Once upon a time, LinkedIn was the alternative social network that everyone felt like they should have but no one really used. People felt like it was a great way to show off their work credentials in a way that they couldn’t on Facebook or Twitter, but few did much more with it.

Over time, the site grew into a legitimate networking and job-seeking tool. These days, everyone who is serious about their career has a polished LinkedIn profile that they use to send to hiring managers, potential business partners, and potential clients.

Businesses can also use LinkedIn to promote their brand, establish their authority, and connect with other businesses. Here are a few LinkedIn strategies for your company that can help you accomplish these goals:

Become a LinkedIn LION

Some people only connect with those that they know in real life on their LinkedIn profile. This is a mistake.

What’s the point in social networking if you are only talking to the people you already know?

LION is an acronym for LinkedIn Open Networker, and it means that you are willing to connect with anyone who sends you a request.

Sure, some people are only requesting to connect to promote their own brand, but most are interested in networking just like you. No matter what their intention, having those connections helps you to grow your audience and reach more people. You’ll be seen by people in your connection’s networks and so on.

Put Emphasis on Quality

There is an alternative to becoming a LION that doesn’t make you sacrifice its benefits: Emphasizing quality connections over quantity.

The idea is that you are still open to accepting any connection — so long as they are quality ones.

The connections don’t necessarily have to be people who you have met or who are in your industry, but they should be people who have large networks of their own, who complement what you do, who are leaders in their own field, or have something else of value to offer you.

The more quality connections you can build, the better your own network will be and the more you can get from the site.

Cut through the Noise

The larger your network, the more “noise” there will be.

Everyone has their own feed, and it will be cluttered with the posts of everyone in their network. The more those people publish, the more cluttered that feed will be.

How do you rise above it and grab the attention of the people in your network?

Just like with any other aspect of your marketing strategy, the key to your success is providing something of real value to your followers.

Write posts that entertain, that inspire, or that offer some solution, and write engaging headlines that attract their attention and show them exactly what you are offering. Then make sure you follow through on that promise. Otherwise, you’ll turn your followers away and they won’t be soon to trust you again.

Don’t be Afraid to Reach Out

A lot of people add connections on LinkedIn and then never say anything to each other again.

That’s another mistake.

Reach out to your connections from time to time, but make sure you have a good opening. Don’t just send cold pitches to your connections or they will think that you’re only interested in spamming them.

Wait until you see an opening in your feed. For example, you might see someone say that they’re getting ready to launch a new product, and you might reach out to say that you have software that can make it easier or you might say that you have a complementary product and suggest some kind of partnership.

Your message doesn’t always have to be promotional. Many connections would appreciate a small note that says you admire their new product or that compliments them on their latest video. These kinds of notes will actually spark more conversation and can lead to more long-term partnerships.

Be Active in Groups

Many people don’t know that LinkedIn actually has groups. However, the groups are a valuable tool that can help you make new connections and promote your brand.

Search the site for groups that are relevant to your niche or to your target audience and join them. Some groups are private, so you may have to do a little convincing to get in.

Once you are in, make sure you are contributing quality content. Don’t just post about your business all the time or everyone will think you’re a spammer. Instead, post comments and links that really answer the question or advance the conversation. Then, when you do have something about your business to include, people will actually pay attention and will know that your suggestion is legitimate.

LinkedIn has become a major player in social media, even though it isn’t as flashy as Facebook or Twitter. Make sure you are using it to its full advantage to increase engagement and promote your brand.