Is your LinkedIn account mostly sitting idle? You can do so much more with it than simply look up contacts: find gigs, sell products, expand your networks, grow your business and gain free publicity.
Here are 33 ways to use LinkedIn more effectively.
1. Fill out your profile completely to earn trust.
2. Use widgets to integrate other tools, such as importing your blog entries or Twitter stream into your profile.
3. Do market research and gain knowledge with Polls.
4. Share survey and poll results with your contacts.
5. Answer questions in Questions and Answers: show expertise without a hint of self-promotion.
6. Ask questions in Questions and Answers to get a feel for what customers and prospects want or think.
7. Publish your LinkedIn URL on all your marketing collateral, including business cards, email signature, email newsletters, web sites and brochures, so prospects learn more about you.
8. Grow your network by joining industry and alumni groups related to your business.
9. Update your status examples of recent work.
10. Link your status updates with your other social media accounts.
11. Combine your social media approach: when someone asks a question in Twitter, respond in detail on LinkedIn and link to it from Twitter.
12. Use the search feature to find people by company, industry and city.
13. Start and manage a group or fan page for your product, brand or business.
14. Research your prospects before meeting or contacting them.
15. Share useful articles and resources that will be of interest to customers and prospects.
16. Don’t turn off your contacts: avoid hard-sell tactics.
17. Write honest and valuable recommendations for your contacts.
18. Request LinkedIn recommendation from happy customers willing to provide testimonials.
19. Post your presentations on your profile using a presentation application.
20. Check connections’ locations before traveling so you can meet with those in the city where you’re heading.
21. Ask your first-level contacts for introductions to their first-level contacts.
22. Interact with LinkedIn on a regular basis to reach those who may not see you on other social media sites.
23. Set up to receive LinkedIn messages in your inbox so you can respond right away.
24. Link to articles and content posted elsewhere, with a summary of why it’s valuable to add to your credibility.
25. List your newsletter subscription information and archives.
26. Find experts in your field and invite them as a guest blogger on your blog or speaker at your event.
27. Post discounts and package deals.
28. Import vCards and contacts from other applications to find more connections.
29. Export your contacts into other applications.
30. Buy a LinkedIn direct ad that only your target market will see.
31. Post job listings to find qualified talent.
32. Look for connections related to a job you want.
33. Find vendors and contractors through connections.