LinkedIn is the world’s largest and most valuable professional network with over 475 million members across more than 200 countries.

For senior executives and business leaders, the social network has become a critical means of communicating both personal and business brands to the world, and a goldmine of opportunities for those who fully use their profile to reveal industry authority and showcase executive expertise.

The professional social network is evolving at a rate of knots and it can be tough to keep up with the changes. But one thing remains consistent: your personal profile is the cornerstone of your efforts on LinkedIn, and other social networking platforms, and should be leveraged to build on your business success.

Your personal profile is the cornerstone of your efforts on LinkedIn and should be fully used to communicate your brand to the world, reveal industry authority, showcase executive expertise and, ultimately, ensure business success.

So, whether you’re building a brand, looking for a new career opportunity or simply wanting to stand out and get noticed as a leading C-suite executive, follow these four easy steps to better leverage your profile and drive greater online results fast.

Give your profile a thorough spring clean

An optimised profile builds trust and makes people want to engage with you. It’s your digital business card and an ideal opportunity to strengthen your personal and professional online presence.

Everything on your profile should contribute to your overall brand, offering a unique story about who you are and the kind of work you specialise in, where you’ve come from, what your mission is (in work and in life), the pain point your target market is facing and how you can help fix it, plus any tangible successes you’ve had and results achieved.

Include multimedia to show your work in action, such as speaking engagements or roundtables, and optimise your profile with relevant keywords, particularly in the headline, to rank at the top of searches and get found by people looking for influencers and authority figures like you.

Use blogging to showcase industry know-how

While writing and publishing your own work might sound like a terrifying feat in terms of time and ability, it’s quite easy to do and is a great way to showcase your knowledge and build credibility as a thought leader or the go-to person – someone who matters in the online conversation.

By contributing useful, interesting and memorable content on a regular basis, you can spread your message far and wide, and be recognised for your subject-matter expertise.

What’s more, the blog post sits on your profile for future visitors (who could potentially become customers) to see, and is searchable both on LinkedIn and Google, giving
you a boost in search visibility, visitor traffic and relevant referral traffic when using calls to action to link back to a website, white paper or other entry into your sales funnel.

Network strategically

Connecting with people is the most effective way to build your network and develop high-quality relationships that will deliver opportunities. However, while it might be tempting to connect with as many people as possible, quality always trumps quantity when it comes to social networking.

Build your network over time and try to do it strategically, ensuring your connection requests are targeted and of value, personalising them as much as possible, and giving something of value to that potential new connection – it’s important to be generous online and offer your help, rather than make demands or give the hard sell up front.

Remain active and engaged

Getting results from LinkedIn isn’t just about establishing a powerful profile. Once your profile is complete and fully optimised, you need to get active. Social proof is evidence that you are who you say you are and that you’re a credible, knowledgeable business contact.

It’s therefore crucial to build that proof as you go about your business and grow personal relationships that could turn into leads.

The general rule of thumb for any CEO is to adopt a regular routine, whether that’s daily or weekly. Regularly share links of interest (latest news, current thinking and more) to your contacts and others in your industry, join relevant groups and actively engage in group discussions, and frequently update your profile with new endeavours and tangible achievements.

It’s key to stay top of mind with your growing network. Leverage your executive profile by keeping it up-to-date, publishing content, networking strategically, and actively engaging in conversations.

Position yourself as the acknowledged expert and trusted authority in your field, and you’ll stand out and get people talking about you — and to you.