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21 Sep 2011

Book Review: Maximizing LinkedIn for Sales and Social Media Marketing by Neal Schaffer

September 21, 2011Social Media

Book Review: Maximizing LinkedIn for Sales and Social Media Marketing by Neal Schaffer

The All-In-One LinkedIn Guide for Everyone!

I recently saw Neal Schaffer speak at the Arizona Interactive Marketing Association. I was extremely impressed by his ability to take a topic such as social media marketing and in one hour, quickly apply it to virtually every type of business.

If you’re like me, you’re obsessed with increasing your connections on LinkedIn. I just reached 500+ connections and I jumped for joy! But, am I leveraging those the connections the way I should be? According to Maximizing LinkedIn by Neal Schaffer, not at all!

Another book that I recently read was Engage! Revised and Updated, the recent version of Brian Solis‘ book. Solis and Schaffer are both sending the same message. Sure, you have a Facebook account, Twitter account and LinkedIn. That isn’t enough! If you only have an account and you aren’t engaging or leveraging everything these networks have to offer, you might as well shut your account down right now. Seriously, either get in the game or delete your account!Maximizing LinkedIn Neal Schaffer

Did you know your company probably has a LinkedIn profile even if the company itself did not create one? Just like Google Places, LinkedIn gathers company information and creates business profiles. Your responsibility is to claim it and own it!

Schaffer not only tells you how to use LinkedIn to grow your business but also gives you the why behind it. In addition, he provides tactics on how to become a thought leader and gain mindshare on LinkedIn, which are concepts that can be taken outside the social network. And he also explains why LinkedIn is important for search engine optimization, which is not something that every marketer can speak to at the level that he does. This book is so comprehensive, it’s incredible that he fit it all into 200 pages. You might think, how can you possible talk about LinkedIn for 200 pages? This book will show you how to become a rock star on the social network and generate more business as a result with case studies to prove it.

Many business owners view Facebook, their brick and mortar location, website and other business assets as separate entities. But, Neal also shows the reader how to integrate LinkedIn with your website, something that every business owner needs to understand.

These are my key takeaways from Schaffer’s recent book:

You Are What You “Tweet”

While this sounds like it’s about Twitter, the point Neal is making here is that “if you are trying to generate business from other professionals, you need to stick to appropriate topics”.

Many people on LinkedIn actually have their Twitter feed on there as well. This may have seemed like a cool idea, but if you are more carefree on Twitter and Tweet about personal things like your family, what you’re doing this weekend and what politicians you hate, you might want to disconnect that from LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is Only Valuable if You Decide to Be an Active Member

In the book, Neal interviews companies that have developed business using LinkedIn. One of his interviewees quotes “Discussions are being held by more than just random names; they are held by people working at specific companies that also employ two of three other people you worked with in the past.”

LinkedIn’s 100 million members include an executive from every Fortune 500 company. Wow!

Every Employee Can Be a Sales Person

Schaffer encourages company owners and leaders to lead by example and that those same individuals allows employees to access LinkedIn during business hours. He emphasizes the importance of understanding the law and that every business should have an internal social media policy.

Optimize Your profile for LinkedIn Search Results

People you haven’t connected with yet can only see limited information. Here are the 3 elements you need pay close attention to:

  1. Photo
  2. Name
  3. Professional Headline

Neal highlights 7 more key elements of a LinkedIn profile and how to reach 100% completeness. He also highlights a case study about optimizing your profile with relevant industry keywords, just as you would your business website.

Create a LinkedIn Connection Policy

Neal covers how to establish guidelines for yourself as to protect both yourself as well as your connections. Everyone should have criteria when adding connections or accepting invitations on LinkedIn!

Promote Your Products and Services

Did you know you can have a products and services page on LinkedIn? Well you can! LinkedIn allows you to go into great detail about your what you company has to offer and allows others to recommend you!

Groups and Targeting

Neal actually refers to groups on LinkedIn as virtual trade shows. According to LinkedIn, there are 17,800,000 members in groups. He explains how to create your own community on LinkedIn, including everything from the access settings to how to promote it.

Events on LinkedIn

Use the online network to find offline business events. You are able to create events on LinkedIn

Prospect on LinkedIn

Neal gives great tips on how to reach out to prospects with appropriate introductions He also discusses the LinkedIn Profile Organizer, available to paid LinkedIn subscribers. It’s a very useful tool for sales professionals.

Should You Pay for LinkedIn?

Most users have the free LinkedIn subscription, but a select few, such as recruiters, pay for the advanced search filter functionality and other perks included in the paid services.  In addition to recruiters, Schaffer discusses the benefits of LinkedIn Personal Plus to sales professionals. He speaks positively of all the features, but be sure that they’re right for your purpose.

In the Appendices, Neal lists resources to stay up to date on LinkedIn and also provides more case studies. He also provides a helpful glossary to guide you through LinkedIn.

All in all, an awesome book! Neal not only covers everything there is to know about LinkedIn, but tactics and best practices that every business professional should be using.

How do you maximize LinkedIn for your business?