Currently, there are over 200 social media websites but the one that I rate the best for generating business referrals is LinkedIn. 51% of UK members use it every day and 39% are director level or higher, which means that you are connecting with real business decision makers.

Another great thing about LinkedIn is that most facilities are free. After you’ve set up your LinkedIn account in the right way, you really only need to spend less than one hour a week maintaining it.

LinkedIn is all about building your network strategically at a deep level so that you know your contacts well and ensure that they know you.

It’s important to have a good LinkedIn profile, a Microsoft survey in 2012 concluded that people would not contact 75% of the people they look up if their profile is inappropriate. Conversely, they will contact 85% of people who match what they are looking for.

The first essential is that your personal headline is noticeable and shows your accomplishments. Similarly, your Background Summary should be interesting and show the real you; remember, people buy people. It should show how you help people increase their profits, improve their processes and save them money.  Also include a photograph, as this makes you seven times more likely to be contacted and make sure it shows you as someone who is approachable.

Build your network by sending invitations to people you know or have recently met.  This should include your customers and clients, suppliers, business introducers, colleagues and don’t forget your family and friends.

The Advanced search facility, located to the right of the normal search box, will allow you to search people using filters so you can pinpoint your ideal connections.

If you already have a LinkedIn account, one of your first steps should be to remove unknown connections. Furthermore, I believe you should only accept invitations from people that you know; otherwise you won’t be able to easily ask them for introductions to their connections.

It’s beneficial to join groups or start your own.  Most people who join groups do so within their own industry. It’s far more beneficial to join groups used by your customers and potential customers and become a leading voice in that group.  It’s also worthwhile to join groups related to your personal interests, as people like to do business with others who share their interests.

If you use LinkedIn in the ways that I have described above, you will be sure to receive quality business referrals.

By Andrew Rhodes

Andrew’s LinkedIn profile is at

You can contact Andrew directly if you want to know more about making LinkedIn work for you and your business.

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