We recently had this guest blog published by BrandVoice:

For professionals serious about business-to-business networking and marketing, one social media tool that’s now compulsory is LinkedIn. 2012 was a year of change for this networking website, with refreshed designs and some new tricks to help businesses make the best of it for promoting their brand and selling their products and services.

If you’re not sure where to start, or it’s not yet a part of your company’s marketing strategy, here are five LinkedIn New Year’s resolutions to add to your social media plans this year:

1) I will complete my profile
If your personal profile isn’t complete  then you simply won’t be seen as frequently in other people’s searches. There’s no excuse for leaving this one unfinished. Make sure your headline contains your marketing key words, and that your photo is professional.

2) I will participate in groups
This really is the easiest way to make new contacts on LinkedIn. You don’t have to spend much time at it either – find a handful of active groups for your market, and drop in a couple of times each week to comment (nicely!) on someone else’s posts. It’s a bonus if you publish your own posts (but avoid selling your services directly).

3) I will target key clients
If you’re really serious about lead generation, then you need to use LinkedIn’s advanced search features to research your target companies and decision makers. Get to know who the potential leads are, and use LinkedIn’s InMail to contact them, or get referred to them by your intermediate connections.

4) I will have a great company page
Even one-person firms can have company pages. It’s a great way to present your brand image and highlight your products and services, as well as providing another channel for your thought leadership. This is low-hanging fruit – so grab it!

5) I will meet people offline
The personal touch makes all the difference. Make sure all your invitations to connect are customised (don’t use the standard LinkedIn invite text) and then follow-up with a face-to-face meeting. LinkedIn will foster client relationships, but it won’t substitute for them.

Don’t worry if you can’t tackle all five – even just a couple of these will ensure 2013 is a Happy New Year for your LinkedIn marketing!

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