Generate leads- If you’ve got something really worthwhile to offer – such as a great free report – you could use it to generate leads. Just by staying active in the LinkedIn community and offering great free information, you’ll build awareness of you and your business in your core market.
Give recommendations- By giving positive, honest, informational recommendations on LinkedIn for people with whom you have done business, they will be likely to give you a positive recommendation too.
Personal branding- Nowadays, prospects will go to LinkedIn to learn about you before they buy from you. If you have a dozen (or more) positive recommendations and your competitor has none… guess who will sign the contract?
Advertising- You can create an “ad” for your business and target only the LinkedIn members you want to reach in your preferred geographic region. It takes less than 5 minutes and you pay only for the times people click on your ad. It’s not free but it is fast, easy, targeted and you can start and stop it at any time. This is new to LinkedIn and they are still working out the kinks. But it’s worth a try.
Widgets- You can use LinkedIn widgets to integrate your other marketing efforts with your LinkedIn account. For instance, I use a widget that automatically sends a signal to my Twitter account every time I post an update – so all my entries on LinkedIn also get published as tweets. Sometimes highly influential Tweeters then “re-tweet” my tweets from LinkedIn. Neat!