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With more than 380 million members, LinkedIn is the most popular social network for professionals and one of the top social networks overall. But are you using LinkedIn to its fullest potential?

So to help you learn how to use LinkedIn effectively, this post is chock full of LinkedIn tips you may be overlooking … but definitely shouldn’t.

Optimize the anchor text for the blog/website links on your LinkedIn profile

Instead of using the default anchor text links in the Websites list within your LinkedIn profile’s Contact Info section, you can choose to modify the anchor text to make those links more appealing to people who view your profile. So if you want to increase clicks on the website links you display there, change those links’ anchor text to something more attention-grabbing than the standard options LinkedIn provides.

Linkedin Board Member Connect

LinkedIn are currently trialling a new service that helps leaders of nonprofits find and connect to potential board members. It includes free upgraded access to LinkedIn, webcasts and group membership.

Take advantage of Advanced Search options

LinkedIn’s Advanced Search feature provides a much richer search experience. For example, say you want to find out if you’re connected to anyone who works at a specific company. Type the company name in the company field in Advanced Search, then filter the results by “Relationship” to see if you have any first- or second-degree connections to any employees.

Create your own industry LinkedIn Group, and join other relevant groups

Consider creating a LinkedIn Group of your very own, like HubSpot did with our popular Inbound Marketers Group. Create a group based on a relevant industry-related topic, and become a LinkedIn Group administrator. You can then use this group to establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry, grow a community of advocates, generate new marketing content ideas, and even generate new leads (more on that next)!

Follow Your Target Companies

If you’ve got specific companies on your target list — and I highly recommend that you create a list like that, if you don’t have one now — you can follow them on LinkedIn via their Company pages. That way, you’ll hear about anything new they’ve got cooking, from a new branch office opening to a new product release. Company news is exactly the kind of thing you can mention in a Pain Letter you’re writing to reach your target hiring manager.

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