[IMGCAP(1)]Today, visibility is critical for getting more business. Networking alone doesn’t cut it. You also need a strong presence online. LinkedIn is one of the primary places professionals and business owners go to connect and network, and over the last six months we have seen the social networking site roll out numerous new features that are getting people more engaged in conversations. This engagement is bringing direct traffic to the CPA firms’ websites and bring leveraged to create new leads and opportunities. Here are five tips on how you can get this visibility via LinkedIn.

1.    Post status updates
The days of not positing updates on LinkedIn are over. Today, your activity feed is an active and ever-expanding stream of updates. LinkedIn’s recent changes also allow people to comment, like and share your updates.  Posting regular updates will not only help you stay visible to your network, but can help you get in front of people you don’t know when others engage with your posts.

Tip: don’t spam people with services you sell. Share valuable content that you have written or others have written.

In addition to posting and updating, you can now tag other people and companies in your Linkedin posts. Simply type the name of a person or company you follow and you will see a list populate you can choose from. This will notify them you have tagged them.

2.    Give endorsements
Endorsements, which are different than recommendations, are a public affirmation of skills you have. The people endorsing you don’t necessarily have to have worked with you, like with a recommendation, but they still may be familiar with your knowledge and subject matter expertise. Endorsements, just like recommendations, help you build credibility. But, they also show up on your activity feed to your network and the individual who is endorsing you. LinkedIn also seems to view these endorsements as indicators of quality. So the more you have the higher and more frequently you tend to pop up in search results.

3.    Get recommended
Nothing beats a testimonial. These have always been a foundation of LinkedIn and they still play an important role in your visibility on LinkedIn. Just like with endorsements, the more you have, the higher your visibility will be.

In addition to your individual profile, companies should be working to get recommendations on their individual products and services too. We find that the audience of people who follow a company can be very different than with whom an individual might be connected.

4.    Become a LinkedIn thought leader
Got a unique niche or are you a well-known thought leader in a particular field? You can apply to become a thought leader on LinkedIn. They will feature what you write and people have the opportunity to follow you.

5.    Participate in group conversations
Looking for more targeted visibility? Find and participate in a group. These bring together people around a particular topic and can be a great way to build your network. Plus, as a member of a group you can connect and engage with these members for free.

Learn more about how to use LinkedIn for your business by subscribing to our newsletter or connecting with us on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/sjjohnson.

Sarah Johnson is the chief growth strategist with Inovautus Consulting, a firm that works with CPA, law and professional service firms to help them grow more effectively, and author of “Practical Ideas for Growth,” a blog dedicated to growing professional firms. Her counsel and strategies have helped move firms to the next level in their marketing and sales efforts. Connect with Sarah at 773-208-7170, sjohnson@inovautus.com, or www.linkedin.com/in/sjjohnson