The first step to maximizing your LinkedIn presence is to fully complete your profile. LinkedIn will tell you how complete your profile is, and what you can do to add to it. Then it will rate your Profile Strength on the right hand side.
Additional things you can do to beef up your profile are:
- Using a professional headshot – no photo means no activity!
- Create an interesting title with keywords people might search for.
- Add a background image (1400×425 px).
Once your profile is complete, build business relationships. LinkedIn will recommend colleagues you may already have in your network, but you can also search based on keywords and location. You have a limited number of searches each month before they ask you to upgrade to a Premium account. You can still build lots of connections without upgrading.
When you are searching for contacts to connect with, don’t simply press “Connect” in search. Visit and read their profile, and click on the “Connect” button. Take the time to search for their e-mail address to connect with them, and personalize your message. This goes a long way in building that initial relationship; if you use the default “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn” message, you won’t stand out. When you connect online, also take the relationship offline as you would with any networking practice.
Another way to stand out is with the Post feature. This is a great place to repurpose blog posts. Provide great content for your network and lead them back to your website (or other landing page with a call to action). Add an engaging image to go along with the post (700×376 px). I find that Posts have more engagement than the updates in your news feed, and they have the potential to rank in LinkedIn Pulse. Like Twitter, whether or not your connections engage with your update activity will depend on when and how often they are looking at their feeds.
To view more detailed analytics and use Sponsored posts, start a LinkedIn Company page, but I wouldn’t recommend it unless you have a company with other staff members who will also be contributing to the content.