Whether you’re a CEO or a one-man business, LinkedIn opens up a whole world of new business contacts, including potential employers, employees and partners. At a time when real-world networking has all but shut down, now is the best time to leverage LinkedIn to professionally promote yourself and your business without boundaries.

Just like in-person networking, the secret to LinkedIn is that every interaction is a two-way conversation. Don’t view LinkedIn as a ‘dump and run’ repository for your resumé, promotional posts or latest press releases. It simply doesn’t work that way. Having said that, LinkedIn is generally less demanding of your undivided attention than say an ever-curious Facebook or chattering twitter feed. So it’s ideal for busy business people who want to connect and network and promote their own personal brand in a professional virtual environment.

Here are our top ten tips on how to make LinkedIn work for you as a person and as a business owner.

Give people the big picture

When people view your profile, it’s not your headshot that grabs their attention, it’s the large picture behind it. Make it vibrant, memorable and relevant, and perhaps illustrate the context of what you are all about. Avoid putting text in your image, as it will resize according to which device it’s viewed on, and in many cases will be illegible!

Job title or engaging headline?

Many folk just out their job title into the Headline box in the Intro section. What a waste! Use this section to say more about you, and what makes you unique. Your current job title should go into the “Current Position” field and your current employer’s logo and name will appear anyway.

Improve your About / Summary

Your Summary is your About section (LinkedIn help pages refer to both). Many people summarise their job in this section, or their employer’s company. Instead, write your story and what skills and experiences you bring to any job. As LinkedIn themselves say “This is your most personal piece of content marketing – and it’s worth the effort.”

Featured = your own business!

This is a great place to profile your business as it is essentially one big link to your website with text attached. We are constantly amazed how few business owners use this feature.

Activity; your weekly posts and shares

This section tracks your activity in LinkedIn – so what does it say if it’s empty or still talking about Christmas holidays? Aim to post or share something regularly, say once a week, and make yourself look interesting and, perhaps more importantly, interested. Share items from your Contacts, give them a shout-out using tags, and watch the number of views rise.

Long-form posts: fuel for discussions

Long-form posts can help establish you as a thought-leader in your area of expertise, and give your contacts something more substantial to comment on. Write your post first in Word or similar, check it, then copy and paste into the “Start a post”. If it gets really long, turn it into an article using the “Write an article” option. All your articles are linked to your Profile.

Add more Skills

One of the top benefits of listing your skills is that your contacts can endorse them. It’s the ultimate peer recognition system, allowing those who know you and your work to say “Yes, s/he is good at this”. Start with your core skills and work towards the more unexpected/unusual as your contacts start to respond. After a time, you may find that you’ve got more endorsements for a lesser skill because you have more contacts who know you for that skill. Simply move your more desirable skills to the top three slots, and let the rest stay under the “Show more” section.

Be recommended

Reach out to specific contacts you may have and ask for a personal recommendation. Don’t be shy but do pick people you ask carefully, to ensure the people you ask can recommend you for the skills and abilities you have listed on your profile.

Are you accomplished?

The Accomplishments section is probably the most underused section by individual and business owners, especially the Projects and Publications categories.

Projects don’t have to be big contract; they should simply demonstrate your experience of a variety of challenges, issues, events and client contracts. People love to see real life examples, especially potential employers.

Equally, Publications don’t have to be actual books or articles for established journals – although these are of course really good to include. Publications can be white papers, presentations, case studies and reports that you have created yourself. If you can save your document as a smart PDF to view online at issuu.com (for example) or download from a URL, you can list it.

Be LinkedIn it to win it

Be active, friendly, helpful, engaging. Join groups, start conversations and reach out to people. In these days of COVID-19, everyone is getting used to digital

contact rather than face to face, and an approach through LinkedIn is both digital and professional.

We’re on LinkedIn, of course!

Find us at LinkedIn