This first ran on Women Grow Business, a Network Solutions blog that Shonali Burke edits and manages.

One of the most untapped social media tools is LinkedIn. Facebook, Twitter, and now Google+ are the media darlings while LinkedIn, which has been around longer than any of the tools combined, continues to grow and provide value without all the celebrity.

Sparkle and shine notwithstanding, the fact remains it is the single most valuable tool when it comes to business development.

A few weeks ago, I spoke to a Vistage Chair Group about the use of LinkedIn to help them build their groups. In three hours, we got through 21 different tips. So I distilled them into the top five that were most useful to them, for you.

  1. Link to your web properties using keywords. The default words (website, blog, etc.) can be edited to fit the words people actually search to find your business. If you don’t know which keywords to use (i.e. We use “Chicago PR firm” for Arment Dietrich), you can use Google’s free keyword tool.
  2. Activate the apps. If you don’t have a blog, don’t panic! There are several applications you can activate to move content to your LinkedIn profile. Just like anything else, the more active your profile is, the higher it ranks in the search engines.
  3. Find connections through search. I’m a Vistage member and I like to connect with other members around the world for networking and business development. By doing an advanced search and entering keywords, finding Vistage members who are second connections takes less than three seconds. Then it’s easy to sort through them and find people who you’d like to meet.
  4. Browse your connections’s connections. This is so easy and so underused. It’s the same philosophy of saying, “Gini, I’d really love to meet Shonali Burke. Can you introduce me?” I find a reason to help you make the connection, I introduce the two of you, and then the ball is quickly in your court.
  5. Set up searches for specific questions…and then answer them. You can search for questions about your industry, your product, your service, or even your competitors. You can also set up an alert so that, any time anyone asks a question about your topic of expertise, it comes to you. This allows you to stay top-of-mind and build credibility around your expertise.

By following these five easy steps (take one a week if it’s too overwhelming), you’ll grow your pipeline in just more than a month and money will begin to grow on trees. OK. Maybe not. But you will see some significant success.

If I were to pay for a webinar, this is the one it would be. Marcus Sheridan is going to teach you how to use your blog to generate leads. It’s $50, but I think it’ll be worth every penny. Register here.

Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder, CEO, and author of Spin Sucks, host of the Spin Sucks podcast, and author of Spin Sucks (the book). She is the creator of the PESO Model and has crafted a certification for it in partnership with Syracuse University. She has run and grown an agency for the past 15 years. She is co-author of Marketing in the Round, co-host of Inside PR, and co-host of The Agency Leadership podcast.

View all posts by Gini Dietrich