• Interview with Neal Schaffer, Author of Windmill Networking: Understanding, Leveraging & Maximizing LinkedIn

    Book Title(s):Neal Schaffer, Author

    Windmill Networking: Understanding, Leveraging & Maximizing LinkedIn

    Website URL:

    http://windmillnetworking.com

    Social Media Links:

    LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/nealschaffer

    Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/nealschaffer

    Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/WindmillNetworking

    What is your book about?

    My book is about LinkedIn and all of the things that are possible for both businesses and professionals to utilize it for.  It is about much more than just LinkedIn, though, because I go through a thorough description of all of the functionality that LinkedIn has to offer in the perspective of social media and the positive value of social networking embodied in my concept of “Windmill Networking.”  It starts with looking at why you should be on LinkedIn, determining your objective, creating your personal brand to be used on LinkedIn, and then seeing what can be done with the different functionality and applications that LinkedIn has to offer.  I wrote the book as a long conversation, as if I was sitting across the table speaking to you, so I believe it is a very non-technical read for both beginners to get a hand-held introduction to LinkedIn as well as for advanced users to find new tricks.

    What inspired you to write your book?

    My book really began with a blog, a comment from my wife that I should consider writing a book, an unexpected period of being in-between jobs, and a belief that I could write a better book about the subject than anyone else out there in the market.

    How did you come to do what you’re doing today?

    It’s funny because what I do today came completely organic and unplanned!  I began blogging about LinkedIn in July of 2008 as a way to network with others as well as answer any question they might have on LinkedIn.  My blogging increased rapidly in 2009, and because of previously mentioned reasons, I wrote my book and it was published in September of 2009.  Since my network knew I was writing a book, I began to get speaking opportunities in July of 2009, which, after the book was published, turned into paid engagements.  It was January of 2010, though, when local businesses started to contact me through word-of-mouth to ask me to consult with them on their social media strategy.  The rest is history!

    Can you describe a typical day in your life?

    Great question!  A typical day starts and ends at the computer!  Because my profession is social media, it is a day full of tweets, posts and comments as well as phone calls and live meetings.  My mornings are primarily updating my social media accounts after I read the latest news on social media for business and decide what I want to share to my network that day.  That’s right, mornings are sharing time!  When I am in consulting mode, the rest of my day is spent researching, working with my staff, meeting with clients, and creating actual social media strategies.  When I am in book-writing mode, I enjoy going to my local Tully’s to write a few thousand words in a concentrated session of several hours.  Before, during, and after dinner time are reserved for family, but I’m often checking emails before bed…which is a bad habit BUT gives me a head start on the next day!

    What do you most enjoy about what you do?

    I am passionate about educating others.  Whether I am writing, speaking, or consulting on social media, I have the same mission: to empower you to be self-sufficient in implementing social media successfully for your business or yourself.

    Are there any people and/or books that have inspired you along your journey?

    Many people around me in my physical and virtual network have inspired me.  If I had to name a few books, “Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty” and “Never Eat Alone” would be some of the more influential ones that have inspired me.

    Can you share some business tips for our readers?

    The most important business tip that I can share is that the advent of social media is just like the Oklahoma Land Rush: Claim your territory now and embrace social media like the Amazon’s and Netflix’s embraced the Internet and created new customers and services.  Social media clearly levels the playing field for small businesses and thus should be exploited to its maximum potential.

    What’s next for you?

    Currently writing my 2nd book, which will be on Twitter, as well as contributing a chapter to a book to be published later this year on social media case studies.  Also looking to expand my speaking engagements and social media strategy consulting business.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I am what many would call an “open networker.”  I enjoy building out a large and diverse network with the hope that someday it will be of mutual benefit.  If I can be of any help to you, do feel free to reach out to me via social media  I am always just one tweet away!

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