With access to millions of valuable connections, LinkedIn is a social media powerhouse. Whether you’re looking to connect to new customers and clients, market yourself or your business, or network with your industry’s brightest and best, LinkedIn can help achieve your marketing goals.

To boost your LinkedIn marketing efforts, and help earn your business a real ROI from its social media marketing, I’ve compiled the Top 10 LinkedIn Marketing Tips!

1. Start your own group

The ultimate LinkedIn marketing strategy is also the simplest – start your own group.LinkedIn groups are thriving hubs of information, discussion and brand engagement. They bring together thousands of industry-relevant users, and make it possible to demonstrate the value of your business in an honest and beneficial way. Whilst maintaining a thriving network isn’t always easy, doing so will have massive ramifications for your business – developing authority, trust and exposure across a network of thousands of interested connections!

In fact, writing this article inspired me to start a new group, Career & Business Leadership Forum, this afternoon.

2. Endorse your connections’ top skills

Effective LinkedIn marketing is all about adding value to other users’ experiences. The quickest and simplest way to achieve this is through LinkedIn’s Skills section. By endorsing your connections, you can highlight their top skills and expertise to their own network. You lend invaluable social proof to their claims, and in turn, boost the likelihood of receiving a similar endorsement.

It’s crucial that you only recommend people that you’ve previously engaged with. If you begin endorsing people for skills that they might not have, you begin to devalue the entire Skills system.

3. Sponsor your crucial updates

Sponsored updates allow you to boost the reach of your updates, and place your adverts, discussions and job advertisements in front of the right people. Sponsored updates are highly targeted, and come with a ton of awesome metrics for you to analyze and adjust. They offer a highly-controllable and effective channel for marketing your business, and they’ll make it easy to earn a serious ROI from your LinkedIn marketing.

4. Benefit from guaranteed response InMails

InMails are one of the best features of LinkedIn’s premium memberships. These messages can be sent to any user, regardless of your connection to them; and best of all, LinkedIn will guarantee a response to each message. The number of InMails available to you increases with each tier of the professional account, and if a contact doesn’t respond to your message, you’ll be given another InMail to send. This is perfect for growing your network, and of course, connecting yourself to potential customers.

5. Connect with people using a message

When connecting to new people, many users stick with the default ‘I’d like to add you to my LinkedIn network’ message. This can actually dissuade users from connecting with you, because of how impersonal it seems. If you know a connection, prove it with your message. Reference past work you’ve done together, or highlight a specific group discussion you were both involved in.

6. Tag connections in relevant posts

In the same way that you can tag relevant people on Google Plus, Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn allows you to mention your connections in posts. If you think a specific connection could benefit from your latest share, tag them with the ‘@’ symbol, and immediately boost the exposure of your content.

7. Add real value with your feedback and comments

To help you get the most out of these groups, it’s a great idea to spend some time learning the best way to engage with your new audience.

  • Read the rules of each group. Some groups categorize posts into Promotions, Discussions and more. Try and stick to these categories to help other users engage effectively with your content.
  • Only post links if they’re beneficial and relevant to a specific discussion.
  • Don’t shy away from sharing your opinions. Hearing from a wealth of different perspectives is what provides LinkedIn with its value – so don’t be scared of controversy!

8. Join industry discussion groups

LinkedIn is a network for business professionals. As a result, the site’s groups and discussion boards are some of the most insightful, valuable and generally incredibleresources anywhere on the web.

By joining these groups, you can learn from your peers, ask questions and share your own expertise. They offer an incredible opportunity to promote your skills and connect to potential clients, customers and employees alike.

To get you started, I’ve included links to 5 of LinkedIn’s most popular and helpful marketing groups!

9. Optimize your profile

Most of us will understand the importance of website optimization – but few people appreciate the importance of profile optimization. Your LinkedIn profile is effectively a product page for your own skills and services. To get the most benefit from it, there are a few simple steps you can take to boost your LinkedIn marketing efforts:

  • Make use of LinkedIn’s new cover photo feature.
  • Include links to your website, product and service pages, and examples of your work.
  • Write a personalized bio. Include your greatest skills, successes and achievements, and don’t shy away from injecting your personality – your profile is more than just an online CV!
  • Complete every relevant aspect of your profile, from personal projects through to certifications.

10. Don’t shy away from visual content

The LinkedIn publisher lacks some of the bells and whistles of other platforms – but that doesn’t mean you should neglect visual content. The inclusion of eye-catching graphics in your blog posts and profile pages can generate up to a 94% increase in views – perfect for marketing your business, your products and services, and evenyourself.

Your LinkedIn profile is the perfect place to showcase your visual work. It’s possible to embed all manner of files, from screenshots of your latest project, through to impressive infographics. If you’re feeling especially creative, it’s even possible to include SlideShare presentations, and links to video demos of yourself (and your products) in action. As well as illustrating your impressive professional abilities, this will help your profile stand-out in an increasingly competitive network.

For more information on social media and content marketing, connect with me on LinkedIn.