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Forget Facebook's Social Graph: LinkedIn Has a New Search Tool Too

April 9, 2013
URL: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/226322

The professional social network LinkedIn recently rolled out a number updates -- one being a revamp of its search tool.

The latest feature allows users to streamline search by providing results of people, companies, jobs, groups and other filters into one personalized result. People just need to type what they are looking for in the search box, and voila results galore. Prior to this move, users had to do separate searches for each filter, equating to a major headache.

As this new tool simplifies search for people, it can also help LinkedIn users increase their relevancy by appearing in various filters -- be it personal profiles or groups. That’s good news for young entrepreneurs looking to make key connections with more and more influencers, vendors and potential customers.

If you haven’t joined LinkedIn, now is the time. Check out these five tips for standing out on the social network:

1. Complete your profile.
This should be a no brainer, yet I see incomplete profiles all the time. LinkedIn isn’t like Facebook. It’s for business, and your profile is a reflection of your professionalism, as well as your experience and expertise. Complete every section thoroughly, and make sure it’s written well. It takes time at first, but it pays off in the long run.

Related: 5 Daily Habits for Effective Social Media Marketing

2. Share valuable content.
LinkedIn is like any other social network. The better the content you share, the more engagement you will get. While providing updates pertaining to articles, job postings and career advice, can make you standout, don’t overdo it. Only share information that is relevant and useful to others. Also, don’t be self promotional. You want to share value added content, not ads for your own services.

3. Join the right groups.
LinkedIn groups are a great way to meet people who you might not be connected to otherwise. Don’t only join groups associated with your industry and your local area, but also ones comprised of your target audience. While communicating in groups is a great way to network, don’t join for the wrong reason. You’re not looking to make sales in a group, but it’s great to connect with people who might buy from you at some point. An extra bonus? The more relevant groups you join, the more search results you will be featured in.

Related: Lessons about Building a Team from Zuckerberg and Facebook

4. Be a resource.
If the only time anyone hears from you is when you have something to sell them or a favor to ask, their view of you will sour fast. Reach out to people in an effort to help and connect on a genuine level. Introduce yourself through groups, and send personal messages with some thought put into them. If you see a question posted you can answer, do it.  When people see you as a resource, the benefits can be tremendous.

5. Optimize your profile for search.
LinkedIn’s search algorithm is incredibly easy to manipulate. Note that I don’t recommend keyword stuffing your profile. Instead, I highly recommend legitimately optimizing your profile for the terms you want to be associated with. Make sure your primary expertise is displayed in your headline, your job function and within your job descriptions. You can see how many times your profile has come up in search, so track this before and after your optimization efforts. If needed, keep tweaking your profile to improve the numbers.

Related: How to Launch a Successful Brand Ambassador Initiative

What else would you add for making the most of a LinkedIn profile? Please share in the comments.