By Adam Gordon, Chief Executive at Connecting Corporates,

More than 250 million people globally are now using LinkedIn. Over 12 million people in the UK are members and nearly 90 per cent of budget holders in FTSE100 companies have LinkedIn profiles. Despite such staggering statistics, not all of these people are actually using it to maximum advantage. Creating a compelling LinkedIn profile and presenting yourself effectively online can make you look savvy and therefore generate a competitive advantage for your business.

The use of social media in business is growing fast. Your online profile will be the first place clients, targets and prospective employers will go to find out more about the person behind the name. After all, two-thirds of decision-makers have researched suppliers’ LinkedIn profiles and one-third has actually searched on LinkedIn to find expert suppliers.

Here are five top tips on how business owners can develop a LinkedIn profile that is magnetic enough to attract the people they want to connect with:

1. Structure your profile
Make sure your LinkedIn profile is structured so that you can be found quickly. Fill it with key words that your target audience would search for to find you, in particular your job titles, as LinkedIn prioritises these.

2. Strong summary
A strong summary that tells your audience who you are and what drives you is instantly engaging, and much better than a summary of your day to day tasks and responsibilities.

3. Join in
Join relevant LinkedIn Groups and make relevant contacts because the more contacts have, the more likely it is that prospects will come across your status updates and see you in their ‘People You May Know’ suggestions.

4. Content is key
Think about what collateral you could use (for example, links to videos, white papers, and thought-leadership documents) to demonstrate your expertise and knowledge. Simply take a look at your prospects on LinkedIn, as they will often tell you exactly what they’re interested in.

5. Get visible
Make sure that you are easily visible to your target audience. Sharing your content as part of your status update (and with your LinkedIn Groups) is much advised. This way, you can share your most useful industry insight with all of these people on a regular basis.

Once you whet their appetite with the above, you will find that people will want to know more. As a result, they’ll often reach out to make contact — and that is the moment to start some meaningful conversations with some very interesting prospects.

Adam Gordon is Chief Executive of Connecting Corporates, a Norman Broadbent plc company, which helps professionals connect online for business development, recruitment and strategic networking.

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