LinkedIn, the social networking site for professional networking, has been in the news lately as its recent IPO reminded investors of the dot-com days. The site has been continuing to accelerate in size and stature as it recently achieved a very admirable milestone: 100 million in registered users. While this does pale in comparison in size to Facebook, LinkedIn is generally regarded as being more useful and valuable to professionals looking to network with one another.
But even as LinkedIn has continued to become more and more pervasive in the business world, it is not altogether clear who is using the service well. The site is somewhat intricate, highly customizable, and potentially overwhelming. This confluence of factors makes the timing of author Wayne Breitbarth’s book, The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success, very favorable for business professionals.
Breitbarth writes the book from an interesting perspective. He doesn’t approach the subject from a highly theoretical angle as many author/consultants do. The book, rather, chronicles his actual story in using the service to help sell office furniture in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. As he invested more time and learned more about the system’s inter-workings, the “Power Formula” ultimately arose. As he experienced some success, he began helping others use LinkedIn by sharing elements of his formula. This eventually led to Breitbarth conducting seminars for others and eventually writing this book. The author’s story is one that most business professionals can relate to which, in turn, makes the book very interesting to readers.
Someone who has casually spent a number of years on LinkedIn will learn a great deal, but it appears that the book was really written for skeptics of the service. Wayne makes it clear that he was once one himself (you can see Wayne alluding to his initial skepticism in some of the videos on his Website: www.powerformula.net). Whatever the audience, however, the book is very practical in nature. A handful of the ideas and tips that the reader will grasp include:
- LinkedIn saves you time instead of creating more work – for those who struggle with keeping up with “one more thing” on the to-do list, Wayne paints a different picture. While he does encourage an initial investment of time, keeping up with the site shouldn’t take hours a day. More importantly, if you follow the formula it will actually save you time in the end by helping you network more efficiently. Wayne works on LinkedIn while he is watching the Green Bay Packers on tv!
- You should be very selective about who you connect with on LinkedIn – while he does encourage quantity of connections, he also warns that connecting with people that you don’t really know or trust can weaken the system for your purposes. He advises that users connect mostly with people that they would be willing to ask a favor of.
- Complete your profile – if your profile is not 100% complete by LinkedIn’s standards, you may be missing out on a number of features. Wayne advises readers to complete your profile in order to show up on more keyword searches.
- Keyword density – Speaking of keywords, it is advisable to pack your profile with keywords that relate to your business goals or products/services. Broad strokes aren’t adequate when it comes to your experience and offerings.
- LinkedIn Apps – Users can enhance their profiles significantly by taking a few moments to integrate some free apps. Wayne recommends 4 specific apps that every user should have.
- Groups – If you only belong to one or two groups on Facebook, you may be missing out. The author recommends belonging to 50 groups on Facebook, the maximum allowed. While this does seem a bit overwhelming, Wayne lays out a strategy for adjusting your settings on the group to help you manage the correspondence.
The book leaves very little to be desired in terms of using LinkedIn effectively. It is a reference manual, a user guide, and a comprehensive tip sheet all in one easy read. And the fact that Wayne’s story is so relatable makes you want to jump right in and get started. We recommend it highly.