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Last week I decided to finally hang a picture in my office that I had purchased – dare I say it? – a couple of years ago. It had been leaning next to my desk all that time. I was even sticking Post-It notes on it.

Now I’m not the handiest man on the planet. So I was having trouble getting the picture level.

I measured carefully before screwing in the anchors, but the thing still was crooked. Then, while digging through my toolkit, I discovered that I had
one of those laser beam leveling tools!

Using that tool, I was able to hang the picture straight in less than five minutes.

So what does all this have to do with LinkedIn?

Well, you might think of LinkedIn as a social media site, but I see it more as a toolkit… with lots of handy implements for finding and connecting with potential clients.

Chances are, you already know the basics of LinkedIn. You can make connections. You can post updates. You can join groups. Blah blah blah.

But if you dig a little deeper you might, like me, find some tools you weren’t aware of that could help your business.

Here are just three examples of not-so-obvious LinkedIn tools that I find particularly useful:

1. Publications

If you scroll down a bit in your LinkedIn profile, you’ll notice that there’s a section called Publications. This is, of course, where you list things that you’ve published.

You don’t have to be a book author to fill in this section. If you’ve authored or co-authored a special report, magazine article or column, or some
other legitimately published piece, you can list it in this section.

When potential clients visit your LinkedIn profile to check you out – and they are doing just that more and more these days – seeing that you’ve published something in your field will impress the heck out of them.

2. Skills

Skills is a neat tool that’s relatively new to LinkedIn. It’s a separate search feature where you can find professionals with a particular skill-set.

Do a search for “copywriting”, for example, and you’ll be greeted with a list of professionals who have that skill.

But here’s a really cool thing. You’ll also see a list of related skills – like ghostwriting and SEO copywriting – that people are looking for, along with a chart that shows the popularity of your skill-set compared to others.

This is information you can use to refine the Skills section of your LinkedIn profile so when potential clients are looking for someone that does what you do, they’ll find YOU.

3. Company Search

LinkedIn is still primarily a network of professionals. However, more and more companies are filling out profiles as well. In fact, one of the options in the main search field is “Companies”.

Now, getting basic company information is not such a big deal. But what makes the company profiles on LinkedIn unique is that they also include the names of contacts in those companies – at least those who have a LinkedIn account.

So if you’re struggling to find out who the marketing manager is at XYZ Industries, you may be able to find his or her name listed in that company’s LinkedIn profile.

Well, there you have it. Three useful LinkedIn tools, and there are dozens of others.

I’m not suggesting that you become a power LinkedIn user, unless you want to be. But, chances are, many of your prospects have LinkedIn accounts. So you’d be a fool to ignore the tools available that will help you reach them.

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A couple of caveats to the above: I am not a spokesperson or affiliate of LinkedIn. And some LinkedIn features are limited, based on the type of account you have.