The first step in optimizing your LinkedIn profile so that it works for your brand or business is to complete as much of it as you can. So if you’re looking for employment now or will be in the future, this is your online resume that deserves the same attention as you would put into your paper resume. Make sure you’ve refreshed your headline. And make sure you’ve included your most recent position and headshot. LinkedIn’s resume builder tool makes this process easy.

Optimizing Your LinkedIn Profile | Complete the Steps

Step 2: Get linked-in.

Join groups, get recommended and link up any other social profiles you’re using to post status updates. If you’re posting directly through LinkedIn, status updates are great place for industry articles and updates or your own personal endeavors.

Step 3: Get recommended.

If you are searching for employment, provide references and connections from those who’ve worked with you and know your style, traits and skills. A few meaningful recommendations will go farther than several that don’t say much about your work ethic or past experience. Take a little time to ask for meaningful recommendations from those who’ve worked with you. Be careful about sending recommendation requests through LinkedIn without cueing up the recommending the party. Contact them in advance and let them know your target and what you’re looking for in their recommendation. This will give you a better response rate, and a more valuable recommendation.

Step 4: Pimp your profile.

LinkedIn becomes valuable when you find the ease of adding applications that give your profile edge in providing fresh and visually enhanced content. LinkedIn’s App Directory provides a breakdown of what it has to offer, however a few must haves right off the bat are:

WordPress – Integrate your blog, or if your site’s built in WP (kudos to you), your most recent updates, news or work to your LinkedIn page by importing WordPress into your profile. You can choose to display all posts or only those you wish by using #li or tagging them for LinkedIn.

SlideShare – SlideShare is a useful tool for sharing your presentations or work. It’s great for author/speakers and anyone who uses visual presentations. Real estate professionals often benefit from using Slideshare with their top properties. Slideshare also integrates well with your Facebook static fmbl app to play your favorite presentations on both social sites. If you’re a creative professional, use can use the Portfolio Display app to add some pizzaz.

Events – This app is useful for hunting down professional events and indicating any you’ll be attending. This provides opportunities to connect with fellow attendees in advance, as well as to showcase your upcoming busy agenda.

Tweets – LinkedIn Tweets is a great client for accessing Twitter directly from LinkedIn. You can choose to display your most recent tweets or only those you select via your selective status.  Company Buzz is another great option that shows the Twitter activity associated with your company as well as other trends and top key words.

Step 5: Become an expert with “answers”

LinkedIn Answers is a question and answer app, much like Facebook’s new “Questions” app or the older Yahoo Answers, which enables members to demonstrate and share their knowledge and create goodwill from helping others by answering questions from other members. The ‘best answer’ chosen receives points, which over time, can rank you as a topic authority for your expertise and give you a spot on the top experts leaderboard. LinkedIn Answers does have a 50 question daily cap, so if you’re interested in becoming a top expert for your profession or interest, plan on investing at least an hour a day.

So once you’ve optimized your profile, don’t be afraid to jump in and start building connections to help accomplish your business goals. With over 20 million members, LinkedIn is a valuable tool for any sized business or department, and requires little social media savvy to get going. With an optimized profile, a strategy and a little time, businesses can get connected to companies or business professionals that otherwise may have been out of reach.

Good luck, and as always, have fun out there.
The Savy Team