You asked for it; you got it. Asked for what, you say? A beginner LinkedIn class on a Saturday morning and a special edition of my beginner class during the Christmas break so college students can attend with a parent. 
On Saturday January 7th, from 9:00AM until 11:30AM, I will be teaching my famous beginner class, followed by an extra 30 minutes (11:30-noon) of special tips for college students and recent graduates. Special pricing for student and parent is $89 (regularly $59/person), including two copies of my book (the #1 selling LinkedIn book on Amazon for 32 straight weeks and counting).  
Register here.

2011 was quite a year for LinkedIn. In March, they surpassed 100 million members and are now growing at a rate of one million users each and every week. In May, they were the first social media site to go public, starting off at $45/share and going as high as $122 before settling in around $90. As of this writing, shares are trading in the 70's. Congrats to Reid Hoffman, Jeff Weiner, and the rest of the LinkedIn linkedinteam for one whale of a year. 


You may be saying, Big deal. Good for them, but what does that have to do with me? I am just one of 135+ million members


Well, it is a big deal because both of these bits of information should keep them in the game longer and allow them to continue to grow and improve the platform. The longevity of LinkedIn is critical to all of us who are investing our time and effort and growing our networks on the site.


With those thoughts in mind, I decided I would be like the thousands of experts in the world who put together a year-end "best of" list for their area of expertise. Not only am I going to share the best new LinkedIn features of 2011, but in typical Wayne fashion I will also give you my thoughts on how you can best use them to grow your business along with additional resources for further exploration. 


So, ladies and gentlemen (drum roll, please), here are the best new features released by LinkedIn for 2011.


  • Company Status Updates


This feature is just one of many great enhancements to the functionality of the company page (previously called the company profile). If you haven't begun formulating a strategy for using this feature, you are missing the boat - what could be a really big boat. 


It is similar to the individual Status Updates, which I consider to be the number one way to stay in front of your connections with great information. However, instead of communicating with your connections, the company Status Update enables companies to communicate with followers. 


Strategy Tip: 


Add a company page, decide who is going to be your voice for your company Status Updates, encourage followers, and share your best stuff with those followers. If you don't think people who follow you for the sake of listening to your knowledge and expertise will ultimately consider you and your company in their buying decision as well as recommend you to their friends, you just don't get how business in the new online world works. They do and they will.


Additional Resources:


Power Formula Blog: LinkedIn Just Gave Your Company a Voice


LinkedIn's Blog: Company Status: Five Tips to Engage Your Followers 


LinkedIn's Blog: New Company Updates: Learn more about the Companies you follow on LinkedIn


  • Alumni


This feature is a major enhancement to what used to be called Classmates, and it is very popular because people enjoy doing business with and want to help people who attended the same school they attended. 


With the Alumni feature, you can now more easily search by all schools you have attended and years attended. However, searching is not limited to the years you attended the school. You can discover where alumni work, what they do, where they live, and other miscellaneous profile information.


Strategy Tip: 


List all schools you have attended on your profile, including high school and any industry specialty schools, access the Alumni feature, and then get out your old college sweatshirt and hat and start networking.


Additional Resources:


Power Formula Blog: LinkedIn Wants You To Go Back to School       


LinkedIn's Blog: LinkedIn Classmates: Explore possibilities by connecting with fellow alumni



That is all for this week, but be sure to watch your email the next two weeks for the rest of the best new features of 2011.