Linkedin, the professional social networking website, is geared towards companies and industry professionals looking to make new business contacts or keep in touch with previous co-workers, affiliates, and clients. Are you actively using the platform, or lost as to where to start? 

Linkedin recently passed the 100 million users mark. The site allows members to create customizable profiles that detail employment history, business accomplishments, and other professional accolades.

Linkedin also works as a two-way job posting platform in that members can search for jobs, and companies can search on profiles. There are thousands of Linkedin groups members can join, and participate in, as a way to build and engage a professional network. Here are a few tips on how to get the most out of Linkedin.

1. Fill in your profile.
Obvious, yes. But it is the most important thing you or your company can do. Fill out your profile 100 per cent (there is a percentage meter and suggestions). Include your specialties and have a profile summary. Include links — links to your company, your company’s blog, and where appropriate your Twitter handle and other blogs. Be interesting, give other members and recruiters a reason to stay and read your profile. Members are interested in what value you offer, and filling in your profile as much as possible will show them more about you. Be sure to target your strengths and skills. Professional photo is a must (no children, pets, bar scenes or logos).

2. Update your status, at least once a week.
Keep it professional — updates can include links to your company announcements, news about projects you’re working on or links to your industry news. You can feed your company’s blog through your Linkedin, and you can pre-schedule update via HootSuite (no excuses). Mashable reported that the height of LinkedIn activity happens during the workday, peaking at around noon. Mobile usage, on the other hand, typically peaks around 8 p.m. So schedule according.

3. Linkedin etiquette
Linkedin is for connecting with people you know — people you have interacted with in the past and share similar interests with.  No random connections please.  When reaching out to new connection, be sure to include a personalized invitation. Note how you know that person, where you met, why you’d like to connect, etc. Give connections something to chew on or at least make yourself seem more interesting.

4. Leverage Linkedin groups
Linkedin Groups offer one of the best ways to engage with other professionals and be seen as a thought leader.  Linkedin allows you to join up to 50 groups and notification settings can be as little or as much as you’d like. However, we suggest you pick a niche and participate in your specialty to build influence within that group. This will enhance your credibility and generate new connections.  For more in depth Group info, see a great post by Social Media Examiner.

5. Linkedin profiles for companies
Make sure your company is listed on Linkedin. You can add your company’s Twitter stream, provide a link to your website, display contact and location information. It’s important to showcase products and services, in a clean, easy to read design. Companies can view analytics for engagement with your company listing. You can add job listings, but that is a paid option.

Got a Linkedin tip? Please share it in our comments section.