Okay, I get it. LinkedIn is all starched shirt stuffy, and no one has any fun. It’s not Facebook, right? This isn’t the place for frivolity, or personality, for that matter. It’s the place where people get—stuff—done. And, all of that is true, but for some types of businesses, freelancers for instance, sharing personal moments on LinkedIn can get you a lot of mileage.

What’s your lifestyle like? Mine? I work for myself. I run a small business. I do have flexible hours and a ton of fun at my chosen career. So, why not show that? It doesn’t matter what you have. Someone else wants it too! If you have a corner office and a two-hour daily commute in your paid for BMW, there’s plenty of people who want that. If you work at home in your pj’s, well there’s a ton of folks who want that too! Letting your proverbial hair down and showing people what your life is really like is a very good personal branding thing to do. Not only that, but because it is personal and because it stands out on LinkedIn, you’ll get a ton of eyeballs on your profile from a much larger group of people. And that, my friend, will translate into more prospects, presentation, and sales.

So, what should you show, and how much should you show? Here’s where we have to remember that LinkedIn’s a business networking site. It’s not edgy like Twitter. You’ll have use some restraint. Also, according to what your profession is, you’ll need to think about what you’re showing people. You wouldn’t want your attorney showing you how he was at home in his pj’s boogie boarding with his kids, would you? But you might go for a video of your attorney and her husband walking down Broadway after a show. In other words, not everything goes, and use your head!

One of the most important metrics to keep up with on your LinkedIn profile is the number of views you’ve gotten recently. Even with a free account, LinkedIn gives you an indication of whether or not your views are growing as compared with the last reporting time. Although you can’t always make sure your views are growing, you can generally influence them to grow, which is a very important thing to do.

If you’re not getting many profile views, there are a few things you can do about it. First off, I’d tweak your headline and possibly your profile summary. You headline and your photo appear when someone’s searching for something related to your profile. People look at all the search results and based on what your picture looks like and what your headline says, they decide to take the next step and click on you. You want that to happen a lot more, not a lot less!

Another big thing you can do is to start posting more content, more status updates, more links to PowerPoint presentations via SlideShare, more YouTube videos, more native videos. More, more, more! As you post more content, you’ll greatly increase the number of ways people can find you, which will, in turn, increase your profile views.

Finally, reach out to more people on LinkedIn! Expand your network. Consistently send out connect requests. Don’t do two hundred all at one siting. LinkedIn will notice and probably shut your account down, at least temporarily. You do, however, want to send out ten or so per day. Actually, up to 50 a day is totally safe, in my experience! Reaching out to people makes them in turn go read your profile, which will over time create a lot more leads for you and your business!

I’m amazed at how many entrepreneurs, salespeople, freelancers, and business people fail to utilize the amazing power of LinkedIn for sales and lead generation. I know what happened, though. At some point in the past, everyone got it into their heads that LinkedIn is a place to find a job, or a virtual Rolodex. Sure, it’s both of those, but it’s actually so much more! LinkedIn is the world’s top business networking platform with over half a billion users. You can connect with virtually any business person, or really anyone who’s a professional of any sort, on the planet through LinkedIn. To actually start leveraging the power of LinkedIn, let’s talk about a few changes you might need to make.

First off, you need a really good head shot. Not a picture of you, your wife and your kids on your last vacation, where you cropped out everyone but you. You need a well thought through business picture. One great idea is to have the background actually be where you work. Your logo, your company’s logo in the background would look perfect.

Second, you want a headline that really grabs people’s attention. Think about this like a sales letter writer would think about it. If you’re not that great at sales, go find someone in the sales department to help you out. They’re used to thinking like this.

Third, following up on the headline, you want your profile summary to actually sell you. It’s not a resume! It’s more of a gentle sales letter. Write it in first person. Put a little of the human factor in it. Towards the bottom, tell people what they should do next. Connect with you! Reach out to you! Click on a link and get a free report! That sort of thing.

Once you get all this set up, you can start growing your connections and using LinkedIn’s great messaging feature to grow your network!

As the world of social media makes our lives much more transparent and much more public, it’s very important for businesses to change their approach to finding, selling, and servicing their customers and clients. Gone are the days when you couldn’t sell somebody something, charge them an arm and a leg, and then offer shoddy service on the back end. You’ll hear about it, not just sooner or later, but in real time on Twitter! Reputations can be smashed in a matter of a few days online. This may or may not be a good thing, but it’s a reality for today’s business world.

I sell to a lot of businesses on LinkedIn. I also help business clients of all types use LinkedIn to market their services and products. Although not the rough and tumble world that Twitter is, negative exposure on LinkedIn is to be avoided at all costs! Okay, granted it’s rare that someone “flames” you on LinkedIn. (As opposed to Twitter where it’s a second by second occurrence.) But still, your LinkedIn connections are each connected to a lot of people. Why would you want to make enemies! True, sometimes a bad customer experience can’t be helped, and sometimes customers are just plain crazy, but if you can avoid negativity, it’s very important to do so.

In the Internet marketing world, managing all of this is called reputation management, and it’s a very important part of marketing a business online where reputations can be, often unfairly, damaged rapidly! To that end, I’d challenge you to think about how you decide to accept business, persuade people to do business with you, and especially how you service your clients. This last bit is super important! Recently it’s been called onboarding, and it’s the process of making sure you client has reasonable expectations and that those expectations are perceived as met and hopefully even exceeded by your product or service.