Many of us are aware of the power of social media, but one often overlooked powerful tool in your social media tool kit is fully leveraging the power of LinkedIn. Most of us have simply just made a profile similar to Facebook and tried to make it a bit more professional and just left it at that.  Trust me when I say this, just having an account set up and putting up some basic info won’t do much for you unless you have a complete profile and are active on the site.

While many business professionals have adopted the use of LinkedIn for networking and searching for others in similar fields, there is still a large majority of people I see who are not fully leveraging all that LinkedIn has to offer.  According to a user survey published by Power Formula only 50.5% of users have a 100% complete profile.  Now, what does this mean and why is it relevant?

Having a complete profile will help to increase your visibility and allow others to find you more easily. Those with fully developed profiles will be much more likely to receive opportunities through LinkedIn.  One of the main actions driving people on LinkedIn is researching people and companies.  Some of the other major activities involved are reconnecting with past business associations, developing new relationships for networking, and helping to increase face-to-face networking effectiveness.

Networking and using Relevant Keywords

One of the most effective ways to increase your networking and online visibility is by joining specific groups related to your industry.  Having an overabundance of keywords on your profile will help you to show up in more search results, but be careful so you don’t just spam a bunch of keywords.  Have the keywords you are using be relevant and truthful to your experiences.  You need to think if someone is searching for these keywords and they see my profile, will it be relevant to what they were actually searching for.

Whether you are an individual looking to network for a new job or a business trying to increase market awareness it is important to remember a few key points.  Top keywords that are relevant will be your biggest friend.  Joining and actually participating in groups through discussions will further increase your chances of being found.  Finally connections, you have to connect with other people if you want your network to grow.  Be looking for people not just in your specific field, but look outside to other industries where people may be facing similar challenges.  Finding these connections will be valuable if you intend to form partnerships or to simply learn from others.

There are so many out there facing the same challenges and by having groups be able to discuss current needs in your market you will be able to better relate to your customers, clients, friends, and professional contacts.  Asking others in groups about your biggest concern or problems will stimulate discussion and hopefully you will be able to receive valuable information about how to better tackle these problems.

Integrating SEO and Social Media

I have mentioned the power of using relevant keywords and making connections, but how does this all relate to one another? There isn’t one magic answer or specific way to make LinkedIn or any social media instantly start working for you.  It involves a concerted effort with a specific focus or goal in mind.  Once you have identified the purpose you can begin to craft a strategy to execute on that plan.  For example, if you are a business looking to establish new connections and develop leads, you need to have your profile and business pages optimized so people searching for the products or services you offer can actually find you.

Taking it a step further, once you have begun developing connections, look to see if you can make face-to-face meetings or attend organized networking events being offered through various groups.  So, look at it this way the more people you know or are connected too, the more times you will show up in the search results related to your industry.

Also, make sure that if people are finding your profile or business page that you not only have the relevant keywords but also include links to your site, or product/service pages if applicable. Complete your profile by including past work experience, relevant skills, and one extra step is asking for others to recommend your past work and now users can even endorse specific skills or expertise you have listed.

By utilizing these tips and tools you will be able to better position yourself or your business for additional growth and success.  Remember you must be proactive in order to fully maximize the potential that lies with LinkedIn, continue to ask questions to others in your field, and make those connections and you will begin to see the fruit of your labor.