LinkedIn can be a goldmine or a huge waste of time. My company has secured tens of thousands of dollars of business as well as referred business to others over the last couple of years due to LinkedIn connections and activities among our partners. We are mindful that, like any marketing channel, we must be consistent and engaged in order to continue to reap its benefits. Our individual profiles need to be well-done and strategic as well.

Here are some of our top tips to make LinkedIn work for your business:

  1. Build up to at least 500 connections and have a decent photo. No one in our company will accept a connection request from someone who does not have a photo or has an unprofessional photo unless we know him/her, in which case we will tell that person to visit a photographer!
  2. Fill out your profile Summary. We see so many people neglect this valuable space, which is right underneath your name and photo when you’re on your profile page. Think of it as a public cover letter, where you can share a bit about your history, your company’s history, how you help your clients, your specialties, and maybe even your ideas about customer service. It’s a place where you can give people a flavor of who you are and what you do.
  3. Post updates on a regular basis. Most people who create a LinkedIn profile act like they think that having a profile is enough. It’s not. LinkedIn is a lot like Facebook these days in terms of how people see and interact with you. Think strategically about the types of updates you post, however. Unless you are a cat trainer or a cat whisperer, posting photos of your cat a la Facebook is probably not going to get you the attention that will generate business. The types of updates that are valuable include company news, sharing an article that is related to your industry, customer testimonials, success stories, photos of you and your business, and positive mentions of referral partners or customers/clients. Think twice before posting anything political.
  4. Personalize your profile URL. Did you know that you can set your LinkedIn URL to be something memorable that can also be included on your business cards if you wish? For example, Michele’s LinkedIn URL is When you’re in your account, look up into the URL field – what does it show? If it has a bunch of numbers, it’s time to personalize. Here’s an article on how to do that:
  5. Upload a cover photo. Don’t leave the big area that’s right above your personal photo in default mode. Get a little bit creative and add your logo or a nice design with your logo. If you don’t have any graphic design skills, ask someone to help. This article will give you the specs on a cover photo:
  6. Spend time on your account several times a week interacting with your network. Read what others are sharing. “Like” posts that connections are sharing and make comments. You may find opportunities to engage with people in your target market that can lead to a referral for someone else or even for yourself. Do a search for key terms and see what people are saying. We have found business opportunities by doing this on a consistent basis.

The above are just some of the tips that we have found that are crucial to making the most of LinkedIn. What are your favorite tips?