LinkedIn is by far the best social media platform for generating B2B leads; its visitortolead conversion rate is almost three times that of Facebook or Twitter. And because so many professionals are using it to showcase their talents and experiences and network with others, it can be a great place to grow a client list as well as to sell products.

This is not a LinkedIn primer, so I’m not rehashing

the basics here, such as the importance of completely filling out your profile or company page and keeping it up to date. Instead, this article focuses on what I think are the five best things you can do to make the most out of LinkedIn’s opportunities to grow your business.

Create a LinkedIn Company Page if You Can

If you’re able to set up a company page for your small business on LinkedIn, you’ll have the huge advantage of being able to add products and services to your page with detailed descriptions and images, and use LinkedIn’s Showcase Pages feature to create dedicated pages for particular products and services that you want to feature.  The beauty of this is that you’ll then be able to ask people to recommend specific products and services – a much more powerful endorsement to buy what you’re selling than an endorsement of you personally.

Even better, you’ll be establishing a LinkedIn presence for your business. Invite people, post content and updates,  ask questions – but do

it through your company page, not your personal one. You want your LinkedIn followers to be engaging with your business, not with you.

Here are the requirements for adding a company page. If you can’t create one, don’t despair. You can still use LinkedIn to increase your business effectively.

Establish Yourself as an Authority

“Establishing yourself and your brand as an authority in your area of focus will help build authority and trust among your customers, both current and prospective” (LinkedIn Best Practices, Moz).

One Way of Doing This is by Joining and Participating in LinkedIn Groups

When you answer other group members’ questions, you demonstrate your expertise. When you post questions of your own, you generate discussion and show your willingness to learn. Do enough of it, and you will become a top contributor in the group, which will show up not only on the right side of the group page but on your member’s profile as well. Talk about visibility!


What are the best groups to join? For the purposes of establishing authority, the ones most closely associated with the area you wish to be viewed as an expert in. For instance, as a person who makes her living writing about small business, I’ve joined various small business groups. But if I was a financial advisor, my group choices would be different.

Another way of establishing authority is to provide your connections with valuable content in the area of your expertise. You can do this by writing posts yourself or by curating the posts of others – or, of course, by doing both. Providing timely and useful information to others is a great way of getting yourself seen as a “go-to” person on that subject.

Showcase Your Work

Okay, I said I wouldn’t mention completing your LinkedIn profile. But I do want to point out that enhancing your profile, by using the ‘Get discovered for your work’ sections available on your profile under the Summary, Education and Experience sections where you can add videos, images, and documents, is a great opportunity to show off what you can do and have done.

Once you’ve uploaded them, people visiting your profile are able to view them and like or comment on them if they wish. Some of those comments may even serve as testimonials for you.

Use LinkedIn Contacts to Make It Personal

The contacts section (under the Network tab at the top of your LinkedIn page) provides all kinds of nifty ways for you to keep your contacts organized. But even better, it’s an invaluable tool for personalizing your communications with your connections.

The Tags feature is customizable so you can add your own Tags to the list to categorize your contacts – even if they’re not 1st level connections.

You can filter your contacts by company, tag, location, title or source – and even sort them by recent conversation, so it’s easy to stay on top of who you’ve communicated with and when.

And the banner at the top of the Contacts page which shows which of your contacts are celebrating work anniversaries, new jobs etc. makes it super simple to send someone personal congratulations.

Make LinkedIn Posting a Habit

If you’re going to engage your followers, you need to post and post regularly. This may be the hardest thing about using social media. Especially for small businesses that don’t have people such as social media managers or social media departments, it’s way too easy to put up a profile or a company page, diligently post for a month or so and then disappear.

If you’re going to leverage LinkedIn to increase your business, as I promised in the title of this piece, you have to do better than that and keep posting. Here’s a statistic that might encourage you; companies that post 20 times per month reach at least 60 percent of their audience.

Tips for Optimizing Your LinkedIn Profile for Search

Professional Headline

Complete your professional headline; this is the description next to your name.  Make sure that you use keywords that prospective clients or employers would look for.  Also remember this headline is attached to you everywhere you go, so it will show up in your comments, answers and the email that you send via LinkedIn.

Change Your LinkedIn Profile URL

LinkedIn allows you to edit your profile URL.  For example mine is www.linkedin.com/in/lauralake.  Having my name in the url helps me to rank better in search and also be found easier on LinkedIn. Changing it is easy. While logged in just click the following link to edit your url. 


Keywords

Use the proper keywords, not the keywords that necessarily make sense to you – but the keywords prospective clients or employers would look for.  The Google Keyword Tool can help you with this. Once you identify the keywords that you will be using, use them in your headline, company position, experience and summary. I would also suggest personalizing your website links to include the keywords there as well.

Complete the Specialties Section

This section is located right below the summary section.  You will want to showcase and promote your areas of expertise here. This is a great place to use keywords.  Keywords I use in my specialties section include:


  • ecommerce
  • marketing strategy
  • marketing planning
  • online marketing
  • internet marketing
  • search engine marketing
  • social media marketing
  • You get the point.

Evaluate

See where you stand.  A simple evaluation will allow you to see which queries bring your profile to the top.   Here is how to evaluate your optimization efforts:

  • Go to the people tab – click advanced search.
  • Enter a keyword or keywords associated with the services that you offer or your targeted position.  Example:  Online Marketing or Marketing Manager
  • Enter the geographic location or zip code and a distance quotient.
  • Select and industry or multiple industries.
  • Click search.

Did you find yourself?  If not, go back to the top of this article and try again.  If you are stuck, look at the top few names that came up in the search results, open their profiles and review the highlighted words.  You will see the criteria that LinkedIn used to filter the results. You’ll notice more than likely the four areas these keywords are found are:

  • Professional Headline
  • Titles
  • Specialties
  • Industries

Work to optimize these four areas with the keywords you want to be found under.  By spending a little time to think strategically and inserting targeted keywords that make sense you will increase your chances of being found.

Remember; It’s a Social Network

And one last tip: Don’t oversell yourself or your products.

Even if you have a company page, remember: LinkedIn is a social network, not an online mall. The same networking rules apply as apply in face-to-face networking events – you get business by being helpful, not by spamming your products or services.

About the author: Daniel T Anderson, a writer at the essay help service. He keeps up with advancing technologies so as to get acquainted with latest technological tendencies. Besides, Daniel is keen on writing marketing strategies..