up with a Businessman Searching Candidate With Magnifying Glassperson you’ve been looking forward to talking with. Whether it’s a sales call, job interview, donor information session, or just a casual coffee with someone who might be able to help you, you’ve taken the first step.

But how can you best prepare for this important meeting? Go straight to the person’s LinkedIn profile. It’s a virtual goldmine of insights about him/her. And knowing this information will significantly increase your odds of getting the results you’re seeking.

**Note: You may not be able to do some of these steps on the LinkedIn mobile app.

10 tips to discover golden nuggets of information

In just a few short minutes, you will be able to get a pretty good idea about who this person is and what’s important to him/her–and you’re sure to find an icebreaker topic or two as well.

1.  Summary. After reading this, you may know precisely what other sections you will want to concentrate on.

2.  In Common With. Scroll over each circle to see what you have in Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 5.27.05 AMcommon. This can include past employers, location, schools, groups, interests, etc. It’s a great place to find bits of information to break the ice when meeting someone.

3.  Review their uploaded media items. Watching a video they’re in, reading a document they wrote, viewing a slideshow they prepared, etc. can really give you insights into who they are and what’s important to them.

4.  Recommendations. Read a few they’ve received and also some they wrote for others. This is priceless information. You’ll gain great insights into what they think is important and what others think about them.

5.  Education. If you find a fellow alumnus here, it’s usually a home run.

6.  Look at Shared Connections. These are the friends you have in Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 5.28.35 AMcommon. You may even want to get ahold of one or two of them to get the scoop on this person.

7.  Groups. By scrolling through the full list of the person’s LinkedIn groups, you can really get a feel for their personal and professional interests.

8.  Interests. In this section the person lays out on a golden platter what he/she is most passionate about. These are perfect conversation starters.

9.  Volunteer Experience & Causes. This may give you even more insight into where someone’s heart is. Don’t be afraid to mention this in your discussion with the person. People usually love to talk about the organizations they support.

10.  Experience. Look for companies, careers, etc. that you have in common and thus can leverage when starting a new relationship. You may also find significant volunteer experiences listed here that are great conversation starters.

You may want to keep this list handy and use it as a checklist for all of your upcoming meetings with strangers. Perhaps they won’t be quite as “strange” after you’re done checking them out!

Is Your LinkedIn Profile Just the Beginning or is it a Dead End?

Posted on January 23, 2016
Wayne Breitbarth

Almost everything on LinkedIn starts with your profile. An impressive profile is likely to spark engagement with you, but a lackluster profile may cause viewers to head straight to your competitor’s profile. Therefore, it’s important to build out a comprehensive and visually appealing profile. iStock_000047549932_Small

A few weeks ago I shared with you simple ways to tune up the five most important sections of your profile–photo, headline, summary, current job titles, and job experiences). If you missed those free tips, check them out here.

Today I’d like to share with you a free chapter from the 3rd edition of my bestselling book The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success, which just hit the bookstore shelves this month. This chapter includes an in-depth look at some often overlooked but game-changing profile sections and tools that can set you apart from your competition and help you grow your revenue.

LinkedIn capabilities you don’t want to miss

Here is a quick overview of Chapter 9 of my book. View or download the full chapter below.

Professional Portfolio: Adding eye-catching media to your summary, current or past job experiences, and any of your educational entries is quite simple. And if your media is helpful to your viewers, they’ll be more likely to contact you and potentially do business with you.

Skills & Endorsements: This is your chance to include up to fifty of your most important keywords, thereby showing readers exactly who you are and what you do. Also, including these keywords will cause you to appear higher in the LinkedIn search rankings when people are searching for someone like you.

Volunteer Experience & Causes: People love to do business with people who are helping the world they live in, and this special section enables you to highlight your efforts to make a difference–and it gives your favorite nonprofit a boost too.

Advice for Contacting: If you add this section to your profile, it will be easy for people to contact you, even if they’re not connected to you on LinkedIn. This is especially important if your job includes any type of business development.

Reordering your profile sections: Because most readers will spend only a few moments perusing your profile, you may find it advantageous to rearrange your profile sections in order to emphasize your most important information.

Calls to action: You don’t want people to just look at your profile–you want them to do something! Encourage them to act by including at least one call to action. You might invite them to download an informational document, watch a video, go to your website, or request a quote.

For a more in-depth look at the profile sections and strategies discussed above, download your FREE copy of Chapter 9 of my book.


Download (PDF, 3.27MB)

How to Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile for Mobile (Part 2)

Posted on January 17, 2016
Wayne Breitbarth

Last week I addressed seven simple ways to tweak your LinkedIn profile to give it a more professional appearance on the mobile app–iStock_000024725062_Smalland also improve the likelihood that viewers will engage with you.

Let me remind you again that you can do some editing on the mobile site, but I suggest you make changes to your profile on the LinkedIn site rather than on the app. However, wherever you choose to make changes, be sure to check how your changes appear on the LinkedIn site and the mobile app.

More ways to get your mobile house in order

It will take a few minutes to make these tweaks, but it will be time well spent since more than 50 percent of LinkedIn members are now using the mobile app.

Job Titles.  LinkedIn does not truncate your job titles on mobile, so you’ll want to take full advantage of your 100 characters. And by including Screen Shot 2016-01-05 at 3.44.08 PMa few descriptive words after your formal job title, readers will understand exactly what you can do for them–and it will also improve where you appear in the LinkedIn search rankings.

Volunteering.  Because this optional profile section appears on mobile, be sure to highlight any nonprofit organizations with which you’re involved.

Skills & Endorsements.  The top four skills you’ve listed on your regular profile will be displayed on your mobile profile. Therefore, make sure IMG_0880they are your most important skills (a/k/a keywords). As you may have noticed, this section seems to have a mind of its own, but you can add additional skills and rearrange the skills in the order you prefer.

Recommendations.  On mobile, LinkedIn highlights one of your recommendations–and usually only the first part of that recommendation. I can’t figure out how they choose which one to display, but if the one that shows up on your mobile profile isn’t as flattering as you’d like it to be, I suggest you ask the writer to revise his/her recommendation. In the alternative, you may wish to hide that recommendation. Then, if you’re lucky, LinkedIn might display one of your more impactful recommendations on mobile.

Accomplishments.  This mobile section displays the raw number of publications, courses and certifications from the corresponding Screen Shot 2016-01-05 at 3.37.31 PMsections on your LinkedIn profile. Therefore, if you have published material, taken courses or received certifications, be sure to flaunt them on your profile, and you’ll receive the added benefit of having these numbers show up on mobile.

People Also Viewed.  This is the final section of your mobile profile, and LinkedIn has given it lots of space and even a color of its own for added emphasis. But it’s important to decide whether you really want this emphasis.

People Also Viewed is an optional section on your LinkedIn profile, IMG_0882but it is automatically included unless you go to Settings and choose to eliminate it. Some people see it as a roadmap to their competitors. Only you can decide if it’s helping or hurting you.

To learn more, read LinkedIn’s People Also Viewed: How to Make it Work for You.

There you have it–all the steps you need to take to ensure that your professional brand is being displayed clearly and correctly on LinkedIn’s mobile site.

How to Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile for Mobile (Part 1)

Posted on January 10, 2016
Wayne Breitbarth

Have you checked what your LinkedIn profile looks like on the new LinkedIn mobile app?

iStock_000017395826_SmallIf you haven’t, you may be surprised when you see what information LinkedIn has decided to highlight, truncate or eliminate altogether. With over 50 percent of LinkedIn members now using the mobile app, you could be missing the boat when it comes to promoting your professional brand.

How to get your mobile house in order

Here are some of the simple steps you can take to put your best foot forward with mobile users. I will have more helpful hints for you next week.

I suggest making changes to your profile on the LinkedIn site versus on the app–but it is possible to do some editing on the mobile site. However, wherever you choose to make changes, be sure to check how your changes appear on the LinkedIn site and the mobile app.

Photo.  If you don’t have a photo on your profile, most people will wonder if you even use your LinkedIn account. If you want to be taken IMG_0883seriously, use a professional quality photo. And beware–if the resolution is not high enough, your photo won’t fill the circle, and you’ll look like an amateur.

Banner.  The banner image is quite a bit smaller on the mobile app, and only part of your full banner is visible. You only get one chance to make a first impression. Configure your profile banner so it looks impressive on the LinkedIn site as well as the mobile app.

Headline.  This gets truncated to just 58 characters (including spaces) on mobile. Thus, you’ll obviously want those 58 characters to display a clear statement of who you are and what you do.

Education.  Because only your first education entry shows up, it’s important to display your best entry. It’s still smart to put on your profile the one-day specialty training course you attended last year, but that’s not the first thing you want viewers to see.

Summary.  On the mobile app, people will see the first 78 characters (including spaces) from your profile summary. This shows up right below your location, so it’s important to take full advantage of those characters. I’ve seen some sales professionals include their phone number and business email here so viewers don’t have to struggle to IMG_0878find that information.

Posts.  Published posts get high priority on the mobile app. One post is visible until a viewer chooses to view more. Therefore, you’ll want to have at least one post that includes an eye-catching image.

Activity.  The mobile app displays your last two status updates. Don’t miss this opportunity to increase your credibility with the LinkedIn community–especially if your competitors are consistently sharing helpful information.

Spend some time this week getting these areas of your mobile house in order, and next week I’ll show you how you can improve six more areas of your mobile profile.

Happy New Year!

LinkedIn made a number of big, well-publicized changes this year, like commercial use search limit, the complete revamp of groups, and iStock_000011073938_Smallchanging the messaging system from an email-based system to more of a text messaging system. The links above will get you up to speed if you missed any of these changes.

But before we close the book on 2015, here are some of the less-publicized additions and changes LinkedIn made last year and some simple tips to help you take advantage of them in the new year.

Capitalize on LinkedIn’s 2015 updates and new features

Screen Shot 2015-12-29 at 1.37.55 PM1.  Follow people who aren’t in your first-level network. Once you begin following them, you’ll start receiving notifications of their published posts and status updates. To begin following someone, go to his/her profile, hover over the down arrow to the right of the Send InMail button, and click Follow.

2.  You can still invite people in your third-level network to become first-level connections. LinkedIn buried the Connect button this year, but it’s easy to send an invitation once you’ve found the button. Simply hover over the down arrow to the rightScreen Shot 2015-12-29 at 1.34.51 PM of the Send InMail button and click Connect in the drop-down menu. You can then send a customized invitation–and you’ll be more likely to have your invitation accepted if you follow my five-star invitation rules.

3.  Skills are becoming more important. Users who have upgraded to the Recruiter Premium Account can now sort a list of candidates by the skills required for the position. Therefore, it’s to your advantage to include your most important keywords in your Skills section. I’m not privy to LinkedIn’s search algorithm, but I assume that people with the most endorsements for their skills will show up higher in the search results.

Obviously, this is extremely important for job seekers. Click here to learn more about this important feature.

4.  Direct messaging up to 50 people at a time is virtually dead. In the past, when you sent a message to a group of people, you could hide the names of the recipients, and each person would receive the message in his/her inbox and be unaware that you sent the same message to other people. Now there is no way to hide the other recipients. Worse yet, most people don’t realize that when they reply to you, all recipients will see their comments. For those reasons, I’ve stopped using this feature.

5.  You can now join up to 100 groups instead of 50. This is a really big deal if my assumption about LinkedIn’s proprietary relevancy algorithm is correct. If fellow group members are searching for someone like you, I think you’ll be higher in the search results because of your common group membership. Thus, you’re more likely to show up in more search results if you belong to lots of groups.

Warning: The more groups you join, the more important it is to control the group email notifications or you will be deluged with emails. To avoid this problem, hover over your photo on your top toolbar, select Privacy & Settings from the drop-down menu, and then select the Groups, Companies & Applications tab. Next, click Set the frequency of group digest emails and choose whether you want to hear from that group daily (which is the default), weekly or never.

6.  You can still send 15 free direct messages each month to fellow group members who are not in your first-level network. Whether you’re in one group or 100 groups, you get 15 free direct messages. Screen Shot 2015-12-29 at 2.04.30 PMTake advantage of this gift from LinkedIn when you want to contact someone who isn’t in your first-level network.

When you find a fellow group member whom you’d like to direct message, simply click the Envelope icon.

7.  The opening sentences on your company page are critically Screen Shot 2015-12-29 at 1.42.37 PMimportant. The company information displayed on the mobile app and in the pop-up box on employees’ profiles is truncated until someone selects See More. Therefore, it’s extremely important that the first 88 characters on your company page clearly state your company’s unique business proposition.

Many companies start with an Screen Shot 2015-12-29 at 1.41.03 PMhistorical timeline of the company. This is important information, but it may be better to include those facts in a subsequent paragraph of your company narrative.

8.  Be sure to track your LinkedIn Social Selling Index (SSI). In the past, this feature was only available to LinkedIn’s largest corporate clients, but now you, too, can see how well you’re doing the activities on LinkedIn that will lead to improved sales.

To read my complete analysis of this feature and learn how to get your SSI, click here.

9.  It’s now easier to attach documents to direct messages. Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 6.53.06 AMAlthough I’m not a fan of the new messaging system, I like being able to attach multiple documents to a message, including photos. But I’m not sure how I feel about attaching stickers, emojis and GIFs.

I am confident that if you follow these suggestions, you’ll have great success in the new year.

Here is My Gift of Appreciation For You

Posted on December 19, 2015
Wayne Breitbarth

Merry Christmas and happy holidays!

iStock_000018204901_SmallBecause this is the season of giving, I have a special gift for you–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.

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 SuccessPick 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.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 should only take about ten minutes, and it’s a great way to stay on the radar of your target audience.
  • 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.

I will be taking a few weeks off to spend the holidays with my family and friends, but I’ll be back in January with more LinkedIn tips and tricks to help you take your business and career to the next level.

I wish you much success in the new year.

Download (PDF, 10.79MB)

Is Your LinkedIn Data Adequately Protected?

Posted on December 13, 2015
Wayne Breitbarth

Do you remember how your mom used to say “Better safe than sorry”? Well, as we approach the end of the year, I strongly suggest that you take a better-safe-than-sorry approach with your LinkedIn profile and related information. last day of the month

Here are three simple steps you can take to safeguard your LinkedIn account, because occasionally “stuff” happens, and you don’t want to lose your profile or your network and have to start from square one.

Download Your LinkedIn Data

Just follow these four simple steps:

1.  Scroll over your small photo (or headshot icon if you don’t have a photo) on the right side of your top toolbar.

2.  Choose Privacy & Settings from the drop-down menu that appears under your photo.

3.  Click the Account tab near the bottom of the page.Screen Shot 2015-12-11 at 2.13.52 PM

4.  Under the Helpful Links section, choose Request an archive of your data.

That’s it. Within 72 hours, you’ll receive a file from LinkedIn. It will be sent to the primary email listed in your LinkedIn account.

You’ll obviously find some of the information to be more useful than others, but I can assure you there are some real gems in here. You’ll receive:

Account information

  • Registration information
  • Login history, including IP records
  • Email address history

Other information

  • The current name on your account and any previous name changes
  • A list of your 1st degree connections. You’ll receive first name, last name, current title, current company, and primary email address
  • Photos that have been uploaded to your account
  • Endorsements you’ve received
  • A list of the skills on your profile
  • Recommendations given and received
  • Group contributions
  • Your search history
  • Content you’ve posted, shared, liked, or commented on
  • Mobile apps you’ve installed
  • Ads you’ve clicked on
  • The targeting criteria LinkedIn uses to show you ads

Change your password

You never know when LinkedIn might have a password debacle like the one that affected over six million accounts a few years ago. Do this one now!

Screen Shot 2015-12-11 at 2.15.21 PM

Click Privacy & Settings, which pops up when you scroll over your name on the top right of any LinkedIn page. After you enter your password, you will be taken to the Settings page. Select the Account tab and then choose Change password.

Save Your Profile

If for any reason your profile is partially or totally deleted, you can quickly restore it if it’s been properly saved. The saved version is also a handy summary to share with people when you need a quick resume.

Click Profile on your top toolbar. Near the bottom of your top box, scroll over the arrow that’s just to the right of the dark blue View profile as button. Screen Shot 2015-12-11 at 2.16.34 PMFrom the drop-down menu, select Save as PDF. You will get a PDF version of your profile (minus your photo and any uploaded media) that you can print and, more importantly, save.

By the way, you can do this for any profile, not just your own.

Now you can rest peacefully, knowing your LinkedIn account is securely backed up–and you’ve heeded your mother’s better-safe-than-sorry advice.

Use LinkedIn to Make Your Next Business Lunch More Productive

Posted on December 6, 2015
Wayne Breitbarth

iStock_000079628181_SmallDo you want to make sure your next lunch meeting with one of your LinkedIn connections is a home run?

This easy, five-minute trick may be so productive that you’ll be happy to pick up the lunch tab.

Check out your lunch date’s network

Go to your lunch date’s profile and scroll down to his/her connections.Screen Shot 2015-12-04 at 3.33.07 PM When you click the magnifying glass, a keyword search box will appear. Type in any keywords (e.g., president) or series of keywords, following regular Boolean search logic rules, and LinkedIn will magically reveal to you all the people in your connection’s network that have those keywords anywhere in their profile.Screen Shot 2015-12-04 at 3.34.41 PM

If you want to filter further, just click Advanced Search. This will take you to the always-helpful LinkedIn Advanced Search Page, but now you are only searching that one person’s database.

Pretty cool, don’t you think?

Review the most interesting profiles

Take along a list of the folks whom you feel could help you in some way, and be sure to bring them up during your lunch conversation. If your lunch date agrees to introduce you to some VIPs (potential customers, prospective employers, donors, etc.) or put in a good word for you, picking up the tab may be a small price to pay!

One caveat: If your lunch date has chosen to hide his/her first-level Screen Shot 2015-12-04 at 3.38.48 PMconnections, your search will only provide people you have in common (shared connections). You will know the person has hidden his/her connections if you don’t see the word All, followed by the number of first-level connections in the person’s network (see screen shot).

This is just one of the many great tips I share in my online video-based LinkedIn course Explode Your Revenues Using LinkedIn. For a limited time, you can purchase the complete course for just $97 when you use the promo code SALES. Click here for details.

Are You Serving Up Leftovers On Your LinkedIn Profile?

Posted on November 21, 2015
Wayne Breitbarth

Have you been treating the Interests section of your LinkedIn profile like a plate of Thanksgiving leftovers?iStock_000030910468_Small

Interests is a subsection of the Additional Info section and can include up to 1,000 characters. It’s typically displayed way down on the bottom of someone’s profile, and people tend to put the “leftovers” there–statements or terms that don’t seem to fit anywhere else on their profile.

The Interests section can actually be quite valuable, and here are a few tips to turn those leftovers into something beneficial.

Screen Shot 2015-11-19 at 6.41.31 AM

Words here are included in the In Common feature.

When you are viewing someone’s profile, LinkedIn grabs the words in that person’s Interests section, compares them to the words in your Interests section, and displays your common interests. This provides great ice-breaker topics for your next conversation with that person.

Words here are clickable.

Each word or series of words that you separate with commas is clickable and will open an Advanced People Search window.
Screen Shot 2015-11-19 at 6.45.21 AM

So, if you want to find some fellow fishermen on LinkedIn, just click the word fishing in the Interests section, and LinkedIn’s Advanced People Search function will provide a list of every LinkedIn member who has the word fishing somewhere on their profile. You can then filter the list by company, title, region of the country, etc.

These words can help your search ranking.

Since LinkedIn’s search algorithm seems to favor words that appear Screen Shot 2015-11-19 at 6.53.48 AMmultiple times on your profile, this is a great spot to include some of your most important keywords.  I suggest that you include your keywords after you list your other hobbies and interests like fishing gardening etc.

These words help you look like a real, genuine, interesting person.

I don’t want to go all “Facebook” on you here, but I think it is important to let your professional world get a small peek into you the person, not just you the accountant, lawyer or professional LinkedIn speaker. In other words, include a few of your more typical interests–like reading, golfing, tennis or time with grandkids–along with a few that are just downright interesting and show your uniqueness–like drummer in a classic rock band, seashell collector or competitive BBQ chef.

Follow these simple tips, and you’ll not only be seen as more interesting, but you’ll improve your LinkedIn productivity as well.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and I hope you also find some interesting ways to use the leftovers from your Thanksgiving feast.