LinkedIn has 100 Million Users. Do You Care?
I hope so. It is a great platform to showcase your professional side with all the interactive bells and whistles.
But it's more than that.
Once you see past the endless spammy comments and useless status updates, you see it for what it really is.
LinkedIn is an potential goldmine of professional networking opportunities if done right.
It doesn't hurt that it's also a great gateway drug for Executives who want to dip their toe in the vast ocean of social media.
This month, I had the opportunity to review Neal Schaffer's latest offering titled Maximizing LinkedIn for Sales and Social Media Marketing. Schaffer has done a great job of establishing himself as an expert on leveraging LinkedIn for improving sales, business intelligence and professional networking.
The audience for this book is any professional who is willing to invest time and effort in establishing a fruitful networking pipeline. I highly recommend this book and feel it is a must read for anyone in Sales, Marketing, Public Relations and Community Management.
Schaffer begins his work by reviewing best practices for personal branding and then goes on to make a strong argument why B2B businesses should invest in a strong LinkedIn presence (lead generation, thought leadership, etc.). He then offers advice on maximizing your Profile with simple tricks like harnessing industry keywords to ensure high search results. Probably the biggest takeaway from this section for me was the concept of implementing an official LinkedIn Connection Policy for your Team (page 49).
Throughout the book, Schaffer consistently champions the use of LinkedIn Groups for successful networking, long-term relationship building, and thought leadership. I agree with him, however, unless you can commit to the necessary time needed to curate a healthy Group, this can be a tough sell. If you don't believe me, check out some of Groups you currently belong to; chances are they are either empty shells of inactivity or they exist as unmanaged free-for-alls saturated with noise.
Again, let me stress that if you have the resources available and the time commitment, Schaffer is correct about LinkedIn Groups producing successful results.
The Author also does a good job highlighting the importance and potential ROI of LinkedIn Answers (page 114). However, he covers it in small sections sprinkled throughout a couple of Chapters while one could argue that this tool deserves its own Chapter. Personally, I believe that LinkedIn Answers offers a better ROI for building trust and thought leadership than LinkedIn Groups because the former includes an audience seeking specific information (most likely outside their circle of trust) while the later is a destination for Users who visit when they have the time.
Lastly, Schaffer does a great job of covering advanced tactics such as properly building out your company profile (again, most of us take this for granted) in addition to different options for paid advertising to extend your brand's reach.
Maximizing LinkedIn for Sales and Social Media Marketing is a great book for your professional library. It offers a proven instruction manual that is easy to read and reference time and time again.
**Social Media Club members (Open/Pro/SMB/Corporate) are welcome to participate in a free webinar hosted by Social Media Club featuring Neal Schaffer, Author of Maximizing LinkedIn for Sales and Social Media Marketing on Thursday, October 27th at 2pm EDT. Register here!**