You have a Facebook page, Twitter account, active pinboards on Pinterest, and a stylish Instagram account. But do you have a LinkedIn profile? Or maybe you have a profile, but it hasn’t been updated in years. Using your personal LinkedIn profile to grow your business and your brand is just as important as the rest of your marketing efforts.

With its accelerated growth, LinkedIn is more than just a platform to find a new career path. Your personal LinkedIn profile can be used to represent your business, whether it’s a brick and mortar or completely digital.

Start by ensuring that your personal LinkedIn profile contains the most updated information, including current and past positions, headline, certifications, headshot, and education. Use keywords and phrases that are associated with your company when updating your personal LinkedIn profile to grow your business. Those keywords and phrases play a role in Search Engine Optimization. By having a completed and optimized LinkedIn profile when people research your company, they will see a real person associated with it and know that they have someone to reach out to with any questions.

Next, join relevant groups and follow industry thought leaders. From relevant magazines to leaders of Fortune 500 companies, LinkedIn offers users the chance to follow people and content that can be useful, both in terms of professional growth but also for sharing with your followers. We’ll get to your followers in a minute. But first, let’s look a bit deeper at sharing content.

LinkedIn clearly isn’t Facebook. As much as we all adore photos of cute puppies and cooing babies, leave that for your personal, non-professional accounts. Use your personal LinkedIn profile to establish your leadership position within your vertical to help position your business at the top of mind. For example, if you sell tax and accounting software, sharing relevant posts on changes affecting taxpayers would be appropriate. Or, create your own content by posting tax tips to help small businesses. Sharable, educational, and helpful content will not only give your personal brand a lift but also connect your business to your followers (and their followers).

So, what about all of these followers? There’s no shortage of people trying to connect with others to sell their product on LinkedIn. But if you’re just getting started with your personal LinkedIn profile to grow your business, start from your inner circle. Find co-workers, friends, and family on LinkedIn and connect with them. Then connect with points of contact such as vendors, salespeople, and suppliers. Make it simple and import your email address book directly into LinkedIn, and the platform will find anyone from your import who has an account. As you start to add people, LinkedIn will recommend people for you to follow as well.

Remember those groups that you joined? Not only should you be actively engaging in conversation there, but you can start to source potential leads as well. Is there anyone who is discussing a problem that needs a solution that can be provided by your product or service? Or maybe someone who works at a company that could benefit from what you have to offer? You can also look outside of groups and reach out to decision-makers from companies that you have identified as potential beneficial customers. Just input the name of the company you’re interested in into the search bar and let LinkedIn do the work for you.

These are just a few ways to start to cultivate your business’s presence by using your personal LinkedIn profile. Contact us to learn how we can strengthen both your personal and business LinkedIn profiles.