How can you make more of LinkedIn as a platform for meeting new business clients? Emma Hayes, Business Development Co-ordinator at the Royal College of Surgeons, gives us her top five tips.

A LinkedIn page can seem like a massive undertaking from its inception and so often people are unsure what they should be doing with it or how it might benefit them. With 87% of users trusting LinkedIn as a source of information affecting decision making, here’s how I’d suggest you can and should engage with it more effectively.

1 – Keep your profile up-to-date

This might sound obvious, but so often it’s not a rule that’s followed and profiles are left festering with inaccurate information and job descriptions. Always ask the question: does my page appeal to my target audience? Ensure you always include the key words that you believe your target audience would search for on LinkedIn. If you’re an event manager at a venue, include a detailed and appealing summary of the facilities your venue offers, its location and your specific role at that venue. LinkedIn is giving advice continually about improving personal profiles, so take heed and use this to your advantage.

2 – Share updates regularly

Keep updates interesting and relevant. Think about industry-related articles you have read, ask a question of your connections, or post a link to a blog or other online comment piece to provoke discussion amongst your network. This demonstrates you are serious about being viewed as an influencer and in turn can help to increase your levels of engagement on LinkedIn.

3 – ‘People you may know’

This feature of the site identifies mutual connections you have with your existing network. See them as ‘warm leads’ who are likely to share mutual business interests and consider making an approach to connect with them. They could be anyone from former colleagues to business associates and even potential new clients.

4 – Look to see who is viewing your profile

If someone has viewed your profile, it’s a good indicator that you have shown up in searches they have conducted and they have been interested in your job role and profile. Check this regularly and take interest in those people taking the time to learn more about you. They could be potential clients, colleagues or suppliers and it may be worth considering an official connection request.

5 – Interact within LinkedIn groups

Interacting with your connections and other users within specially formed groups is probably the most important part of using LinkedIn. For event organisers, if you are finding it hard to find a venue for your next event, post it on a group’s comment page and let the venues come to you to detail how they can solve your problem or assist with your requirements.

As a venue representative, I find it is also worth commenting on all discussions that you can make a valuable contribution to, whether it is directly associated with what you do, or something that has piqued your interest. Stepping away from the hard-sell tactics and demonstrating a willingness to engage on a knowledge-led level can be a rewarding route to gaining new connections and potentially new business.

Emma HayesConnect with Emma on LinkedIn or follow @RCSvenue on Twitter.