LinkedIn has grown into more than a social networking site for business people. Today, it's also one of the first places employers and business partners go to learn more about the people who want to work with them. It's also one of the first places that employees go to learn more about potential leaders, managers, colleagues and so on.
Not only does LinkedIn offer information about people you consider working with, but it can also open doors to new opportunities and relationships that can benefit your career in the long term. Don't just create your LinkedIn profile and forget it. Instead, follow the tips below to make your LinkedIn profile work for you.
1. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is comprehensive.
Simply entering your name and current job into your LinkedIn profile isn't enough. Instead, take the time to make your profile comprehensive, so it tells your entire story. Lead with your strengths and make sure visitors to your profile see your most important and relevant information first.
2. Continually search for new connections.
Use the LinkedIn search tool to find people to connect with. Search groups related to your business or expertise and connect with people you know or request an introduction to people you don't know from your own connections who are already connected with them.
3. Ask for recommendations (and give them, too).
The LinkedIn Recommendations tool is typically under-utilized by LinkedIn members. Recommendations act as testimonials of your abilities and knowledge. Write recommendations for your connections and request that they write recommendations for you in return.
4. Answer questions in LinkedIn Answers.
Leverage the LinkedIn Answers feature to search for questions related to your business or area of expertise and answer them. LinkedIn Answers offers an excellent opportunity to establish your expertise but also to connect with and build relationships with more people.
5. Search for and join groups.
There are many, many LinkedIn groups (including the ForbesWoman group, and you can join up to 50 with a free LinkedIn account (and additional sub-groups). Search for groups related to your business and area of expertise and join them. This enables you to connect with other group members and join conversations happening within those groups.
6. Start your own group.
If there isn't a group related to your business, expertise or niche on LinkedIn already, then create one! It's free and takes just a few minutes to create a group. Just be sure to keep the group active with new content and conversations, so people find enough value in it to join and to come back again and again.
7. Keep your content fresh.
Take the time to update your LinkedIn profile frequently and add to Group conversations frequently else you'll be forgotten quickly.
8. Automate some processes.
Save time by automating processes such as feeding your blog posts to your LinkedIn profile and groups that allow you to do so using the group news feature (not all groups allow this). Also, automate the feed of your Twitter stream to your LinkedIn profile, and link your SlideShare account with your LinkedIn profile using LinkedIn apps. By automating processes, you free up time for other activities and ensure your LinkedIn content is fresh and interesting.
9. Promote your LinkedIn profile to increase connections.
Include a link or icon on your Web site and blog inviting people to connect with you on LinkedIn. Similarly, include the link in your email signature and anywhere else you can think of to get more exposure and boost your quality connections.
10. Consider placing a LinkedIn ad.
LinkedIn Advertising is an easy to use feature that enables you to create ads that are served using the targeting criteria you select and the budget you determine. They can help you to promote your LinkedIn activities and your business.
11. Don't forget about LinkedIn Jobs.
12. Use LinkedIn Events.
Promote your events and accept RSVPs using the LinkedIn Events feature. Follow the link to get answers to frequently asked questions about LinkedIn events.