LinkedInAuditWhen LinkedIn launched back in 2003, some people were skeptical. After all, social networking was an entirely new concept and the idea of sharing personal information on the web wasn’t really embraced.

How times have changed. Today, social networking is an integral part of almost everyone’s lives and LinkedIn has firmly established itself as the leader in online business networking with more than 200 million users.

So how can small businesses utilize LinkedIn to build visibility and attract potential customers? Follow the four tips below for the best results.

Post one status update per day

First, create a LinkedIn page for your small business. Follow the tutorial and fill out all necessary forms. Once your page is live, notice the blank box under the “Activity” header. This box is for you, the business owner (or your social media-dedicated employee/consultant), to type status updates.

According to Josh Turner, founder of Linked University, these updates should be business related. Examples can include links to blog posts you’ve penned about your industry, links to industry-specific articles from other sources and one-sentence, discussion-starting questions.

“Keep these questions business focused on your industry or on a general topic like, ‘Where do you see technology taking us in the next couple years?’” says Turner. “I’m based in St. Louis, so it would be fine for me to write, ‘Go Cardinals!’ but don’t get too personal with your updates like you may on Facebook.”

Invest in newsfeed advertising

Have you ever noticed the sponsored ads in your Facebook feed and clicked on one of them because you found yourself interested? LinkedIn offers a similar adverting concept on its platform.

“Ads on newsfeeds are a really good thing for small businesses to try because they can target specific demographics,” says Turner.

Join non-obvious groups

If you are the head of an accounting firm, you may be inclined to join finance-related groups on LinkedIn, but Turner guards against the practice.

“Join the groups where your customers hang out—be it CEO, COO and CTO groups or the groups of your customers’ industries,” he recommends. “You aren’t going to get in front of new customers if you hang out in places where your competitors are.

“Once you are in a group, post valuable content no more than twice per week. You don’t want it to look like you are spamming your group.”

Dig through your connections

LinkedIn can help you find qualified referrals, you just have to look through your contacts for people who may be connected to the potential client you have in mind.

“It can be laborious to go through your contacts to find people who are connected to each other and then request an introduction, but it is absolutely worth the time,” he says. “Anything that gets great results takes more time than strategies on autopilot.”