Entrepreneur.com | By Ted Prodromou

Ten years ago, entrepreneur Reid Hoffman
had a vision for a website that could help create and foster important
business connections among professionals. He co-founded a site called LinkedIn with the tag line “Relationships matter.”

The social media giant, with 225 million members in 200 countries,
celebrated its 10th anniversary yesterday. “Our vision at LinkedIn is to
create economic opportunity for every professional in the world,” Hoffman wrote in a blog post noting the company’s anniversary.

    In honor of LinkedIn’s milestone, we’ve compiled the
    following tips to help business owners get the most out of the
    professional online network:

 

In honor of LinkedIn’s milestone, we’ve compiled the
following tips to help business owners get the most out of the
professional online network:

1. Communicate the important details of your business right away.

When filling out your company’s profile, be sure to say exactly what
your company is, who your clients are and how you help them. The idea is
to make it as quick and easy for customers to know — right up front —
what you offer and why they should contact you. And be sure that your
profile headline and photo reflect your company and project
professionalism. More: 7 Tips For Building a ‘Power Network’ on LinkedIn

2. Share interesting, engaging information.

One way to boost engagement among your connections is to get them
talking about relevant and timely news in your industry. You can do this
by sharing links to interesting stories and asking questions about the
posts you share. More: What You Can Learn From Disney, CNBC and Adobe About Creating a Great LinkedIn Page

3. Include a call to action.

An important goal with online networking is to convert connections into
paying customers. One way to do this on LinkedIn is to create a unique
“call to action.” Instead of simply filling in LinkedIn’s generic “my
website” or “my blog” links on your profile page, take the extra step
and tell visitors to click on your links. For instance, write: “Click
here to (insert your product or service here).” More: 7 Ways LinkedIn Can Drive More Traffic to Your Website

4. Create and participate in groups.

Not only can creating and managing a group of your own provide you with a
level of credibility, it can allow you to expand your network to reach
targeted and influential individuals in your field. Research topics of
interest within your industry and choose the top two or three as the
basis for your group. More: Starting a LinkedIn Group to Grow Your Network

5. Showcase your products.

Be sure to fill out the “Products and Services” section of your company
page. Not only is this your opportunity to explain what you offer in a
compelling way, individuals can recommend and share the products you
list, becoming ambassadors for your brand. More: What You Can Learn From Disney, CNBC and Adobe About Creating a Great LinkedIn Page

6. Send targeted messages.

Accessible from a LinkedIn Company Page, targeted status updates
can be an effective way for business owners to tailor the content in
their status updates to specific types of company followers. This helps
ensure the right people are reading the most relevant messages from you
at the right time. More: 5 Underutilized LinkedIn Marketing Tools

7. Encourage employees to be on LinkedIn, too.

One easy way to expand your company’s networking base is to encourage
your employees to create and actively use LinkedIn profiles of their
own. By connecting with your employees, you open your own network to
their pool of second-degree connections — who can be valuable customers
and clients you weren’t connected with before. More: 10 Mistakes Your Business Might Be Making on LinkedIn

8. Optimize your profile for search.

With hundreds of millions of people searching LinkedIn, you want your
company’s profile to stand out. When crafting your profile language, be
sure to include keywords that are related to your business and industry
to help improve the chances of your name appearing in LinkedIn’s
internal search results. Think of these keywords as the words a
potential client would type in when searching LinkedIn. More: LinkedIn SEO: How to Increase the Visibility of Your Business Profile

9. Avoid buzzwords.

If you’ve described your startup as “creative,” “effective” or
“innovative,” you might want to consider using a different adjective.
Clichés won’t help your profile stand out and might not accurately
convey your professional identity on the site. More: The 10 Most Overused Buzzwords on LinkedIn

10. Get endorsements and recommendations.

These are your customer testimonials on LinkedIn. You can ask customers
to give you written recommendations or to simply endorse your company
for its skills or expertise. It’s important to endorse others first and
avoid sending a mass email to everyone in your network asking for an
endorsement, which can be a turn off. Instead, try segmenting your
network into different lists and writing a more personal note to a
specific group. More: 3 Tips for Using LinkedIn’s New ‘Endorsements’