27 Ways to Make Smarter Use of LinkedIn: Share any idea in comments that can be helpful to others

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As a small business owner or entrepreneur, you no doubt incorporate social media into your overall online marketing strategy.

So if you have a LinkedIn profile, but aren’t sure what to do it with it, here are 27 ideas for making the most of your presence.

1. Make sure your profile is filled in completely. Be sure to include a great photo.

2. Publish your personalized LinkedIn URL everywhere, including: business cards, e-mail auto signatures, your website and/or blog, brochures, press releases, newsletters, etc.

3. Join more industry and alumni groups. Create direct connections with members of each group.

4. Leverage free widgets that will automatically update your status across multiple social media sites.

5. Respond to questions that highlight your expertise. Provide a link to your blog or website where they can get more information.

6. Use LinkedIn’s featured applications to share presentations, track what people are saying about your company, highlight your favorite books, and manage important files.

7. Post job opportunities.

8. Scan weekly updates from your connections. Respond to what others have posted by asking them a question, offering congratulatory remarks or sharing something helpful.

9. Locate subject matter experts and invite them to contribute to your blog, newsletter, podcasts, ezine, audio seminar series, etc.

10. Write recommendations for others. Ask others to write recommendations for you.

11. Make it a point to add at least five new connections per week. Ask others to introduce you to their contacts.

12. Start discussions in your groups.

13. Conduct market research using LinkedIn polls. Share the results. Or use the results to decide which new information products you should create.

14. Share recent examples of your work.

15. Create a group or fan page for your product, service or business.

16. Link to interesting articles or to articles you’ve published.

17. Update your status at least once per day during the workweek.

18. Ask for recommendations on vendors, contractors or joint venture partners.

19. Introduce people who you think would benefit from knowing one another.

20. Attract more potential clients or customers by editing your summary so that it addresses the reader’s needs – not as though it’s a boring summary from the top of a resume! (Hint: Give your summary a great headline.)

21. Send LinkedIn invites within 24 hours of a networking event. Include a personalized note reminding them who you are.

22. Purchase ads that promote your business.

23. Improve your Google PageRank. LinkedIn lets you to make your profile information available for search engines to index by creating a public profile and selecting “Full View.” Since LinkedIn profiles receive a fairly high PageRank in Google, this is a good way to influence what people see when they search for you.

24. Publicize your events. You can promote them for free to your network (so the bigger the network the better.) Or you can pay to have them advertised via DirectAds.

25. Promote your blog using either the Blog Link or WordPress applications, which automatically show your blog postings to everyone else in your network who are also using the tool.

26. Use the Questions function to get advice on something you’re not sure how to handle, or use it to learn more about your network so you can hone your marketing materials.

27. Find professional events, from conferences to local meet-ups, and discover what events your connections are attending. Use this information to decide things like which networking opportunities to personally attend or what trade shows you should exhibit at.

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