Boasting over 39 million users from around the globe, LinkedIn is certainly a web site that’s worth looking at for anyone looking to do business.

Similar in some ways to other social networks like Facebook, the LinkedIn difference is that the site revolves around professionals networking, rather than your old school friends or the girl you met at a recent party.

You should start your journey by completing as much of your profile as you can. Then search for colleagues and clients using either the site search, or by importing your contact lists from software such as Outlook.

Then there’s the Answers section, where you can ask and answer questions; Jobs, which is self-explanatory, as well as Groups. There’s a group for every possible interest, including a SitePoint group, which you may wish to join. LinkedIn also have a limited amount of applications you can install.

So you’ve created a profile and linked to some of your colleagues. Now it’s time to take the next step; here are eight tips for using LinkedIn more effectively:

Need advice? You can ask your own network — or the greater LinkedIn network — over at their LinkedIn Answers area. This is a great way to interact by helping others and asking your own questions.
Promote your blog or web site. When setting up your profile, ensure you add links to your blog and company web site, and consider adding the WordPress application so that your own RSS feed appears on your profile page. Then, under Settings, create a public profile with a nice short address (you can see mine as an example).
Install the Outlook Toolbar. If you use Outlook, using this toolbar means LinkedIn can find people that you regularly email. The larger your network, the easier it is for people to find you.
Update your status regularly. Each time you update your status, it appears in the timeline of your contacts; be careful to keep it relevant though, rather than create noise for the sake of it!
Create your own company page. You can do so under the Companies tab to help others find you in searches. Use keyword-rich descriptions to increase the chance of people finding you. See the SitePoint Profile as an example.
Access the LinkedIn Learning Center. It’s a great resource for both new and established users, which explains much more about the site than I can in this limited space.
Consider listing yourself at the open networkers. This group happily accepts non-colleague requests over at https://www.toplinked.com/.
Write recommendations for others. And while you’re at it, ask other colleagues to recommend you.
Best of luck with using LinkedIn more effectively. I hope it helps you in your business!

This post first appeared as part of Issue 444 of the SitePoint Tribune, a very popular email newsletter that I was co-editor of. Thanks to SitePoint for allowing me to reproduce the work here.

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