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Do you ever wonder which social network is best for B2B marketing?

Facebook and LinkedIn are two of the most popular social networking websites but they represent two opposite sides of the social networking market.

The former is designed for family and friends, while the latter hosts professional profiles. Unlike on Facebook, where profiles could be made up and are more suitable for personal networking rather than a professional one, LinkedIn encourages users to provide a highly professional look to their resume and/or profile on the networking site.

LinkedIn, a business-oriented social networking service, is the largest professional social network online today and has over 332 million professionals using the network.

LinkedIn has evolved to become one the most important and most prevalent resources for professional networking available. If you're not using LinkedIn in your prospecting process, you could be missing out on some big opportunities. Here are 4 quick tips for getting the most out of this powerful social network.

1. Maintain a robust profile

Building your credibility and your brand on LinkedIn is crucial for building useful business contacts. When you contact someone, it should be obvious who you are and what you’re all about. Most profiles on LinkedIn are just plain text -- how boring is that? You shouldn’t view your profile simply as an electronic resume but instead build a visual profile; you'll instantly stand out.

Elaborate on the areas that simply wouldn't fit on a hard copy resume, like an odd job, volunteer position, or success story. Whatever you do, don't leave the summary blank or limit it to a few bland sentences.

This is your chance to be creative and describe who you are and what you're passionate about. You’ve got seconds to make an impression, make it count.

2. Optimize profile for search rankings

Just like your website, if you want your LinkedIn to capture search traffic you have to make it SEO-friendly. Make sure to Include keywords everywhere, especially in the Summary and Experience sections, for search engine optimization (SEO) purposes.

Incorporating relevant words throughout your LinkedIn profile to describe abilities, interests and strengths makes it easier for employers to find your profile and identify whether you’re a good match for an open position.

So, decide what keywords you want to rank for and then pepper your profile with those keywords. Good places to include keywords in your LinkedIn profile: your profile title, the Summary section, Skills and Expertise section and throughout the descriptions beneath each position you list in your Experience section.

3. All recommendations or endorsements are not created equal

A recommendation is a comment written by a LinkedIn member to recognize or commend a colleague, business partner, or student. When you recommend a LinkedIn member, you are attesting to their qualifications - and people love being recommended.

However, stay away from any recommendations written by friends and family unless you have actually worked with them because having a CEO endorsement on your profile could do more for your job search than ten from your colleagues.

The best way to get recommendations on LinkedIn is to give them. Famous author and speaker Zig Ziglar says

“You can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.”

You can make a recommendation for anyone whose work you'd like to recognize like a colleague, co-worker, or student, and more than likely they will not mind giving you one back. There's no limit to the number of recommendations you can request or give.

Skill endorsements are a great way to recognize your first-degree connections' skills with one single click. Endorsements let your connections validate the strengths found on your own profile. Skill endorsements are simple and effective ways of building your professional brand and engaging your network.

Accumulating a high number of endorsements for a skill adds credibility to your profile, and shows that your professional network recognizes you have that skill.
Endorsing others is a great way to recognize your colleagues for the skills you’ve seen them demonstrate. It helps contribute to the strength of their profile, and increases the likelihood they’ll be discovered for opportunities related to the skills their connections know they possess.

Endorsing your colleagues also helps keep strong connections with the people in your network. You may find that after endorsing a colleague from the past, it’s easier to reach out to them because you’ve recently been in touch.

4. Join LinkedIn Groups

LinkedIn Groups, a subset of LinkedIn based on people with common interests on a variety of topics, focuses professional networking to groups of your peers. They are virtual meeting rooms where people with similar interests can post and hold conversations around topics they want to share or learn more about. LinkedIn Groups also provides a place for professionals in the same industry to share content, find answers, post and view jobs, make business contacts, and establish themselves as industry experts.

The benefits of LinkedIn Groups:

  • It’s free
  • It’s social
  • The members are your targeted audience and either work or are genuinely interested in your industry
  • It’s effective at driving traffic to your site
  • It’s effective at getting you noticed in industry circles

If you want to build truly influential relationships online, you have to find places where you can consistently add value, spend quality time and have engaging conversations with members of your target demographic. Once you become part of a group, do your best to contribute in a positive and professional way because simply joining a group isn't as beneficial to your search ranking as actively engaging with it.

Participating in social media is rapidly becoming a necessity for businesses. Regardless of whether you are in business, trying to put your startup on the map, new to the working world or focus mostly on non-profit work, LinkedIn is a very good networking tool to help you achieve your professional goals.

If you and your company are not well-positioned on LinkedIn, you are missing valuable opportunities to drive awareness for your products/services and ultimately grow your business. LinkedIn isn’t just for large corporations with thousands of employees.

Once you become more familiar with the way LinkedIn works and the best ways to reach out to more connections, you'll be able to build your network of professional relationships and take advantage of everything the platform has to offer.

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