With over 120 million members, LinkedIn is one of the largest social networks online.  And while its popularity continues to grow in the UK, many people aren’t using the site to its full potential.

So, in order to help you take advantage of all that LinkedIn has to offer, our social media experts have come up with some tips that are sure to help bring you business:

LinkedIn Tips for Business

1. Set LinkedIn Goals: Like any business strategy, you need to set goals for what you want to achieve from LinkedIn.  Do you want to find a new job? Drum up new business? Be viewed as an expert in your industry? Whatever the goals, you should use LinkedIn to achieve them.
2. Actively Participate: What’s the point of being on a social network if you don’t socialise?  Your LinkedIn profile is just as important as any of your other profiles, so update your status regularly, make sure your profile is up-to-date, and actively make connections with people.  If you take your networking on LinkedIn seriously, you’ll come across as somebody who is passionate about his/her career.
3. Optimise your Profile: Your profile can make or break a possible business opportunity, so optimise it to work for you.
a. Include a photo of yourself—people want to know who they are doing business with and a photo of yourself will help bring in more leads.
b. Write a job description and headline that means something. Stay concise and use terms people outside of your company will understand.  So, although the job title “Digital Head Honcho” may sound cool, “Digital Director” will carry more weight with LinkedIn members. Give your job title, name of company, and a brief description of what you do. Including statistics (such as budgets you’ve worked with, percentage growth you brought to a company, number of people who worked under you) will help others understand the full scope of what you have done.
c. Don’t list all your past jobs, but instead only list those jobs that are relevant to achieving your LinkedIn goals.  For example, time working as a waiter will not be relevant to getting a job as Senior Legal Advisor of a company, so leave it out.
d. Remember, LinkedIn is about business so focus your profile on offering the information your connections and potential visitors will want to know about your skills and jobs.
e. Use keywords.  In order to attract potential clients, they have to know you exist.  By including relevant keywords in your profile, people will be more likely to find you in LinkedIn searches.  Don’t forget Google also pulls LinkedIn profiles into searches so the more keywords you use, the higher your profile will rank on a search results page.

4. Maintain Professionalism: While people want to see a bit of personality within your LinkedIn profile, you need to remain largely business-oriented.  That’s not to say you need to appear boring, but you should be wary of trying to appear too laid back and fun since that may come across as unprofessional.  Also, include a professional photo of yourself, not the one from last week’s night out.  Status updates should remain business-focussed and can include updates on your job, links to relevant news stories or related blog posts, or information about events you are attending.
5. Network: LinkedIn was created as a site where business people could network, so take advantage of that.  It’s quality versus quantity in LinkedIn so reach out to people you feel can help you reach your goals.  Connect with people you’ve met, old friends and schoolmates, or search for people who may be interested in doing business with you.  If you want to meet somebody through LinkedIn who is in your network, ask for an introduction from a shared connection.  Also, regularly check LinkedIn’s suggested connections to see if anyone you know appears.  You should also regularly check to see who has been looking at your profile—if there is anyone interesting, send them an invite to connect.
6. Get Testimonials: Testimonials serve as immediate references on your profile, and are especially useful for people who have come across you for the first time.  If you are looking for a new job, testimonials from former colleagues and bosses are just what you need.  If you are looking for business then former clients are ideal.  A handful of testimonials should be enough, more than that and people will have to read too much text.  Don’t be afraid to ask someone for testimonials, but at the same time try to give people testimonials as well.
7. Personalise your messages: Although LinkedIn provides you with a generic message for invitations, testimonial requests, and introductions, you should make an effort to personalise them. Not only will this help jog somebody’s memory about who you are, but it will also show that you are willing to take time out to communicate with them.
8. Participate in Groups/Answers: Actively participating in LinkedIn Groups or answering questions in its Answers forum are great ways to get your name circulated around LinkedIn.  Not only that, but by offering sage advice, you’ll be viewed as an expert in your field.  Not a bad reputation to have at all.
9. Create a Business Page: Having a LinkedIn presence for your company is just as important as having your own profile.  A company page will allow visitors to get a better understanding of what products/services your company offers and it’s a great way to connect all your employees on LinkedIn.  Services pages can be tailored so that different demographics within LinkedIn see different pages, which allows you to target your message to each audience.
Encourage employees to add themselves to the company page so there will be a direct link from their personal profiles.  Also, its useful to make sure all employees use the same name for the company to avoid multiple variations, for example “Cite”, “Cite DMS”, and “Cite DMS Ltd.”
10. Consider LinkedIn Ads: LinkedIn offers Pay Per Click advertising that can be targeted toward LinkedIn members based on various demographics, including job title, income, location, age, gender, and LinkedIn group membership.  Although these ads may not be for everyone, we recommend doing a bit of research to find out if they would work well with your marketing strategy.

Using LinkedIn to its full potential can help open up new ways of reaching potential clients and getting your name out there. Whether you are looking for a new job or trying to work on your current one, there is something on LinkedIn for everyone.  Give it a try and let us know what you think.

Did we miss anything? Feel free to throw in any LinkedIn advice in the comments section.