This week, Pete talks to Wayne Breitbarth, author of The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success. They discuss the benefits of using LinkedIn as a business owner and entrepreneur, and the basics of getting started. Plus, Wayne highlights some power features.
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Conversation with Wayne Breitbarth
Dom Goucher: Hello everyone, and welcome to another excellent episode of PreneurCast with me, Dom Goucher, and him, Pete Williams.
Pete Williams: Hey buddy, it’s good to hear your voice. It feels like it’s been forever.
Dom: It’s only been two weeks.
Pete: I know.
Dom: I’m sure, with the new addition to the family, two weeks seems like a really long time.
Pete: Mate, knock on wood still, he has been a little champion recently. The first four, five weeks are always interesting with a new family member. But yeah, the last few weeks, he’s been sleeping like a champ. Going to bed about 10:00, 10:30. Wakes up between 6:00 and 7:00 in the morning.
Sleeps straight through without a feed. We’ve been extremely lucky. It could change the moment, and I understand that, and putting it out there in the world like this is probably going to be bad karma.
He’s been a great little sleeper and he’s been a little champion lately. So it’s been a lot of fun. He’s starting to grab things and smile when he sees you in the morning, and all that stuff. It’s been some good experiences.
Dom: Excellent, excellent. I have to applaud you, actually. I was set there waiting. I have a little kind of buzz word bingo game that I play with parents. It’s how long can they go without mentioning bodily functions. And honestly, man, you win hands down. You didn’t even mention one. It wasn’t how long did you go, you didn’t mention any. That was amazing.
Pete: There’s a line. There’s a line that I don’t want to cross in the show.
Dom: Okay, fair enough.
Pete: Maybe we can do in after-hours addition, and then I can tell some stories.
Dom: Excellent, excellent.
Pete: No, no, it’s been a lot of fun.
Dom: And you’ve managed to do your usual kind of busy little self stuff in-between shows, haven’t you? You’ve been out there getting new guests and people to interview, as well as your database stuff.
As we always say, you’re out there running your real-world businesses, but from Preneur point of view, you’re becoming a bit of a man-in-demand with these interviews, aren’t you?
Pete: Yeah, there’s been a lot going on. I seemed to be able to get back into a bit of a workflow and system organization-type of things, which is good. So yeah, definitely, I’ve got a few interviews lined up. One today, which we’ll talk about in a moment. A lot happening really.
In the process of getting the entire blog redesigned, and the website, and a whole lot of changes around PreneurMarketing.com are coming- probably about a month or so away now. Maybe a little bit longer. We’re going to merge a few things together and we’ve got a whole bunch of other stuff coming out, content wise.
Some little articles and reports we’re working on which will be completely free. A lot of publishing stuff coming out, which I’m super excited about. So keep your RSS feed locked to PreneurMarketing.com, because there’s going to be a lot of cool stuff happening very soon.
Dom: Excellent. Yeah, we’ve got quite a few things coming between now and the middle of the year. Financially speaking, this quarter, there’s a couple of big projects that are going to be popping up, which we’ll talk about.
Pete: And then some awesome interviews as well. Sorry, go ahead?
Dom: No, you’re on a roll, so carry on.
Pete: I was going to say, some exciting news with these interviews too. Given the size of the audience now, the communities we’ve got here with the show and the blog is about 37,000 to 38,000 strong. So thank you to each and every one of you who listen and are part of the community. What that gives us now is a little bit of leverage with these guests.
What we’re doing, I’m making it a bit of a caveat. When we’re approached by a publicist for a publisher saying, “Hey, here’s a client of ours, we’d love to get them on the show,” historically, we’ve gotten advanced copies of the books so we could read them and get an understanding of what we’re talking about with the guest and making sure that they fit with the show and the audience.
But I’m now throwing our collective weight around a little bit and demanding almost that they give us copies of books that we can give away to you guys, the listeners. It’s all fine and dandy for us to get advanced copies here, rating things and then get the guests on the interview. But I want to give you guys some books.
So if you listen to the end of this interview, we’ll let you know exactly how you can get some free copies of the book itself. None of this opt-in stuff, you don’t have to opt in your e-mail address or anything like that, you just stay part of the Preneur Community, and we’ll get you some copies of the book. So stick around to the end and we’ll show you how to do that.
Dom: Yeah, it’s funny, I’m listening away to you there and I just thought I’m really dreading the time when you get a little bit bigger audience. And then suddenly, you start having riders when you turn up.
Pete: Only orange M&Ms.
Dom: I only want blue Smarties or blue M&Ms in my dressing rooms, and stuff like that.
Pete: Well, unfortunately, the rider I could possibly have is just my office at home. I think Fleur’s a little bit distracted with those dirty nappies that I currently demand too much at the moment.
Pete: Yeah, okay. I’ll make a note of that time and we’ll see if we can’t beat that one next week.
Dom: So let’s get into this interview. We’ve got an interview this week that you did recently. I have a funny story about that actually. Because the guy that you interviewed, a guy called Wayne Breitbarth, has written an excellent book on using LinkedIn. It’s called The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success. Now, I didn’t know you’d got this interview booked.
Pete: Ah, okay.
Dom: I didn’t know about this one.
Pete: Sneaky, sneaky.
Dom: Sneaky, sneaky. Because as you say, we get the preview copies. And very kindly, the publishers, we both get preview copies, we both get to review the book and choose the people that we interview. Which is another thing, we do choose these people.
We don’t just go, “Hey, any old thing to fill in the space.” We pick things that are relative to the audience. But the strangest thing happened. I got this notification from my LinkedIn account. I’ve got it set up to let me know when people do certain things. And apparently, Pete Williams had, what was it now, listed me as the member of a project team?
Pete: Ah, yes.
Dom: Well, thought I, because you and I are both incredibly guilty of the same thing, which is that we both went and got LinkedIn account, because, well, we knew that you really ought to have that thing but we never really got around to doing very much with them, did we?
Pete: Not at all. I was a complete novice when it came to LinkedIn.
Dom: Yeah, and I still am, which we’ll talk about later. So this little e-mail, I thought, “Hello, what’s Pete up with? What’s going on here, what’s Pete up to?” It’s like Pete suddenly started to pimp up his LinkedIn. And lo and behold, up pops an interview with Wayne. And the two things slotted together.
Pete: To use some context, I’m not a LinkedIn person at all. I wasn’t historically and I keep hearing so many whispers about people having huge success on LinkedIn. Not only in the real-world business sense, but also in the IM [internet marketing] world, which kind of intrigued me.
I had this LinkedIn page and it was terrible. You’ll hear Wayne give me some crap about it in the interview. I wanted to know how do you leverage LinkedIn? What’s the purpose of it? Is it just like a business version of Facebook? Is there value there?
How did it work? Wayne answered those questions really well for me. And I kind of went, “I’ve really got to do something about it.” So I grilled him in the interview about how to make changes to the page and my profile.
And then I made those changes in under an hour, and have got some really significant results already from LinkedIn, which is really surprising me. So that’s a bit of a set up for the conversation with Wayne.
We delved into a whole bunch of stuff, why LinkedIn, the features of LinkedIn, where to use it, when to use it, how to use it, and more importantly, how to set your page up. I think we should jump into it and let Wayne do the talking.
Dom: Absolutely. You really did hit all of the questions that I had. You came at it from the same perspective as me and, I think, as a lot of people. You did ask some really good questions, really did get all those bases covered.
So folks, get out the pencil and the notepad because this is really, really valuable stuff. And as Pete says, he’s already getting results, and I’m just in the middle of wading through and making the changes myself. So sit back and listen to Pete and Wayne.
[Pete's interview with Wayne Breitbarth starts]
Pete: Wayne, thank you so much for joining us today. I appreciate your time.
Wayne Breitbarth: It’s great to be on. I thank you for having me on, Pete.
Pete: The book, The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success, is in its second edition. And as I think you’re well aware and I’ve probably mentioned on the show before, I am not a big LinkedIn user. I’m a big Twitter user, Facebook for personal social reasons, and use a lot of the Web to market and promote my various businesses.
And LinkedIn, I think is something that I should be using in my business life. Not just my Preneur life, but in my business life with the telecommunications company. We sell and install phone systems all around Australia. We probably should be using LinkedIn a lot more to build that network, get leads, make sales.
But traditionally, with my perspective, I’ve always seen LinkedIn as kind of a job seekers thing. I’ve got a couple of friends who work in recruitment and they love LinkedIn in their business to headhunt people. I never really built that bridge and understanding of how LinkedIn can work for an “entrepreneur” who isn’t going to go looking for a job.
So I’d love to get your take on how you describe LinkedIn. What’s your take on LinkedIn as a description? I know people probably think of it as a social media for business, but what’s your take on it? How does it work in your world?
Wayne: You’re sure right about the job seeker thing and the recruiter thing. It’s a great tool for both those audiences. But the bulk of my time, and the way I see LinkedIn, is just the largest database of business professionals we have ever had. And when you just step back and think about that, that’s got to be worth something to everybody, right?
The fact that we can now search this database, looking for certain people, for experts, jobs, employment, suppliers, vendors, customers, customers, customers, strategic partners, you name it, investors. We never had that before. If you just think of that, it’s an unbelievable search engine.
My starting point always is to understand it’s the largest business professional database of people that we’ve ever had. And then secondly, to make sure people understand how critical it is because of that. The reverse side is, then you better have a darn good profile because people are checking you out.
Pete: I know that you’ve probably checked out mine and probably had a second thought about coming on the show.
Wayne: I gave you about a C-, my friend.
Pete: Okay, it’s a pass. I’ll take a pass. I think it’s good start that you didn’t fail me. It kind of is somewhat like a Kevin Bacon-style social online network. The whole [six] degrees of separation, Kevin Bacon-type scenario, isn’t it?
That’s the whole premise of it too. You have connections, and you can see how many connections you are away from the person you want to contact. Is that a fair assessment as well?
Wayne: Yeah. As you know in my book and my talks I usually start off with the Kevin Bacon thing because people get that. We’ve heard that for years now. And yeah, that’s exactly the starting point.
The starting point is to know that LinkedIn is really not about your friends, because we don’t need another place to keep track of our friends. But it’s who they bring with them, their friends and then their friends. It’s a first, second, third degree is how they keep track of things on LinkedIn, three degrees.
Pete: So with it, using it from a networking perspective I guess, it’s a great way to go okay, this is a person, you highlight and identify a person you want to connect with. Whether that’s for strategic partnership, maybe some consulting or getting advice from them, maybe it’s a venture capital investment you’re trying to get or obviously job-seeking scenarios.
The whole idea is you can go and search for that person, and then work out the bridge and the connection between those people. And then ask for introductions. Is that one of the biggest premises and uses of it in your opinion?
Wayne: Yeah, the searching and trying to connect, leveraging your first-degree connection, is a very important part. But the other part is being able to understand, by looking at somebody’s profile, how you strategically should approach them. What is it on the profile that helps you strategize how you should approach them to see how you can work together in whatever way?
Pete: Yeah, so that’s a good place to start. And this is one of the things that I loved about working through your book, and I’m definitely going to go and either get myself or one of the team to work through that book and get that C- up to at least a B+ or an A by walking through the steps.
Because you get very granular in the book. There’s a lot of strategy in there, but it very much breaks down, “The first thing you want to start with is your profile page,” and that is where mine falls down quite a bit. Is there some key things with your profile page that you think you really need to focus on to make sure you’re at least maximizing that part of the LinkedIn world?
Wayne: Yes, if people keep this in mind, Pete, it’s a 35,000-foot view. Your profile is all about keywords and stories, keywords and stories, keywords and stories. If you keep that in mind as you’re crafting your profile, you will do your profile much different than, “Hey Wayne, I loaded my resume.
It’s pretty good don’t you think?” Because it looks like a resume, people think they’re done. But it’s got so much more branding opportunity. But everything wraps around keywords and stories.
Pete: Yeah, so the keywords, I’m guessing, are for when I can go on there and I want to search for a social media expert or someone who can get angel financing for me, or a joint venture partner broker, whatever it might be.
If I can go on to my LinkedIn profile and search for those skill sets, and then it will search my network and my connected network coming back saying, “Here’s some people who can fill that need and support you.” So that’s why it needs to be keyword-rich, is that the crux of that?
Wayne: That’s exactly right, you talked about it like if you’re looking. But now the key, Pete, is if they’re looking for you, can they find you because of those keywords, right?
Pete: Absolutely, so that’s the thing, you want to make your profile keyword-rich about all the different skill sets and functionality and things you bring to the table with relationships in business.
So when people are searching their network, if you’re somewhere connected across that Kevin Bacon spectrum, they’ll find you and then they’ll approach you to do whatever it is that you do.
Wayne: And one of the critical parts is, if you ever did a search on LinkedIn, you’ll see that there is a certain order about it, just like Google. And LinkedIn ranks your search results by the relevancy of the searcher. So for example, if you and I are currently a third degree, even if you had the right keywords that I was looking for, being a third degree would probably put you on page five, six, seven or eight for me.
Where, if we can connect, which I’m going to make sure that happens tonight after we hang up; if we connect, you’re now in the first degree. And one of the most important factors in the relevancy formula on LinkedIn is relationship. And you will have moved up to probably page one or two, just because of that relationship moving up.
Pete: If we’re connected, so the whole idea for LinkedIn is to say you know this person already, because you’re a first-degree connection. You have that direct connection. So, it’s more likely that you’re going to want to use them to help you fulfill this need that you search for, rather than some random person you haven’t met.
And then it goes down. Like if you know someone that I’m searching for and that would be higher in the results because you can make that introduction for me to that third-party. Is that correct?
Wayne: Yeah, and as much as relevancy is based on lots of things, the number of times that keyword shows up, the number of groups that you’re in, your activity on LinkedIn, the total number of connections, all of those things go into, sort of, LinkedIn secret sauce of the relevancy ranking. Relationship trumps everything.
Pete: So let me ask you this, in terms of relationship, one thing that happened to me, and a lot of people I know, when Facebook first blew up, we all jumped on Facebook. And I friended and accepted every single friend request that I ever got. I found that what happened is it just messed up my use of Facebook.
Because I started having all these people who kind of knew of me, or read my books or whatever it might be, who were suddenly my friends, and my news feed was just flooded with “spam” from people I didn’t have a network with. Over time, we set the profile for the business page in Facebook, and that’s where those people get pushed now.
My personal profile on Facebook is now literally just my friends and my family. Is there a similar issue with LinkedIn? Can you over-accept people? Because I get LinkedIn requests all day. I’ve got hundreds of LinkedIn requests that I haven’t accepted yet, because I haven’t really delved down that path too much.
And I don’t want to screw up my LinkedIn ability by accepting people I don’t know a la the Facebook issue. Is that a concern in LinkedIn, or not really, given the way it’s been designed and structured?
Wayne: No, it’s a concern just like Facebook. It all revolves around your strategy. Let me you a perfect example. When I was doing just office furniture here in Wisconsin, and that was my only business that I was involved in, I had about 800 people in my network.
First-level connections, and I get every one of them because that was the only thing I was trying to accomplish. I was making sure I was connected with people in southeastern Wisconsin, because that’s where we sell our furniture, and so on and so forth.
I might have some people out on the fringes that were friends and college buddies and that kind of thing, but I wouldn’t accept connections from just anybody. Well, now, because of my book, and you’re an author too, it gets a little tricky when you start being an author, which is a worldwide thing.
Then you have to decide what your strategy’s going to be when it comes to those kinds of connection requests. But I can tell you that I’ve had some business developed right out of connecting with people who simply wrote me a connection request and said, “I bought your book, I really liked it, and I’d like to connect with you.”
And the next thing you know I’m helping their company with a webinar series on LinkedIn or whatever. So, that can happen, Pete. I try to consult with people and say, listen, you should know why you’re connecting with people.
You’re friends and all that, great. Go ahead and do that because you trust those people. But then when you start moving past that, have a strategy behind it. Look at their profile and say to yourself, “If I met this person in person tonight, would I like that?”
Pete: My initial thought process around this, and this is just my initial, my A strategy; is that if they are approaching me, they’re going to know who I am obviously and want to connect with me. And then if LinkedIn is being used to make connections and expand my network of potential relationships.
If there’s someone that that person knows, that I want to connect to with, in the future, if person A has approached me and I go back to that person and go, “Hey, I know we’ve never met, but you asked to be my connection on LinkedIn because you’ve read my book or you know me.
I noticed that you know somebody else who I’d love to connect in. Can you make that connection for me?” My assumption is that person would love to do that, because they see you in a position, “Hey you’re an author, I want to be your connector.” You can ask favors of that person.
Whereas, on the other side of the coin- I hope I’m explaining this clearly and articulately- if I just go and start personally requesting connections with people I know, they’re going to be reluctant in the future to recommend, because they don’t know who I am.
So I feel initially, that accepting requests can benefit the use of LinkedIn, but going out and requesting people you don’t know won’t necessarily benefit the outcome that I can see LinkedIn providing me as a business owner.
Wayne: I think your comments are spot on.
Pete: Cool, I’m starting to learn this LinkedIn thing. There is some good coin in the book that is rubbing off on me, which is great. Taking this a step further, something else I get every single day with my unused C-grade LinkedIn profile, besides just requests for people, is recommendations.
Now, I’m not going out and soliciting recommendations on LinkedIn, but I’d love to get your take, Wayne, on firstly, describing what recommendations are and how they fit with the algorithm and the benefits of LinkedIn. But is there any benefit for a person recommending me, even if I haven’t asked for that recommendation?
Wayne: I think you’re referring to endorsements, aren’t you?
Pete: Endorsements. That could be it, yup.
Wayne: Okay, so just a little bit of background. Recommendations have been around for a long time, and those are where you write something specific about a person. I still like recommendations. I think they’re great differentiators on your profile. But what you’re asking, and believe me it’s caused a lot of questions, is this whole new thing called endorsements that came out in the States last fall.
And here’s the story behind endorsements, and people can endorse you for skills. Skills are things that are words that you put on your profile, specific words like LinkedIn Trainer, or Office Furniture, or Interior Design, or Entrepreneurship. So they can not only be skills, they can be products and services that you sell.
And once those are on your profile, people can come in and just very quickly, like a Facebook Like, click the plus sign and give you an endorsement. But they can also endorse you for words that LinkedIn is prompting them to say, “Hey, would you like to endorse Pete for blogging?”
And if you’ve never had blogging on your profile and your friend sends you that request, LinkedIn is basically saying, do you want that blogging to appear on your profile with this one endorsement from a friend that wanted to do it?
And that’s what happened to a lot of people, is they’ve ended up with skills, and accordingly endorsements, attached to them for some skills that they don’t even care about, like basket weaving. And they think that they didn’t accept that skill, and ultimately the endorsement, but they did.
They just didn’t realize what was going on. So what’s going on with this whole endorsement thing is it’s LinkedIn’s way of helping their number one product, which is their recruiting products, where they help these really big companies find the right employees.
And so, the endorsements, if you just think about it this way, Pete, endorsements are like that Yelp-ing of people. And long-term, I think what’s going to happen is it’s going to become part of the search relevancy, if it isn’t already.
Long-term, I also think guys like you and I will begin to take notice of them when we’re trying to make a decision between person A and person B, and we look and I see this guy has 300 endorsements for social media speaker and this guy’s only got 20. Well, I’ll call the 300 guy first because evidently, he’s got a lot more fans.
Pete: Yup, it’s a ranking system. Ranking is probably not the right word. So what’s the difference? That’s obviously endorsements, which I was clearly using the wrong vernacular. What are recommendations and how does that fit into the ecosystem of LinkedIn?
Wayne: The recommendations, of course, they take people a longer time to write for you. But they can be more descriptive and actually, to me, they’re just better. But how they fit into ranking system on LinkedIn, I can tell you this, recommendations have always been a part of the ranking and a person that had more recommendation than another person will get some preferential ranking.
And I don’t think that’s going away. I’m not sure whether endorsements trumped recommendations or how that all works, because LinkedIn is not going to tell us exactly how things work. We just have to keep toying around and trying stuff.
But I still believe strongly that recommendations are a differentiator, and we’re back to what we talked about in the very beginning. It’s keywords and stories, and recommendations can be important part of your story.
Pete: To use common words, it’s basically someone giving you a written testimonial that’s attached to your LinkedIn profile.
Wayne: That’s exactly what it is. And at least historically, even the words included in a recommendation written by somebody else will help you in the search ranking relevancy.
Pete: Yep, absolutely. I think that’s from the outside looking in, you’d think that if someone else is writing a testimonial or recommendation about you and is using certain keywords, it’s a much stronger endorsement. I’m using, crossing over languages here; but it’s a much stronger reinforcement of that skill set in your profile then you just saying I’m great at this thing.
Because something I rant and rave, and get on my soapbox about quite a bit, is every second person nowadays is a social media expert because they know how to open an iTunes, or a Twitter, or Facebook account. Whereas, if someone else says, “Okay, this person is a social media expert,” like yourself, then it’s a much more weighted, I guess, keyword for you and yourself.
Wayne: For sure. And the other beauty about recommendations, Pete, is they’re going to be with us forever now. And you can reference people to them, when you’re saying, “Hey, take a look at this recommendation. This recommendation is a company just like yours that I helped.” People have not had that kind of a file system that we’ve been able to carry around, let alone have it online. It’s really powerful.
Pete: Let’s say for example, we have a client in a particular business unit that we have, or a project, something like that, that gives us a testimonial in the real world. Is there any way of taking that and adding that to recommendations on our profile after the fact, but it’s not a LinkedIn-generated recommendation?
Can we populate an area on our profile of testimonials that we’ve uploaded ourselves? Is that a possibility with your profile, or is it very set and structured of what you can and can’t do inside the eco-structure?
Wayne: No, what LinkedIn currently has is a thing called your Professional Gallery. Your Professional Gallery is a place where you can put through, via a link, documents, video, audio. Those kinds of things can be linked to sections on your profile.
So you could take a bunch of written recommendations, you can load them into a site like SlideShare, or Box files, or Google Docs, and then put that link in a certain part of your profile, and then describe it by, “Here are written testimonials from 10 of my most recent customers,” or something.
Pete: Awesome. Very, very cool. Very cool. So let me delve a little bit deeper one last time to the connections stuff, and then I want to talk about all the other things that come with LinkedIn, like groups, ads, and company pages. Just going back and focusing on the connection side of things one last time; what’s your best advice on making a connection?
If you want to approach somebody and you go to LinkedIn, and you do that search and find a third person on a Kevin Bacon scale that you want to connect with. What do you think is the best way to get that connection?
Is it still going offline and making a phone call to the friend you know and say, “Hey Wayne, I noticed you’re friends with Bill who I’d love to connect with. Can you make that introduction?” Or use the LinkedIn infrastructure that comes with it? What’s your take on making that connection?
Wayne: I think it starts with taking a look at their profile. If you see they have about 15 to 20, or 30 connections on LinkedIn, take it offline. If you see they look like they’re a user with numbers north of there, 200 to 300, then I would use LinkedIn. Because you have the people that have profiles that they don’t even remember what their password is.
Pete: Almost like me.
Wayne: No, you look better than that, my friend. But the point is the information you gathered just from their profile on who knows who, there’s no problem using the good old-fashioned techniques to call your friend and say, “Hey, do you really know this guy? I’d really like to meet him.
Maybe we can play golf together or do something together.” It doesn’t have to use the tool if it doesn’t look like the receiver is really using it. Now, when it comes to if you’re going to use LinkedIn, I’ll tell you what, one of my major pet peeves is using the standard invitation where it says, “I’d like you to join my network on LinkedIn.”
To me, Pete, that’s disrespectful. A five-star invitation should have the following two things, hopefully. Number one, where did we meet if we did, and/or how could we help each other?
Pete: Yep, I’ll start doing that understanding the why behind the request, not just the request itself.
Wayne: No question about it. Now, you only have 300 characters, so it gets a little bit tricky. You can’t give them your whole spiel in your little invitation. But once they first agree, you can communicate all you want, so just make it succinct and tell them how you can help them, and put it in a, ‘what’s in it for them?’ That’s, that old saying.
Pete: WIIFM, the good old ‘what’s in it for me.’ So beyond the connection, there’s a whole bunch of other stuff that comes around the LinkedIn site. There’s almost like news feed-style scenario, kind of like the Facebook News Feed, for want of a better example, that people are probably familiar with.
How does that work in the infrastructure, in terms of those updates? And you can do status updates and stuff like that. How does all that kind of stuff work when it comes too LinkedIn? What’s the benefit and the reason for that?
Wayne: Status updates, I think, are one of the best potential marketing tools you have on LinkedIn. Now, most people don’t do it. Most people have not figured out that it is that important and could help you. If you think about it, Pete, what’s going on there is it’s your ability to share good information.
Now, not the fact that you’re going to have a big sale and the next week you’re going to have another sale, and another sale. It’s not meant to replace advertising. If you do that, you’ll really turn people off. But it’s a great place to share your thoughts, leadership ideas with the people that have agreed to connect with you.
Step back for a second. Let’s say people connect with me. Believe me, they don’t connect with me because I’m such a good-looking guy sitting here in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. They connect with me because they want LinkedIn information, training, advice and strategies, and tactics, that kind of thing.
And so they’re really expecting me to share on a consistent basis that expertise. If I don’t share, guess what they’ll do? They’re connected to maybe another LinkedIn guy that claims to be an expert. And if he shares more than I do, or better stuff, or more interesting, guess who’s going to get the first call when it’s time for a conference or a speaking engagement where they need a LinkedIn speaker?
So what you need to do there is just think about it. Think about it as your way to give your audience the kind of information they want to stay on top of the things that your expert at, so they don’t have to.
Pete: Is there a character limit, like Twitter? Obviously, you don’t share what you have for breakfast on LinkedIn? Is there a character limit to the sharing stuff or can it just be whatever you want, and it gets published into the feed?
Wayne: I think the latest I read was 700. So it’s quite large. And like Facebook, always make sure you attach a link to an article, a document, or a website, or a video, because we all know those get opened and read at a much higher level than ones that just are words.
Pete: Very cool. Don’t do this Twitter-style updates. Make them some value that’s educational and reinforcing of your leadership and your positioning, whatever that might be. Very cool tool.
Wayne: That’s right. What’s interesting, Pete, is you don’t even have to come up with all the information yourself. For example, if you connected with me and you saw my feed a few times a day, I share good LinkedIn stuff. Some of it I wrote, and some of it other people wrote. But if on your feed you just hit the word Like, or you hit the word Share, it will now go to your network.
Pete: So the social sharing element of it as well. If you write really good information and share that on your feed, then your network will obviously share that to their network, and obviously that whole viral element comes about it as well.
Wayne: You can even use a tool on LinkedIn called Signal, and you can see who’s doing that very thing we just talked about with your stuff, and you can jump right in there. Even if you’re not connected, you can jump in and say, “Hey, thanks for sharing that. We should connect.”
Pete: Very cool. Okay, this is the extra stuff that obviously is very powerful that I didn’t really understand or would be aware of. Because to me, it was just this virtual Rolodex to a certain extent. But stuff like this, you can start seeing how this can generate business for you beyond just networking, which is very, very cool.
Wayne: Pete, let me tell you a story up about Signal that you’re going to really appreciate. Within this LinkedIn Signal, which is like a Twitter search. You can save those searches and just go back and then click them. One of my saved searches is the title of my book.
So one day I went in the Signal and I clicked on that title to see who was talking about my book, and one of the Chambers of Commerce down in Atlanta had just posted a status update from the executive director. She said, “We’re going to study The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success in our business book club for the next eight weeks.
Hope to see you Tuesday.” Now, I don’t know this lady. She was a third-degree connection at the time. But I read that, so in the comment box, I sent her a little note and said, “That’s really nice. I hope you enjoy the book, and your group has a great time and learns a lot about LinkedIn. But I’ll tell you what, I’ve got an idea.
Can we talk?” I made a phone call, and she said, “Sure, let’s do that.” I got on the phone with her and said, in the eighth week, “How about if I Skype into your Chamber and talk, and answer questions with the audience.” She said, “You would do that?” I said, “Yeah that would be so much fun.”
And I did that. And I’m telling you, there are 35 people from Atlanta listening to me, asking me a bunch of questions about the book. It was so much fun. But two days later, she called me back and said, “They want you come down here for a series of seminars.” So I went down there and did some business. But it all came out of me listening to conversations that I really didn’t have the rights to hear.
Pete: Very, very cool. If you’re like a service provider in a particular industry, could you have a search around the keywords in the skill that you have? So then, if someone is writing a question, like to their network, “Anybody know how to manage our Google AdWords account?”
Hypothetically, someone is putting that out there on their status update to their network for help, if you’re a Google’s AdWords expert, could you run a search on Google AdWords and then people are asking those questions, “Hey Susie, I know we’re not connected, but I can help you out. Here are some free resources on my website?” Can you use it in that way as well?
Wayne: That’s a perfect use for Signal. And get this, one day I was teaching a bunch of telecommunications guys, wireless and phone systems, and I showed them this feature. So while I was speaking, it was towards the end of my talk, one of the guys went right into Signal and he typed RFP, or bid, and the word ‘telecommunications.’
Well, this guy comes up to me at the end of the class and says, “Wayne, look at this,” and he pulls out his iPad and he goes, “I found this bid out in Boston. We’re not involved in it, but the bid package is on its way because I searched Signal.”
Pete: Awesome, awesome.
Wayne: That was a home run, huh?
Pete: That’s a perfect example for me to now get some action and get our sales guys on to it in the telco business I’m involved in. That’s a very good reinforcement for the reason that we should start using it. So a question around that from a business perspective, you can have company pages, can’t you, on LinkedIn? Where does that fit into the whole scenario?
Wayne: You’ve got to think of that as a separate file drawer, and it’s a file drawer of companies. Where it fits in is, number one, every company should have a company page. And the easiest reason you should have one is because it’s free.
But number two, more importantly, it’s going to probably show up very high in the Google search for your company. Either, probably, page one or page two. And so, to me, you’ve got a lot of people that you talk to in this online world. When you can control another Google slot with the best information that you have, you’ve got to grab that.
Pete: Yeah, absolutely.
Wayne: And Google loves LinkedIn, right? They love this. So company pages are just that, there’s another page, another website, where you can populate the page with status updates that come directly from a company which go to now followers, not connections. You can post products and services, you can get recommendations, your employees populate your company page.
So all that starts to happen the minute you get a great page up there. But what’s so interesting is even if you have a bad page, or you don’t think you have a page, LinkedIn may have started the page the minute one employee says they work for your company.
Pete: So you can go in and claim that listing and be fine, and add data?
Wayne: Since they added the capabilities of products and services and recommendations and more importantly status updates, it’s now become a great marketing tool.
Pete: That’s very, very cool. Now, the one last thing that I’m aware of with the whole LinkedIn scenario that I’d love your take on is Groups. I noticed people who have got Groups on LinkedIn, can you talk around that for a little bit? The purpose of what they are and how you can maximize them.
Wayne: Sure, Groups are a highly rated feature on LinkedIn. I do a survey every year with my audience asking them the features they like, and Groups is always in the top five. What’s going on with Groups is really just that ability to hang out with people that are people you’d love to hang around with in person if you could.
It really is industry groups, chambers, where you went to college, hobbies; all those kinds of things; reasons for business folks to hang around a topic or a cause or an issue or an idea. Now, that’s the easy part, that everybody gets on Groups. So we hang out together, and we communicate and we share information, and maybe we even pull a relationship offline that we started in Groups.
The part that people don’t get about Groups is that Groups are a part of the relevancy ranking. So in other words, Pete, back to my example; if I was looking for you, and let’s say we weren’t connected even at the third degree, and I searched for your keywords that you have, you would be way out there, page 10 or whatever.
But the minute you and I join, let’s say the social media marketing group together, your relevancy will have risen with me. That you might even show up on page one, two or three in amongst the firsts and seconds, because LinkedIn assumes we’re more relevant to each other because we now hang out together in a group.
Pete: Yeah, so you’ve got that mutual interest almost to a certain extent, so very cool. Can you have closed groups as well? Can we have like anybody can join the group, or can you have administered groups where it’s like just closed for the people involved?
Wayne: Yes. Many, many like associations and stuff will close their group and leave it open just to people who are dues-paying members of that club. And college alumni’s approach it that way too.
Pete: All very cool. That’s very, very smart. Well, Wayne, there’s so much we can talk about and I want to keep grilling your mind. But I won’t do it too much because a lot of it’s in the book. I’d love to just take a bit of time to talk about this second edition of the book The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success.
I want to say thank you for your time and your wisdom, and encourage people to go check it out on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Do you want to talk around the book a little bit and give your take on the book, and the feedback, and the reason for writing it, and all the goodness that comes with the book?
Wayne: Sure. Well, thank you, I appreciate that. The idea of the book started about three years ago when my wife and I started thinking about the first edition. What I realized is that I didn’t think there was anybody doing a good job of explaining the experience difference on LinkedIn, and the relationship difference.
In other words, The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success is really based around the following things. We all have unique relationships, we all have unique stories, and a tool like LinkedIn is the third part of the formula that can give you the power to get something done.
I didn’t think anybody was really getting to the crux of LinkedIn revolving around experiences and relationships. So, in the first edition, I told lots of stories and I gave you the step-by-step, how you get everything done. That’s still in the second edition.
Because I think a lot of people don’t get that, the Kevin Bacon thing and all that. But in the second edition, I expanded it to include 10 additional resources for much more of a deeper dive. So the book now is designed not just for the person who isn’t even on LinkedIn and the beginner.
But it won’t now probably take you toward that B+, almost advanced kind of user because of some of these resources and because I took a little deeper dive in some of the strategies, especially about connections. Now, I still have the chapter that people loved the very best, and that’s the roadmap, the six-week roadmap.
I get so many comments that, “That’s my favorite chapter, you told me exactly what to do.” And I still get nice comments from the chapter that’s for jobseekers only. And then I even got a chapter in there that’s just for college students, and I get comments all the time from that audience too.
So it’s an easy read. When I wrote the book, Pete, I wanted to write it in such a way that if you took a two-hour flight, which in the States, that’s what we all do. By the time you landed the plane, you would understand how LinkedIn worked. And you could go back to your office and go through the screen checks, and the chapter by chapter steps that I’ve outlined.
Pete: Yep, and I’d have to say, reading through the book myself, I’m literally going to give Chapter 19, which is that roadmap, to one of our team and say, “Hey, can you go and just work through this over the next six weeks,” because it is designed to be six weeks. Is it two hours a week? Is that kind of the idea of each week you go in and do that one element for your profile?
Wayne: Yes, that’s correct.
Pete: And so that’s easy for one of my virtual assistants or one of the team members here in Australia. I’ll probably give it to the virtual team, the outsource team we have and say, “Hey, just work through this and go each week, spend two hours a week working on this, or over the next two days, spend 12 hours and get it all done in two days.
Because it’s not going to be my time, I’m going to leverage that, because they have access to all the information about me, so they can easily populate it to about 95%, and I can just go in and refine it and tweak it as needs be.
But that’s a great little step-by-step workflow for yourself or a team member to get that B grade, B+ , even an A level profile on LinkedIn without you having to do any work. Very clear, no questions from your team members really. And you start getting all the benefits we spoke about.
I really love that, and that’s how I feel like I’m going to take this and make it happen, because the book gave me the understanding of why LinkedIn is important, and what LinkedIn needs to be, and what I need to do. But how to do it, I can just give the book to a team member and make them go through the how-to steps, which is just brilliant. So I really, really appreciate that as a reader.
Wayne: I’ve had lots of my friends that are at the C level, or attorneys, accountants and those kinds of people who have assistants, do just what you’re going to do. And I’ll be glad to give you a new grade when you let me know when you’re ready, man.
Pete: Awesome, sounds good. I’ll resubmit the assignment to the teacher. I love it. So there’s one or two final things. We were chatting before we obviously hit record, as I always do with everyone I have on the show. And we were commenting that LinkedIn, like every single social media tool, changes so quickly. It’s the nature of the beast, that’s what it is.
And by the time you write a book and edit it, and get it to print and in the bookstores, this second edition came out only a couple of weeks ago. Things do change so quickly, and you have a newsletter that you publish as well via e-mail, I believe, that people can subscribe to and get more updated changes and keep the finger on the pulse of the new updates. Is that correct?
Wayne: Yes. Every weekend, I send out an e-mail, what’s going on and the latest and greatest, and my newest thoughts on the strategies for some of the features, or changes to features. And it’s really the way you’ve got to keep up with everything online these days. You’ve got to align yourself with certain experts, and get their stuff, and just stay on top of it.
Pete: Awesome, and people can get that at www.PowerFormula.net. That’s your website? Is that where the newsletter lives as well?
Wayne: That’s correct. Thanks, Pete.
Pete: Awesome. The final question, and this is a question I ask every single guest on the show, what is the one question I didn’t ask you that you wish I did or that I probably should have?
Wayne: You didn’t ask me how much money I’ve made on the LinkedIn techniques to grow my business.
Pete: That should be the first one. That should be the hook. Okay, so let me ask that question, how much have you personally made by using these LinkedIn strategies yourself?
Wayne: Well, I can tell you my LinkedIn business would be nowhere without it. On the office furniture side, which is where I began my journey on LinkedIn, when I started my journey on LinkedIn, I was the CFO. Basically, I was the guy who stayed in the office and did the books.
And now I have a book of business, and I’ve got customers that I serve and I’m doing about a quarter of a million a year just part-time as I’m doing all my other stuff. But using the LinkedIn to strategize on how to get in front of people, because I’ve got a really nice network here in the area, and whether it’s me finding who knows who, or the other sales reps that work in my office leveraging my network, we use that all the time.
Pete: I think this is a brilliant thing, and this is the type of guest we try and get on the show all the time is people who are teaching stuff that they’re doing in their real-world businesses. Because there’s people out there who talk about LinkedIn and how to use LinkedIn, but they never used it in the way their clients are intending to use it. I find that a big disconnect.
And if you are trying to teach something, shouldn’t you have done it in the same way that your clients and your prospects have used it? So with you running a furniture business, and using LinkedIn originally to grow that furniture business, and still making lots and lots of sales and leads in connections through LinkedIn, it gives to my mind, a lot more credibility to the actual education you give through the books and stuff like that.
Because you are your own client as well, which in my mind is really important. As I said before, there’s so many ” social media experts” helping businesses generate revenues, and leads and sales, through social media, yet they never do it themselves. I just find that a huge disconnect and not the right way to go about selling a service or being a provider. So I commend you for that as well.
Wayne: Well, thanks, I really enjoyed that part because when I stand in front of an audience, you’re right, there’s a lot more credibility.
Pete: Yeah, and I try and take that too with the podcast and stuff that I do in my book writing. It all comes back off the stuff I do in the telco company, and the retail stores, and online e-commerce stuff. That is my day to day. And that’s where, you know everything is a test bed, it’s the lab, and the lessons I learn there.
And then I turn around and share it on stuff like the podcast. So it’s been great to have you, Wayne, really do appreciate it. The book, The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success is available where all good books are sold. Is that the tagline? Amazon, Barnes & Noble?
Wayne: That’s perfect.
Pete: Beautiful, and then www.PowerFormula.net for the newsletter and the blog, to see your smiling face all over that website as well.
Wayne: Thanks, Pete. It’s been a lot of fun.
Pete: Beautiful, Wayne, and thank you so much for your time.
Wayne: Have a good day.
[Pete's interview with Wayne ends]
Pete: Awesome. That was Wayne Breitbarth, which was hugely valuable. It was really cool, actually. The next day, I went and made a whole bunch of changes on my profile, which you can go and check out, guys. Go to LinkedIn.com and search for Pete Williams, and feel free to add me as a connection.
You’re part of the community, so let’s connect on LinkedIn. And he sent me a message the next day, because obviously we friended each other, or connected is technically the term on LinkedIn. He sent me a message saying, “You now got an A,” on my profile review from him.
So I’ve gone from, was it a C, I think I was, or so he said there earlier, all the way through to an A very quickly in under an hour of my time. But in terms of some of the results I’ve got, it’s been interesting. I’ve had some of the business meetings recently, some consulting stuff.
Stuff that relates to the telco business and also some high-end consulting and some other opportunities recently. It’s been interesting, but the conversation I’ve had with these people who work in the “real” business commercial world have said, “I saw you did this,” and “I’ve seen you done this.”
I said, “How did you hear about that?” “On your LinkedIn profile.” And it really amazed me that now I have a decent LinkedIn profile, which has a lot more information about me and my background, and my skill sets that Wayne and I discussed. It’s actually coming back to me in conversations.
Historically, I’m guessing these people looked at my LinkedIn profile, but it was just there with nothing on there. So took no notice of it or didn’t have any relevance or weight to anything. Whereas, in the last week, two conversations that I can think of will end up being hopefully over $50,000 of revenue, both parties mentioned my LinkedIn profile.
How much weight that gave the deal coming through, I don’t know. I wasn’t going to quiz them about that. But it’s just interesting to hear that there is a lot more credibility for me coming into those meetings now because of that LinkedIn profile that people do search and look at it.
It was a big surprise to me. Because with a crappy LinkedIn profile, it never came up in conversations, for obvious reasons. But with a good one now, it’s starting some conversations.
Dom: I don’t know so much that it matters about the credibility, as just that it is a source of structured information. If you fill it out with your history and your experience, if all that stuff lines up, then people can find something out about you. I was reading one today, it was quite funny.
Somebody had on their website, the About page, and the website was about their industry and about what they do there. They were supposedly a social media expert, but their resume on their website was very random.
It was more about the fact that they’ve been involved, they’ve been some kind of major project manager for construction in the past, and they got an MBA from somewhere else and all these things; but not so much about the social media experience.
So these things get a little bit confusing for people. Whereas the LinkedIn, if you do it right and you set it up right, it becomes that resume. People can look at it and if they themselves are a LinkedIn user, then it really is a credibility thing, it really does add weight.
Definitely, I can see the value having listened to Wayne. Because I was like you, we said it in the intro, and I was like you. I always thought it was kind of the Facebook for business and I also filed it under the heading of, ‘I’ll get around to that at some point.’ Because all of my work comes from referral.
But the interesting thing, and that’s exactly what you’re saying, my work might come from referral, but I pretty much am sure that some of those referrals, even though somebody refers me directly person-to-person, some of those interactions could be made easier if these people could look on LinkedIn or wherever.
Find out a little bit more about me in a format that they understand and have got some experience with. Plus, the referral mechanism, which is again something you talked to Wayne about there and he gave some great examples. That referral mechanism is so much smoother through LinkedIn.
Really, the whole point of LinkedIn is basically facilitating the introduction and referral mechanisms. But I have to say something. I have to say you let me down. All right, I was very disappointed because I’m listening away, and of course, Wayne comes in and he scores you and he gives you a score.
He says when you update yours, let me know I’ll have a look. I’ll give you some tips. Where is my look, eh? Where’s my grade. Sort yourself out, why don’t you. All joking aside and slightly serious, I’m very glad he didn’t look at mine because you got a C, I’m not sure I would have got a pass. All right folks, so as Pete says, please go on LinkedIn, search for Pete.
Pete: Search for you as well.
Dom: Join the network and be part of the Preneur Group. Just give me a little bit of time to catch up, all right?
Pete: Go and connect with Dom, and then look at it again in a couple of weeks. And if he hasn’t updated it, give him a lot of crap. Just post on his wall.
Dom: Yeah, accountability.
Pete: Give him some accountability, absolutely.
Dom: That’s a good point actually.
Pete: Probably chain you on the show or something.
Dom: Pete, just get the entire audience to just hammer my LinkedIn profile, thanks a lot, dude.
Pete: So let’s talk about how we can get some copies of Wayne’s book.
Dom: Absolutely, this is a great thing. As you said at the beginning, we’ve got this amazing kind of audience that we’ve got behind us now and it really is bringing benefits; not just us, but the audience because we can go and we can say these publishers, “what have you got for the audience?” What’s in it, other than its excellent information from guests like Wayne? So, how many copies have we got?
Pete: With Wayne’s book, I’m not exactly too sure, unfortunately. I’m thinking about a half a dozen, but I can’t guarantee it because they’re apparently on a plane somewhere between America and Australia. Then I’ll probably have to box them back up and send them back to our audience in the States, which is kind of ironic.
I don’t really know. It’s going to be at least three or four. I know there’s at least three or four, but there may be up to half a dozen. So, again, speaking with the publishers, the angle I was able to use to negotiate this deal was all about getting more exposure for their author because that’s the whole idea.
Obviously, the author coming on the show here is already getting exposure to our huge audience, which is awesome. But the angle I use for them is if you give some books away, we can use that to help our community share the interview and to share the story.
Basically how it’s going to work is, if you guys can help share the show; if you write a blog post about this interview, about what you’ve learned, about the changes you made to your LinkedIn profile, if you share it on Facebook, if you share this episode on Twitter, if you go and write a comment on iTunes, which obviously helps our ranking, which gets more exposure for the interview with Wayne; and then let us know what you’ve done.
Simply send an e-mail to support [at] preneurgroup [dot] com and let us know what you did. It’s anything you can do. You can create a little YouTube video about the changes you made to your account based on this interview with Wayne, sharing it on Twitter, Facebook, Google+.
Whatever you do, anything to help us get more exposure for Wayne and his book classifies as an entry so to speak. So let us know what you did via support [at] preneurgroup [dot] com. And then in about two weeks’ time, and about two episodes’ time, we’ll let you guys know what the winners did.
There’s no weight awarded to the more effort you do, necessarily. It’s purely at Dom and I’s discretion who we give this to. It could be the funniest, it could be the biggest, it could be the most impactful. Whatever it might be, we’re just going to choose the amount.
If we have three or four books, we’ll choose three or four entries and say thank you very much and ship you a copy of Wayne’s hard book printed. Not the PDF stuff, this is a physical book shipped in the mail to your home or your office so you can read it and make those changes as well, and get a bit more in depth with your own LinkedIn success.
Dom: Absolutely. I’m loving this. Every week, on the show at the end, we say if you like what we do, please give us some feedback. And we really do appreciate the feedback. We appreciate the fantastic comments that we’ve had on the iTunes Store.
And people have been visiting the website, PreneurMedia.tv, and that’s all great stuff. But we’re kind of trying to add even more value than we normally do by getting these authors on, by getting these people that have got great content and bringing it to you.
Then also, to say thank you if somebody is doing this, helping us promote the show, helping these authors promote their books and things. That’s what this is all about, giving something back, even more so.
Pete: So it’s not a bribe, it’s a thank-you.
Dom: That’s it, that’s absolutely right. It’s not a bribe, it’s a thank-you when it finally turns up on the plane from wherever it comes from.
Pete: Exactly. Awesome, guys. As always, thank you for being part of our Preneur Community and listening to our PreneurCast. We really do enjoy doing this. And all the e-mails and stuff we get from everybody is really appreciated. As you know, if you’ve got a question that you want to have addressed on the show, or just a general question or some feedback, or anything: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Come through and you get a personal response to every single e-mail that you send us. So it’s not about any just black hole for Zendesk helpdesk. It’s personal replies from myself, Dom, and the team. So again, thanks for listening and we’ll see you for the next episode of PreneurCast.
Dom: See you soon, folks.
http://www.powerformula.net/ – Wayne’s site, dedicated to the book
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