May 23, 2011 | last updated March 25, 2012 10:38 am

10 Things I Know About... LinkedIn

10. BASICS WORK

The free, basic LinkedIn account is a great starting place. Maximize this level before paying for enhanced services.

9. It Is Networking

All the rules of traditional networking apply. You need to build relationships. You cannot barge into conversations, ask for recommendations from people who do not know you well, or link to strangers to build your connections.

8. OPTIMIZE

Make the most of LinkedIn's powerful search feature — use your keywords throughout your profile and company page. Include them in your summary, specialties, web links, company description and job title.

7. FIND/SHARE EVENTS

Click "Events" from the "More" menu to find events your connections are attending, to share events you're attending or hosting and to search for relevant events.

6. COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION

Groups are a great way to listen to conversations and increase visibility. Choose three to five groups and add value with your input. Answer questions, share insights, support members, but no selling!

5. BE A THOUGHT LEADER

LinkedIn Answers lets you answer specific challenges and questions posed by members. Select "Answers" in the search drop down and enter a phrase related to your expertise.

4. SUPPORT SALES

Before a sales call, research the company or person you are meeting. Do any of your connections have links to people in that company? They may be willing to share their insights before your meeting.

3. RESEARCH TOOL

LinkedIn is full of information. Search on a company or industry you are targeting and see which connections can introduce you to someone. Join a group in your industry and "listen."

2. PROMOTE

Add LinkedIn badges to your website, blog and newsletter. Add your LinkedIn Public Profile URL to your business cards (you have customized it to use your name, right?).

1. NO TIME TO SIT BACK

We just scratched the surface. Set time aside regularly to update your profile, ask for recommendations, add connections and explore features. Also consider who you can help by making connections and writing recommendations.

Susan LaPlante-Dube is a principal with Precision Marketing Group in Framingham. She can be reached at susan@precisionmarketinggroup.com.

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