Through my observations and interactions in social media I have developed a high respect for Neal Schaffer, a true Linkedin expert. So when his latest book came out I pestered him for the Kindle release, and here is my review of Maximizing LinkedIn for Sales and Social Media Marketing: An Unofficial, Practical Guide to Selling & Developing B2B Business on LinkedIn.
My review is quite short, and segmented into Positive, Negative, and Interesting.
Overall I rate the book very highly. There is a mountain of practical advice, and work if you follow-up on all that advice. I'm in the process of touching up my Linkedin profile and making more time for Linkedin again as a result of reading it. But I've deducted one star because of the Negatives. Those Negatives could have been easily avoided, so I assume that they are a conscious choice, and so I'm expressing a difference in opinion rather than fact.
The book reflects the author's deep knowledge of Linkedin and his own business results from using it in the way he describes. So this is a very practical guide for B2B.
It's segmented and easy to read - I read it in 2 hours - and includes specific Case Studies to illustrate the advice. It clearly explains how to get over the typical stumbling blocks, such as how people and their companies should be represented and interact, and reminds us about the value of the functions of Linkedin that we may have neglected, such as Questions and Answers, and Polls, for example.
Furthemore, by its practical nature it generates a big workload of audits and review and rethinking content and priorities and activies on Linkedin. That meaning that this book can deliver a big outcome if you take up its challenges.
I have developed myself a workload as a result of reading this book. That's a great outcome. If you want to brush up or learn about how to maximise your Linkedin presence value then I recommend this book.
There were a couple of aspects of the book which disappointed me. The least disappointing was the clear message by the author in the opening remarks, and then from time to time later, that this book is clearly intended to be a companion to his first book. I've never read Neal's first book, and I assumed that given his experience since then that the new one would be a superset. Actually it doesn't even matter what I think, but what I think does matter is that this point is not made clear in any of the product description on Amazon for example. I would not have been disappointed if this had been transparent when I bought the book.
The bigger disappointment was the constant repetition of basic points. The chapters all seem to have published as stand-alone pieces at some point in their life-cycle. They repeat the same things many times, up to 4 or 5, I lost count. They don't repeat them in a pedagogical way, rather, each seems completely blind to the existence of the previous occurrences. This was obviously a chosen format, but I found it distracting and disappointing, almost like things were begin padded out.
Neal has strong views about managing your online personas, along the lines of "Linkedin for business, Facebook for personal". He explains this thoughtfully - at least it made me contemplate my point of view. And he provides a set of filters to run your posts through to ensure that you maintain your professional persona on Linkedin.
It's interesting because personally I don't really subscribe to this theory. What I do agree with is that linking your Twitter to your Linkedin is not a good idea, and that there are things which you need to think twice about before posting on Linkedin. But ultimately everything will be exposed, so I'd rather put effort into working Linkedin to the max rather than worrying whether I should be saying something in Linkedin or my blog or Facebook or Twitter or Posterous etc etc. I think that you just be yourself but don't dance naked on the dinner table at a business meeting, or with friends that you've just met.
On Neal's side he has some compelling evidence to support what he says - and that is the business which he has built from following his own guidelines on Linkedin. That's irrefutable. You might be best to take his advice!
See my question on Quora.
What is your favorite tip for getting the most out of LinkedIn?
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