LinkedIn is the largest professional network with more than 433 million members in 200 countries and territories around the globe. LinkedIn attracts two new users to its site every second. Not participating in this massive (and mostly free) networking tool would be doing your brand a major disservice. So, how can you utilize LinkedIn to build your professional network and highlight your company brand?

Maximize your personal and business profiles. Build your visibility through a thoughtful description of your brand, your previous employment, your industry background, and skills. Users with complete profiles are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities through LinkedIn. Be sure to add a friendly, engaging photo that is appropriate for your industry. A basic profile is free to create and use, but premium content options, which can enhance the visibility of your LinkedIn presence, are also available for a fee.

Connections matter. Customize your requests to potential connections. People always appreciate the added personal touch. Start adding connections by finding colleagues, classmates, or members of industry groups or associations that you belong to. Industry groups offer value and potential networking options.

Using the Advanced Search function makes finding connections easier. You can use it to search for prospects, referral partners, local business owners, or people in a particular company. You can use keywords, job titles, search by zip code, and filter for industries.

Raise your brand awareness. You can (and should) create a company page on LinkedIn to get found and expand your customer base. In addition, it’s the ideal place to promote career opportunities and educate potential customers on your products and services. See the LinkedIn help feature for brief articles, Q&A, and webinars for additional assistance in getting started with your personal or company page. Follow Access/Information’s LinkedIn page for additional strategic insight and the latest industry trends.