I recently completed the new 42 Rules for 24 Hour Success on Linked In and I thought I would take a few minutes to document my thoughts.
I have been using LinkedIn for five years now. However, I have never really committed the time to extensively building out my network or leveraging the more advanced features. So this book really caught my attention when I first saw it advertised. My goal in reading the 42 rules was not to look for a new job, but instead to identify some tips that I could use in my current position to both 1) promote my company with LinkedIn members and 2) establish better individual relationships with peers in the industry. You always hear stories about someone recently used LinkedIn to reach out to C-Level executive at another company that led to a blossoming partnership or major sales engagement. But I have not been able to find a good reference for such best practices, especially for how to leverage LinkedIn for corporate marketing and business development purposes.
Three Stars for the Book. Five Stars for the Strategy
I have to say that I was disappointed with the content of the book. It did not include many case studies and the content on advanced techniques was relatively short. However, my criticisms are perhaps unfair as the book’s content does accurately reflect its title. 42 Rules is written for professionals who are new to LinkedIn and seeking guidance on how to use the site. The book does a nice job of sequentially walking a user through the steps of building a profile, establishing a network and managing your account. As a result, I would still recommend having a copy on reference. It is a quick read. Each of the rules is organized into a two page section that can be read in about a minute so you can skim through the content if you prefer.
Regardless of whether you liked the book or not you have to credit the authors with a brilliant strategy. First, the launch event was well managed through a viral e-mail campaign. I received several notes promoting the book’s availability on www.amazon.com and offering a discount on associated product management materials. Accompanying the book is a dedicated web site, www.linktoprosper.com, which has a wealth of additional free and for-a-fee product offerings. There is a blog with additional suggestions on how to maximize the value of LinkedIn. Additionally, the site offers a gateway to several consultative services such as a 32-point profile assessment designed to help you maximize your LinkedIn experience. For those with less time or experience, there is an Extreme Makeover offering, in which experts will completely redevelop your identity, brand and profile. This is the 2009 equivalent of an executive search firm helping to re-write your resume. In general, I think the Link to Prosper site has done an excellent job of identifying a white space in the fast growing area of professional social networking. One could easily see a growth path targeted at corporate customers seeking assistance with recruiting or online branding.