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by Gillian
on May 23, 2013

As an online marketer, sooner or later you’re going to have to face facts. It might seem daunting, or even like a waste of time at first. But it’s more than necessary. It’s an essential part of any well-rounded social media presence and should be a priority for all types of marketing professionals. It’s LinkedIn.

But if all you’re going to do is slap together a resume and add your fraternity brothers as contacts, you will not be harnessing the true power of LinkedIn. That’s why we’ve put together this list of five rarely spoken of tips that can help you to get the most out of this particular social experience.

1. You do not have to personally know every contact you add

This may indeed go against a lot of LinkedIn advice you have heard before that encourages you only to add those people you know outside of social media, either personally or professionally. But the sheer number of people on LinkedIn means that if you limit yourself in that way, you’ll never see the site work its magic for you. That doesn’t mean sending unsolicited messages to tons of strangers. Instead, find people with common interests. One great way to do this is by connection with people who are in the same LinkedIn groups as you are. Which brings us to tip number two.

2. Use LinkedIn Groups

Whether your main focus on LinkedIn is lead generation, professional networking, or competitor research, Groups and the discussions that take place within those groups can be invaluable. But don’t just join one group, find a lot of relevant groups and join them all. You don’t have participate in all of them, but the notifications you receive may prompt you to chime in or just make you think. And remember, if you can’t find the exact group you want, you can always create one yourself. Chances are you aren’t the only one looking for an “Oregon State Dog Walker’s” group or a “Social Media Marketers Who Live on Sailboats” group. (Okay, maybe you are the only one looking for that second one).

3. Lead generation on LinkedIn works

No, it’s true. You can use LinkedIn for more than looking for jobs and connecting with former colleague. If you take advantage of the tools they offer, you can actually generate high quality leads from your LinkedIn presence. Part of this strategy should definitely involve using groups, including those of your own creation. But you can also mine LinkedIn advertising, which is highly targetable, as well as any integration between your other social media efforts and your LinkedIn profile in order to generate leads with genuine interest in what you have to offer.

4. No points for creativity

You should already have an amazing LinkedIn profile, since you know the importance of a complete LinkedIn profile. But one thing you may not have thought of, particularly if you’re the creative marketing type, is that being fancy on your LinkedIn profile, whether you are an individual or a business, can actually be a hindrance. People use LinkedIn search to find profiles and if you use words that are more cute than descriptive, it’s less likely that they will be able to search for you. You want them to find you, right? Be straightforward.

5. You can use LinkedIn offline, too (sort of).

Sure, LinkedIn is a great way to stay in touch with contacts when you’re sitting in front of a computer and you can type in their names, but what about in the real world where you actually meet people? As the saying goes, there’s an app for that. The LinkedIn CardMunch app will turn real business cards into LinkedIn contacts instantly. Get it. Use it. Watch your network grow.

It’s possible that you had heard one of two of these tips before, but putting them all to use is a great first step towards a successful and valuable LinkedIn presence.

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