I was excited to get the book “How to Succeed in Business Using LinkedIn” by Eric Butow and Kathleen Taylor. I think I am one of the few remaining business people who do not have a LinkedIn profile as yet, and I was hoping this book would give me the reason why I should use it and how I should use it to further my business goals.
But I was turned off by its technical formatting ala books such as “Microsoft Powerpoint Step by Step.” The book focuses too much on explaining each and every button and feature of LinkedIn — from discussing the elements of the LinkedIn homepage to inviting contacts to connect to how to search for possible contacts. It feels like the Customer Service section of LinkedIn in book format. If you want a step by step guide to using LinkedIn, this is the book for you.
For example, the book lays out the various account options of LinkedIn including the paid ones. But it fails to tell me which plan is suitable given my possible objectives for joining. Or even why I should pay for the upgraded account and not just use the free option. Instead, the book tells me that
“If you’re unsure which plan suits your needs, click the Help and FAQ link in the Company area at the bottom of the LinkedIn homepage.”
Then the authors write:
“If you have a promotional code, which acts as a coupon for a discount on LinkedIn services, type the code in the Add a Promotional Code box.”
Duh. I don’t need to buy a book to know that.
My frustration stems from my expectations given the title “How to Succeed in Busines Using LinkedIn” and then the book turns out to focus more on “How to Use LinkedIn” with very few sections devoted to the “How to Succeed in Business” part. Instead on focusing on how businesses should or could use LinkedIn, the book is more of a “these-are-the-buttons-you-need-to-press” to use LinkedIn.
There are great tips — but they are few and far between and buried in the explanations on how each button or link works in LinkedIn. I like the examples of how to write a compelling message to contact another member and how to decline invitations to connect. I wish there are more of these tips so the book can live up to its title.
In fact, I find the press materials sent to me by the publisher better than book in explaining why I should have LinkedIn profile. Here’s what the publisher sent me:
How Your Small Business Can Succeed Using LinkedIn
1. Set your company apart. Keep a detailed company profile to present a clear vision of your company to the world.
2. Showcase your expertise. Answer questions in your subject area and encourage your employees to do so also. Prospective clients will love to see who is the thought leader in your area and when your answers are highly rated, they know who to call for the next job.
3. Keep your connections strong. Utilize your new, current, and past connections. LinkedIn was designed to network, so utilize those connections to find new clients, search for new talent, and get business in unexpected ways.
4. Stay on top of the latest in your industry. What better way to keep a pulse on the ideas and trends in your industry than in a discussion group? Learn about events and conferences, leads and prospects, new products and services, and other information to keep you ahead of the curve.
5. Find great service providers. Utilize LinkedIn’s service providers page to find people who come highly recommended from people you respect.
6. Discover new talent. Comb through your network to find great new talent or utilize the Jobs page to recruit new people to your organizations.
If the book was only organized based on the above, I think it will live up to its title well. As it is, the book is a more of a technical guide to using LinkedIn and not a guide to help you succeed in business using LinkedIn.