If someone gave you the opportunity to attend a meeting where thousands of your prospects were also present, you’d be silly not to take them up on the offer…right?

This opportunity is a click away.

LinkedIn is the world’s largest database of professionals; hundreds of millions of professionals waiting there, ready to be connected with and engaged.

Here are some steps recommended by social media gurus, Practice Paradox:

1. Talk to your target audience

Create or edit your company profile to immediately address the needs of your target audience. How are you going to support your contacts to improve their lives or solve their problems?

2. Get the visuals right on your profile

On social media, a picture really does paint a thousand words. LinkedIn is no exception.

It’s firstly important to get a high-quality photo uploaded: you should look professional but approachable — smile! It can be a good investment to arrange some professional photography for you and your team.

Secondly, your background image. Use this valuable real estate to instantly communicate to your audience what you do. Consider getting a customised image made that includes your main keywords. Again, invest in professionals here. Hire a designer to create your background image.

3. Get found!

Did I just mention keywords? Consider that LinkedIn is a massive database and search engine. Including your main keywords in your headline, summary, and experience section will help you get found when your prospects search through LinkedIn.

In the headline section of your profile, keywords are weighted, so it’s especially important to use them here.

4. Connect with prospects not just peers

A network made up exclusively of peers leads to concentrated industry conversation and content, that is not always relevant or appealing to your prospects.

Actively find and connect with your prospects, and engage in conversation that is of interest to them.

5. Send personalised connection requests

It is easy to push out automatic messages on LinkedIn, but more impactful to create personalised interactions. Build positive rapport from the beginning.

6. Engage: Like, comment, share, suggest & endorse

There are many ways to engage with your community: liking their posts, commenting on posts, sharing content, suggesting solutions, endorsing them for skills…

All this shows interest in your community. And, with your face appearing in their LinkedIn feeds regularly, you start to become more familiar to your connections.

7. Get really active

Be creative and proactive. Logging in once a week to respond to messages will only get you so far.

Set aside time each day to connect with new people, engage with them, and identify any opportunities for taking things further.

8. Mix up your content

Text, images, video: your status updates offer several ways of communicating with your prospects.

Video is now more important than ever — but it’s not just the format of content that matters. It’s also the mix of topics.

Try to blend personal experiences, stories and philosophies with professional posts about results you have achieved and answering FAQs.

9. Take the relationship off LinkedIn to sell

It’s important to note that LinkedIn is not a sales tool — it’s a marketing tool.

It’s a superb platform for finding, connecting with, and engaging with prospects. This generates leads and opportunities. But converting these opportunities into sales needs to be done in the traditional way: offline.

People do business with people and LinkedIn is great enabler of meaningful connections for small businesses.

We’ve been working on our own LinkedIn page and we’d love to connect with you. Find us here, and we’ll set about finding you too.