LinkedIn is a social media platform geared to professionals, focusing mostly on B2B connections. It’s the place where real networking happens and real leads are generated. Setting up a bare-bones personal profile and connecting with other professionals is the way to get started. But in order to leverage LinkedIn to work for you in the most compelling way, it takes a little more time and effort. Take LinkedIn to the next level by acting on these suggestions.

1. Optimize Your Profile

Your LinkedIn profile is sort of an interactive resume — one that allows you to show your unique identity and personal flair. Present your skills and work experience in line with best practices. Include articles, status updates, recommendations from colleagues, publications, projects, causes and volunteerism, courses, patents, certifications, languages, and awards. Many of these items are interactive, providing a chance to demonstrate how you’d behave on the job or in communication with colleagues. Be sure that the photographs you use are professional, captivating, and present the image you intend to portray.

2. Build Your Company Page

Company pages are important and all too rarely used to enhance a business’s image. It’s an opportunity to tell the story of your company, share regular updates with followers, recruit new employees, and showcase your services and products. As you build out the page, keep your graphic identity in mind. Create a banner image and profile photo that is consistent with your brand. Depending on your budget, you can pay for promoted status updates and post open job positions. As you’re finishing up creating your profile(s), customize your URL so that it’s not a collection of strange letters; use your personal or company name.

3. Make LinkedIn a Marketing Tool 

Keep your connections current, reaching out as appropriate soon after meeting. Establish yourself as an expert in your niche by posting high-quality status updates, and be interactive in a friendly, dignified way. LinkedIn is also useful for warm calling sales prospects. You’re likely just a few degrees of separation from your prospect and can ask for an introduction.

4. Join the Right Communities

Community features give LinkedIn users an opportunity to collaborate and share ideas. Connect with influencers and thought leaders who are related to your line of work. LinkedIn Groups give you a chance to interact with people who share your expertise and interests.

Having a high-quality LinkedIn profile is well worth the effort. Try these tips to stand out.