Erin O'Harra, a LinkedIn spokesperson shares helpful tips to ensure your small business is leveraging LinkedIn to its fullest potential.

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1. Raise your profile

Using your own profile the right way can be the gateway for potential clients, employees and industry partners to contact you. 

The more complete your profile, the easier it will be for people to find you through search engines. Make sure your summary is complete and include a photo of yourself to increase your credibility. Add skills to your profile to highlight your expertise and make it easier for other users seeking certian abilities.

You can remind people who you are by keeping your profile active with regular status updates.

2. Create a company page

Increase the visibility of your business by creating a company profile. Company profiles give members an opportunity to view information about a company and should include a description, number of employees and the industry it operates in. Develop your company profile with a logo, locations and add a feed from your company blog.

3. Grow and monitor your network

Import your existing contact lists from your e-mail client to find out which of your contacts are already on LinkedIn. LinkedIn automatically recommends people you might know based on your details and existing contacts, and you should regularly scour through your existing contacts for people you might want to connect with. 

Offering to connect with a variety of people is a great idea because it shows customers you are online and gives you an edge on the competition who is probably not engaging customers in the same way.

4. Get recommendations

Recommendations are the most looked for feature when viewing a new profile and are a great way to secure new clients. 

Recommendations enhance your professional credibility and create a great impression on people reading your profile. Ensure you request LinkedIn recommendations from happy customers willing to provide testimonials. Satisfied customers are the best source of new customers.

5. Engage with your connections through LinkedIn Groups and Answers

Join a small business group to engage with like-minded people who can provide you support and answer business-specific questions. Joining groups that are related to your industry or other small business matters is also a great way to make new connections. Whether these connections are local or international, having a wide and diverse group will serve you well. 

Potential clients can find you through groups, as the group members have the ability to directly message each other, even if they aren’t directly connected.

Answer questions from connections in the 'answers section' of LinkedIn without self promotion, and ask contacts questions to get a feel for what customers and prospects want or think. People can vote for the answers they think are the best, and the week’s top experts receive a profile badge and are shown on the Answers homepage, giving you the chance to be an expert in your field.

6. Recruit the right people

Use LinkedIn’s search tools to find people from a pool of passive candidates who might be best suited to your business’ key roles. Change your status to “hiring” and post the job listing to your LinkedIn groups to attract relevant talent. A LinkedIn premium account will enable you to send direct messages to prospects with whom you are not connected.

LinkedIn recruiter, a specialized product for companies, allows you to regularly hire from and engage with a network of passive candidates.

7. Improve productivity through LinkedIn mobile

Accessing LinkedIn through smartphone apps enabling you to update your profile and search for others on LinkedIn to help recall and connect with business acquaintances at events and conferences. 

You can use the LinkedIn mobile application to pull up background details of the person you are meeting on-the-go, putting you in good stead for a great introduction and conversation points.