It’s 2017. Time to Step Up Your LinkedIn Game.

LinkedIn is now in its fourteenth year of existence. That means in human terms, it’s a teenager, likely having just entered high school. Chances are, you’ve probably been on LinkedIn for a while. You set up your profile, made some endorsements, gotten some in return. Now, you feel like you’ve taken the most important steps, you’ve imparted your wisdom, updated your job history, and its time to let LinkedIn go live its teenage life – maybe it’ll join the marching band, flunk a math test, get its heart broken by a prom date – you know, all the good stuff (Side note: this has somehow become a weird insight into my teenage experience. Sounds like I was pretty cool, right?)

Not so fast though, because your little LinkedIn still needs you. It has got so much more potential, and frankly, a lot of love to give back to you.

Whether you are an individual with your own profile or running a LinkedIn company page, here are some ways that you can take your LinkedIn presence to the next level:

Start Posting (Better) Updates

Your LinkedIn profile is not a static thing. This isn’t a phonebook, you can’t expect to just create a profile and have your picture land on people’s doorsteps. LinkedIn is a social network, so you’ve got to treat it like one.

I know, you’re already posting updates on Facebook, you’re tweeting on Twitter a dozen times a day, not to mention Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest and whatever other social media sites you’ve wrapped up into your overall online presence. But here’s the thing. You don’t need to think of new posts for LinkedIn. You can take some of the same material that you’ve put on Facebook and Twitter and use it for your LinkedIn updates. The trick is to cherry pick the best, most relevant content FOR LinkedIn. Think about who is on LinkedIn and why people spend time there, and try to tailor what posts you choose for that group – generally people with an eye toward businesses, employment and professional industries.

You should also try to use your most viewed and engaged with posts from other networks. If something did well on Twitter, it’s likely to do well on LinkedIn also.

Use LinkedIn for Blogging

That’s right, you can post more then just status updates on LinkedIn, you can write entire blog posts. In fact, more than 130,000 people publish blog posts on LinkedIn every week, and some of these posts get massive amounts of views.

Leveraging LinkedIn as a blogging platform is all about using Pulse, LinkedIn’s news feed and curation service. The goal is to get your articles to show up in LinkedIn Pulse. Fortunately, you can do this by using some basic SEO techniques that you are probably already using – mainly with highly relevant and original content, and proper deployment of keywords. Getting the LinkedIn curators to feature your post on a channel can be a big help too, as can linking to your posts from your other social media platforms.

Get Your Group On

LinkedIn isn’t just about individual profiles. Being active on LinkedIn means getting involved in some of the hundreds of thousands of groups hosted on the site. As of this writing, there are almost a million and a half groups on LinkedIn, ranging in all different types of categories of interest and industry.

Since LinkedIn groups are private and require approval to join, they are less inclined to spamming and more likely to be sources of quality content and discussion on the stated interest of the group.

Once you are approved, you can post in the group as well as reach out to and connect with the various members, expanding your network and your ability to connect with a larger audience.

Your Profile Can Still Look Better

Setting up your profile to its most complete state is an age-old, time-tested LinkedIn Pro Tip. But that doesn’t mean your profile work is done.

Your profile picture obviously needs to be a great representation of you, and key to your presence across the network. But what about your background image? What’s going on with that thing? The background image is a great way to give context and tone to your profile. So best to utilize it to its fullest, and put an image up that also reflects you well. Think of it like the context for your profile picture and your profile as a whole. A great shot of your office environment or some image related directly to your industry can be a great way to show people how they are supposed to view you.

You can also take better control over your skills and endorsements to make it look the way you want. Just because somebody has endorsed you for a skill, doesn’t mean you want that skill at the top of your list. Fortunately, LinkedIn lets you re-order these skills in whatever order you choose, and remove the ones that aren’t best suited to putting your current best foot forward.

Your summary section can also be a great place to show off the best and most recent work that you’ve been doing. Check back every now and then to keep that material fresh.

Show Yourself

When you set up your profile, you might have to set your privacy settings so that people couldn’t tell who you are. I get it. Your gut instinct is to stay anonymous when snooping around the internet. But in reality, you aren’t doing yourself any favors.

The fact that people can see who you are when you look up their profiles shouldn’t be embarrassing, it can actually be a great benefit. When you show interest in somebody else or in a company, it signals to them that you might be interested in work with them or for them at some point, and they might be encouraged to look more closely at your profile, start a conversation with you, or be more willing to read a message from you. So go ahead and take off that privacy mask and show people who you are. Need help with your LinkedIn strategy or overall social media marketing plan? Contact 10twelve today!