Stand out from the crowd via LinkedIn — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily

Facebook and Twitter may be getting all the attention, but you still need to pay attention to LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is important precisely because it is so stodgy and predictable as a business tool. Here’s how to work it:

Establish expertise. By filling out your profile, listing affiliations, gathering testimonials, taking part in groups and answering professional questions through the Q&A, you become a go-to person in your subject area.

Share content.
You won’t get anywhere through blatant self-promotion, but you will by linking to relevant posts or answering specific questions. You also can use widgets, like those from WordPress and SlideShare. People seeking content on LinkedIn are actually motivated to read it. They’re driven by a reason.

Do a little market research.
On the other side of giving information is receiving it. Leaders often collect data, demo new tools, ask for advice and look for answers. Because everybody there is business-oriented, most are willing to help out.

Stay on top of the pile. By regularly updating your status, you can link to industry events, your blog or your site. This keeps your name in front of clients and employers.

Meet business prospects. You can search by profession, region, trade group or interest. LinkedIn makes the process easier by telling you how far a new person is outside your network and who within your network is connected to them. That means if you want Phil Ash (Executive Leadership publisher) to be your friend on LinkedIn, just go to his profile and see what connections you share. Then you can ask your friend for an introduction.

Use LinkedIn groups for networking. You can enter real conversations with other leaders, again building your own knowledge, authority and brand. Give somebody information they can use and you’ll probably kick up traffic back to your own site or blog. “Building traffic by being helpful,” as they say, “is awesome.”

— Adapted from “6 Ways to Create Opportunities on LinkedIn,” Lisa Barone, Small Business Trends, smallbiztrends.com.

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