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6 Tips for Expanding Your Personal Brand on LinkedIn If your personal brand is on LinkedIn this is just the first step to unlocking all of its potential.

By Susan Gilbert

This story originally appeared on Personal Branding Blog

If your personal brand is on LinkedIn this is just the first step to unlocking all of its potential. Having a complete, and professional profile is good practice, but to be effective there are several opportunities the network has to offer that many people miss.

So what are some ways you can make the best out of your brand's LinkedIn profile? By knowing what areas to focus on, and take advantage of. You will be surprised by how many different opportunities are being offered here.

LinkedIn profiles are a virtual business card gold mine, and are commonly overlooked, as building a personal brand is all about showing the best that you have to offer. Gone are the days of the Rolodex files. It's time to tap into a powerful networking tool.

Related: 5 Ways to Get More Respect at Work

Here are several ways you can take your personal brand to the next level and get noticed by top industry players and potential leads.

1. Take advantage of notifications – See what other LinkedIn users are doing in their careers and use this feature as an opportunity to congratulate them. This can lead to a new customer or high level connection. It is also a great way to perform research on brands in your niche.

2. Connect with related brands – LinkedIn provides a great way to see others' connections, and to evaluate whether these people would be a good fit for your network. While there are many more users in various careers than just a couple of years ago, the network provides an easy way to map out who to contact based on your brand's network. Take the time to research a person or company, and watch for new opportunities in the Invitations section next to your Inbox.

3. Share valuable and expert content – Take advantage of the great content that is flowing into your news feed each day, and comment and share on articles. This will not only attract users to your brand's profile, but create meaningful conversation and increased connections.

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4. Pay attention to profile views – While many profiles are marked as private, many users will still show up on LinkedIn when they have viewed a brand's profile. It is common for these folks to contact you for an opportunity, especially after visiting several times.

5. Give out endorsements – You may have noticed others in your network endorsing your brand's skills. Think of this as a "Like,' and return the favor. It is just one more building block to take advantage of in building your network.

6. Use InMail for cold contacts – With all of the restrictions for straight emails LinkedIn has made it very easy for brands to contact potential leads with their in-house email system, InMail. The free version of the network allows for three of these per month, with unlimited in the Premium version. Some users have an open network and you will be able to contact them via InMail even after sending three prior emails. What's great about this service are the different categories to choose from such as requesting professional advice or asking to be introduced to a user in their network.

LinkedIn is a powerful social network that has unlimited potential to connect with other brands in your niche, and grow your leads. Use it to its fullest advantage to expand your personal brand.

Related: How to Negotiate for What You Want

Related Book: Ultimate Guide to LinkedIn for Business

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