LinkedIn is something of a social media anomaly. The most popular social media accounts, like Twitter and Facebook, don’t have a strictly professional scope. LinkedIn, on the other hand, is strictly business — literally. It’s the social networking site for professionals, entrepreneurs and business owners who want to build meaningful relationships within the business community. It has a specific purpose and helps a specific subset of people.

 

If you’re considering starting up your own LinkedIn profile, or if you already have a profile and want to find better results, it’s important to ask yourself a few questions about how to make LinkedIn a truly valuable experience for you. It’s one thing to create a LinkedIn account, but it’s another thing entirely to find true LinkedIn success.

 

“Is LinkedIn the Right Fit for Me?”

 

As stated above, the hard and fast rule is that LinkedIn is for professionals who want to build professional relationships. There’s no such thing as a “LinkedIn hookup” or sending other entrepreneurs useless memes through private messages like other social sites. If you’re on LinkedIn, you’re looking to build valuable relationships with a business slant. If you go out for drinks together as part of a business meeting, that’s your own decision — not the purpose of the site.

 

Let’s escalate things to a higher level of thought: as a business professional, can you find value from LinkedIn? To answer that question, it’s important to look at why you should use LinkedIn in the first place. If you:

 

  • Want to help establish your personal or professional brand…
  • Want to find a job or business collaborator…
  • Want to generate leads…
  • Are looking for more business knowledge from peers and professionals…
  • Find support for your business or startup projects…

 

…then LinkedIn can be valuable to you and your business efforts.

 

“How Can I Grow My Business via LinkedIn?”

 

Sometimes entrepreneurs and business owners who use LinkedIn are strictly looking for B2B business growth. Company owners will often receive messages from B2B professionals that discuss article writing, email marketing services, business training and other B2B services. In fact, B2B business professionals almost exclusively grow their client roster via LinkedIn.

 

There are a variety of ways you can grow your business and promote brand visibility on LinkedIn, but here are a few that stand out to us:

 

  • Optimize your LinkedIn profile and complete it fully.
  • Define your target market prospects and locate them on LinkedIn.
  • Connect with industry influencers.
  • Post valuable blogs and articles to LinkedIn.
  • Create your own LinkedIn group.

 

“Can I Successfully Stand Out On LinkedIn?”

 

Businesses must be able to stand out from the crowd to continue to get business. This is especially true of professionals on LinkedIn. There’s a sea of professionals on LinkedIn, and it’s likely you’ll be surrounded by stiff competition no matter what industry you’re in. Thus, it’s important for business professionals to find a way to stand out amongst their LinkedIn peers.

 

The easiest ways to do this all involve creating brand value. Your personal brand matters — your photo, your profile and your tone of voice all matter on LinkedIn, and that’s not even counting your professional information. Adding value to your business brand means going above and beyond to be active on the social site, and this can include a great many number of activities: posting valuable articles, creating groups, connecting with valuable peers, sending messages reaching out and having a decent brand presence off-site.

 

“What Tips Should I Know Before Starting Out?”

 

A lot of the best LinkedIn tips seem obvious in hindsight, but they may not be something you’ve considered prior to actually reading them. You’d be amazed at how many LinkedIn professionals don’t fully complete their profile or invest quality time into harvesting a LinkedIn audience. If you’re looking for some great tips, try these three on for size:

 

  • Optimize your LinkedIn copy and anchor text. It helps to boost SEO on both Google and LinkedIn itself.
  • Always show off samples of your work, whether it’s writing or photos of work you’ve done. No matter what it is, use LinkedIn to showcase no more than three or four of your best “pieces.”
  • Connect LinkedIn with Twitter. This boosts your social visibility and also showcases your social media to professional peers.

 

LinkedIn can be an extremely valuable social network for professionals and business owners…they just have to know how to use it correctly, first. You’re on the right track, but let’s see how far LinkedIn can really take you.

 

Looking for more ways to improve your business marketing strategy? Take a broader look at social media platforms and the pitfalls you should avoid in order to be successful.