LinkedIn is an incredibly powerful tool for business. The key is learning how to utilize it for your own purposes. The first step is completing your profile. Here are some pointers:
First and foremost update your profile to include as much information as you think is appropriate. What I mean by that is, LinkedIn, like Facebook, wants to know as much about you as possible but you should only share what you want others, strangers, to know about you. On Facebook you can pick and choose who is going to see your profile, on LinkedIn everyone who clicks to your profile will see it (you can make it private and hide your feed, but that's for another post). So what do you want others to know and to see?
There are many sections of your profile to complete, the more you fill in, the easier it is for people to find you through various searches. Consider previous jobs, volunteer activities carefully. In the descriptions be sure to include the expertise you want to be known for, utilizing those terms several times in several different locations in your profile is what brings you up higher in the search results when people are looking for your area of expertise.
Changing your "title" in LinkedIn can help with search results as well. Put yourself in the shoes of who you want to find you. What terms would they search on? That's what should be in your title. See below. Before changing my title from President of GMG Public Relations, I was buried on page 3 or more when searching on public relations consultant. Changing my title now enables me to come up on page 1 on LinkedIn. And unlike Google where changes in SEO can take 3 months to adjust, LinkedIn changes happen immediately!
Upload presentations, slideshares, documents, brochures, etc. The more complete your profile, the more opportunities for connections. AND invest in a good photo! A selfie in general is NOT good enough! Having no photo is worse, people want to see you to get a sense about you, no photo, equals very few new connections.
If you already check LinkedIn a few times a week, that's great! Explore other things within it by clicking around. If you don't, then commit 20 minutes 2-3 times each week to get to know it. It's a powerful free tool that you should be taking advantage of. More LinkedIn tips in the near future!