With 500 million users, LinkedIn shows it is going stronger than ever with a firm grip on the business professional social network market. LinkedIn can mean growth for your business. The network is responsible for more than 80% of a businesses’ social media leads. All the other social media platforms put together only amount to 19.67% of leads.

You can use LinkedIn to research potential clients, customers, and/or their companies. 77% of users said that LinkedIn helped them research people and companies.

Ingvar Bjork|Shutterstock

Ingvar Bjork|Shutterstock

Before you start searching for others though, make sure your profile is rock solid. Here’s five tips to a searchable profile and five other LinkedIn best practices.

Keep Your Profile Updated

Outdated information on LinkedIn reflects badly on you. Three key areas to keep updated?

  1. Your Professional Headline. Think of it as a mini value proposition. It should entice people to click. Highlight your current position and company. Highlight expertise or skills. Use verbs and other active language.
  2. Location and industry.
  3. Contact information. Email address. Phone number. Twitter handle. Company website.

Keeping these three updated will help more people find you.

Use A Professional Photo

Your profile has 11 times more chances to get viewed if it has a picture. Still showing a silhouette? Time to add a picture – a professional photo. Not one from high school or a dating site. No pets or stock photo. LinkedIn is a professional platform. Your photo should be.

Consider a Background Photo

You can personalize your profile with a background photo further branding yourself. LinkedIn recommends an image (PNG, JPG, or GIF) with a resolution of 1584 x 396.

Personalize Your LinkedIn Profile URL

Your profile isn’t as professional or easy to share with the ugly combination of letters, numbers, and backslashes. Customize your public profile URL. For example, my customized URL is https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephenkoranda. LinkedIn makes it simple to keep your profile consistent with your other social profiles.

Rock the Summary

Sell yourself but keep your ego in check. Expand on your headline. Highlight your specialties, career experience, and noteworthy accolades. Optimize your profile for search. Use key terms with which you want to be associated.

Terminate Those Typos

Check and double check your profile. When you post, be on your best grammar and avoid typos at all costs.

Personalize the Invitations to Connect

When you look to connect with other professionals, instead of the boring, default, “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn” message they provide, make personal. Share where you met, someone or an interest you have in common. It will increase the odds they’ll accept your request.

Add Sections

LinkedIn lets you add sections for posts, volunteering, languages, honors and awards, patents, causes you care about, and many more. They all open your opportunities to make new connections.

Post and Engage

Share daily. And engage daily. Take the time to engage with personal posts. Join groups and engage with potential contacts in them. You are allowed to join up to 50 groups and only 16% of LinkedIn users have joined the maximum number of groups allowed. Your comments show your knowledge and expertise.

What tips do you have? Please share in the comments below.