Linkedin is one of the fastest growing social networking sites today. It can offer so much more than making new contacts.

But unfortunately some people fail to utilise all the benefits Linkedin has to offer and sit idle on their accounts. This guide will reveal the hidden gems within Linkedin that can enhance your business.

One of the reasons why Linkedin is different from other social networking site is that your friends or contacts could someday be a potential client. So you should always conduct yourself in a business manner while on the site, including your profile.

Here are my top 5 tips to help you get the most out of Linkedin

1) Appearance

You only have one chance to make a first impression’ – This saying is mainly used in the offline world, but it also applies to your online presence. How would you like your potential clients or partners to perceive you online? 

Just imagine if you had to dress someone up to represent your business at a very important meeting. This is how you should want your Linkedin profile to look – sharp, professional and ready for business.

Before you start networking, make sure your profile is 100% complete. An incomplete profile is similar to having gravy stains on PowerPoint handouts – it looks messy.

Remember to show off your most valuable assets and accomplishments in your profile. Keep it short and sweet while highlighting the main points. This will make the reader want to know more.

2) Play nice

Linkedin’s rule of engagement differs from most social networks. If your intentions are to socialise in the same way you do on Facebook, please think again. Linkedin’s motto should be, 
you’re not here to make friends’.

While this may seem a little hard, it has an element of truth. Your main purpose should be to connect with other professionals you have worked with in the past and those you wish to work with in the future. If a friendship blossoms – even better.

Unsolicited networking requests are heavily frowned upon. You may be tempted to request a direct connection with someone outside your network, but please think twice before doing so.  It’s just like interrupting a private conversation to sell them your product. If you really what to connect with someone you can:

  • Check if you have anyone in your network that is connected to them and ask for an introduction
  • Join a group they are in and make conversation with them in there

If you are going to ask someone in your network to introduce you, make sure that person has a good Linkedin profile. As you may be judged on their reputation before you are accepted as a contact.

3) Customise your links

Linkedin provides the opportunity for you to add customised links to your site. If you have an online presence, you may be aware that the number of links back to your site can help your page rank and even increase traffic to your site.

You can promote up to three websites on your profile page. When adding a link to your site, select “Other” in the drop down menu to customise your links. Create a good call to action for your link instead of a generic link like; “My Website”.

4) Give to receive

You may have been told not to ‘give to receive’ as a child. I would usually agree with this statement but with Linkedin there is an exception.

Within your profile there is a feature call “Recommendations”. This shows the amount of people who have recommended you on Linkedin. The higher the number of recommendations the better your profile will look. This is a form of social proof and can compliment your profile statement.

It can be a bit embarrassing to ask people in your network to recommend you. So recommending other people will usually result in them returning the favour.

5) Share your knowledge

No matter the industry, there are people needing expert advice. Linkedin has a Questions and Answers section where people can post questions for experts to answer.

Answering questions can demonstrate your knowledge and potentially attract contacts that would be willing to pay for your services. There is also a ranking system that rewards people who give the best answers. This can generate extra exposure to your profile