linkedin marketingWith over 300 million members, LinkedIn is currently the world’s largest and most successful professional network. With that said, the way your business is portrayed among innumerable connections is extremely important. Follow these key principles when creating your account to make sure your business is represented in the very best and professional light.

1. Be Your Business’s Best Asset. When making your profile, use a photograph of yourself rather than your logo. People want to connect with those they can trust, and their trust begins to develop once they can put a face to you and your business. Keep in mind, though, that the site is focused on the formation of business and career connections – you want to show your contacts who you are and where your passions and abilities lie, but in a strictly professional way.

2. Update Regularly. Update and share often. Recognize the top strengths of your business and reiterate them in new ways to keep your listing stimulating. This not only saves you the time of coming up with new ideas, but it reinforces your established abilities and portrays consistency – with a fresh perspective, of course. While you want to keep your page fresh and interesting, you don’t want to bombard your contacts with constant notifications of changes to your space. You may find it helpful to turn off the activity broadcasts by changing the setting to “only you” in the “select who can see your activity feed” category. You can manage this feature while in the edit mode.

3. Be Socially Active. Make connections. Join groups. Comment. Being outgoing is an essential key to being a part of the LinkedIn world. While you don’t want to be the person who adds multitudes of random people just to expand your contact list, you do want to share your information with those who you have networked with in the past or believe could have an impact on your business in the future. Aim for at least 500 connections. Joining groups allows you to introduce yourself to potential connections. Get even more involved by partaking in group discussions – it not only familiarizes your name with group members, but it also builds your credibility.

4. Refer Others, but Carefully. Referring others is what helps makes LinkedIn such a success. Not only does it prove that you are a successful networker, but it will also increase the likelihood of others referring you in return. However, it is very important to realize that those you recommend to others will be viewed as an extension of your own skills and values, regardless of whether they are or are not. You must keep in mind the image you wish to maintain for both you and your business before you go ahead and refer every acquaintance that asks you to.

5. Get Comfortable. Spend some time to get to know all the features and options available to you by LinkedIn. The more comfortable you are with the website, the more secure and confident you will be in developing and maintaining your LinkedIn personality. For example, few choose to take advantage of the ability to rearrange the content on their profiles. You can make it so that the things you deem as most important are viewed at the top, and arrange them accordingly the way you see fit. Not only does it better suit your particular style, but it also helps make you – and your business – stand out from the rest.

For more helpful tips on how to make the most of your LinkedIn profile, check out this helpful infographic.