We check out the profiles of businesses we consider working with all the time, regardless of the platform or source. More importantly, we look at the profiles of the people that provide a human face to the business.The people that ARE the business, together with the human ecosystem in which the organization operates. On LinkedIn, most people first of all check out individual LinkedIn profiles.

Those of representatives and individual voices of brands, potential vendors, customers and partners. In the end, connecting and community by finding persons of interest and sharing commonalities is still the essence of social, whather it’s marketing or social business.

Obviously, to enable this kind of networking, connecting and community work, you need to be found and participate in the first place. You can’t move beyond the stage of the faceless corporation if you don’t properly present the faces – and voices – making the business more human and reachable. It’s not so much about personal branding but rather about being part of a larger network in which sharing of content, identification of contacts and opportunities, and interaction can occur. Most companies already have a ‘home base’ on LinkedIn, a company profile page. However, your personal LinkedIn profile is essential for the mentioned reasons, because you are the company and LinkedIn is about people discovering and connecting with people.

A complete LinkedIn profile is around 40 percent more likely to get attention than an incomplete profile. A LinkedIn profile gives a complete picture of users as individuals, from their work experience and skill set, to their interests and personality traits. If your profile looks professional and complete, it will benefit both you and your business as both are linked and perceived as one.

LinkedIn profiles and the roots of community and interaction

Furthermore, by adding links to your blog posts, website or other destinations in your profile, you enable people to find more about you and your business. It also helps generate more – relevant- traffic. This effect can be even greater if you share interesting content or slideshare presentations on the platform now and then. Always look at the needs of the people you want to share it with: what do they expect, seek, like, etc.

It’s in these kinds of interactions that the roots of community marketing are planted, although just sharing content is by far not enough to participate in driving community. It takes much more effort, depending on the purpose. As LinkedIn offers the possibility to crystalize communities in Groups (you don’t build communities, you identify them and provide them with and environment that suits their needs and it’s never limited to just a platform), your personal profile matters in this regard as well.

Just make sure your profile is professional, enables connection (add those blog links and Twitter accounts…) and reflects more than just your work but also reflects your personality as everything revolves around your profile and your profile is linked to your business.

Some easy tips to optimize your personal LinkedIn profile

A. Spend some time on it

You might think that creating a profile is an easy process. If you do not put time into the information provided on your profile, it will show. Because your profile acts as a landing page for people who are browsing LinkedIn, you should make sure to add depth. Share information about your background, experience, and what makes you different.

B. Use keywords to improve findability

Search engine such as Google index LinkedIn profiles. This means that, if people are looking for a specific keyword that’s related to you or your business, you can mention it in your profile. You and your profile are an entry door to the business and community.

C. Make your LinkedIn profile more dynamic

The Web is increasingly visual and LinkedIn knows it. The slideshare app is gone but is replaced by an ever growing list of possibilities to add content of all sorts, including multimedia but, since some time now, also your publications, and more. The list of multimedia features will grow very soon as LinkedIn is adding all kinds of new features nearly each day since several months.

D. Merge online and offline contacts: six degrees of separation

Uploading all of your offline contacts into the LinkedIn platform is an easy task. One of the best built-in features the platform has to offer is the merging feature where all of the contacts you have in a contact management tool or a web-based email client. The six degrees of separation idea claims that everyone is on average approximately six steps away, by way of introduction, from any other person on Earth, so that a chain of “a friend of a friend” statements can be made, on average, to connect any two people in six steps or fewer. LinkedIn is practically an emanation of that idea. There is a very big chance that one of the people you want to connect with or know more about, are connected to someone you know. By having a full list of contacts you are sure you don’t miss out on interesting contacts.

E. Add links to your LinkedIn Profile

If you want to build more traffic consider adding more outbound links to business websites, blogs, other social networking sites, and other relevant sites. It will make your shared content rank better in the search engines, be seen by more visitors, and even look more professional to your visitors. Don’t see it as just traffic building or displaying yourself. On the contrary, ask yourself what links and content are valuable for the people you wish to connect with.

As social media is a very connected phenomenon, also make sure you link to your other social profiles. Get the basics right so you can become a participant in the broader social media, community and thus even social business context.

This blog was originally published on Social Marketing Forum and has moved as part of an integration.