WritingWhether you’re a job seeker or a recruiter, a sales representative or a CEO, an assembler or a lawyer, having a top-viewed LinkedIn profile can benefit your career. As a top 1 percent LinkedIn member with 4,678 connections, I’ve found that this position leads to a number of great things: an expanded network, more exposure, and new business. In fact, customers often call and say they found me on LinkedIn. They read my articles, learn about our Star brand, and want to do business with a respected leader.

LinkedIn also does a couple of things better than any other platform out there right now: it connects professionals in a more useful way, and it connects you more easily to new networks. If you want to be viewed as an expert in your field, LinkedIn is the way to go. Endorsements, easily digestible overviews of previous work, and integrated resumes and work examples all make LinkedIn an unparalleled tool for great connections.

Most importantly, since I started dedicating an hour a day to the the networking site (even on weekends), I’ve had a high return on investment with job seekers reaching out to me, new clients wanting to do business, networks offering speaking opportunities, media outlets offering writing gigs, and my company’s brand becoming better known. All these things equal money and exposure for the company, at no cost.

I’m not telling you these things to plug LinkedIn for its own sake. I’m telling you these things because LinkedIn has helped me, and it can help you, too. Here are my favorite strategies for getting greater on LinkedIn exposure:

1. Start Blogging

With Pulse, you’re able to post as many articles as you want. Writing expert content related to your business or role will increase your exposure, gain you followers, and help you establish yourself as an expert. If you’re not yet an expert, research and become an expert on something. If you’re searching for work, write articles on what you look for in a company and why. All of these factors will help show others why you’re the right person to connect with.

2. Share, Share and Share Some More — But Be Strategic

Share content with friends and link to your content in your email signature. Send articles to your connections to let them know that you’re thinking of them. The key is to be strategic and to know when to check in with connections with a genuine “hello.”

WineI share one post a day via status update, as well as a few articles in different groups to attract a larger audience. I also share articles with friends and acquaintances when the content is relevant to them.

You have to be selective and strategic. It’s a busy world, and not everyone wants to be bombarded by your blog or shared article. Make it worthwhile. For example, if there’s a new law in your industry, share content about it.

3. Connect and Build

One way to build your network is to add to it frequently. Who is sharing content and using LinkedIn consistently in the groups in which you participate? Connect with those people first. If you meet someone in real life who could be a good professional connection, search for them on LinkedIn and engage.

Every time I connect with someone, I send them an introductory email. This is not a sales pitch. If you’re in sales, do not send messages about your service. You’ll get a quick delete.

My introductory message goes something like this: “Hi Joe! Nice to e-meet you. I appreciate your connecting with me. If there is anything I can do to assist you, please don’t hesitate to ask. I can also be found on Twitter at @StaffingQueenN. If you’re on Twitter, follow and I’ll follow back. All the best, Nicole Smartt.” It’s direct, simple, and contains no sales pitch. It works. Try it for a month and see where it gets you.

4. Engage Once a Day if You’re Job Hunting

This will keep you top of mind. It’s also important to post relevant information to show you’re a reputable individual with a solid work ethic. For instance, if you’re looking for a position in human resources, write an article about why you got your original degree in marketing but how you’d now like to start in HR. Connect with groups and follow companies of interest.

5. Use the LinkedIn Connect App

This will help you stay in the know regarding anniversaries, birthdays, job opportunities, events, and so much more. This is my go-to app. It will update you and give you everything you need to stay connected. Use it daily.

LinkedIn has brought me sevTableeral clients — including one of my biggest. I never pitched them, and I didn’t spend money on sales advertisements. I simply used my time wisely on LinkedIn. Use yours wisely, too, and you’ll see a great return on your investment.

Invest in yourself and invest in your connections. I’m always happy to connect — and you should be, too.

This article originally appeared on BusinessCollective.

Nicole Smartt is the vice president and co-owner of Star Staffing. She was awarded the Forty Under 40 award, recognizing business leaders under the age of 40. In addition, Nicole cofounded the Petaluma Young Professionals Network, an organization dedicated to helping young professionals strive in the business world. Nicole recently created her website, www.NicoleSmartt.com, where she provides advice on workforce, careers, startups, and so much more!



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