linkedin for businessIf you run a law firm or own a business and haven’t explored LinkedIn in a while, take another look.

LinkedIn is a business-oriented social site used for professional networking. For many, it has become a rich source of qualified leads, attracting and engaging new business for their company. This year, 43% of marketers have found a customer on LinkedIn.

Yes, the buttoned-up social site can be used to share resumes and connect with other professionals, but to get some real bottom-of-the-funnel action, check out these 5 tips for LinkedIn to grow your business.

1. Fill Out a Complete Personal and Company Page Profile

Many people underestimate the importance of filling out an entire profile, whether they are an individual professional or a business owner. Both your professional and company pages should include a thorough description of your products and services, which increases the odds that you or your company will be found in a search.

Much of your ability to be found will depend on the keywords that you use in your pages. Make sure you’re using the skills LinkedIn suggests: they automatically populate when you fill out certain fields. The benefit is that LinkedIn actually changes them based on what’s trending in the industry, keeping you funky fresh and up to date.

2. Post Status Updates in the form of Questions

LinkedIn, like Facebook and Twitter, is all about the status update these days. You can post on your own or on behalf of your company. And when you compose your status update, make sure to channel your inner Jeopardy contestant and phrase your postings in the form of a question.

Many companies have found that opening with a question does better than simply posting a link. If you’re trying to post content, think about how you can position it as a prompt for starting a conversation rather than just a blunt statement. For example: “Buy our product!” is not as clever as “Does your competition have a leg up by using our product?”

3. Target Specific Audiences

Sure, sending the same post to a gajillion people might give you high volume, but an internal LinkedIn study has shown that targeted updates can result in a 66% increase in audience engagement. Page admins can target their updates by criteria such as company size, industry, and job function.

You can target your posts by clicking the “targeted audience” box, and a box will pop up and allow you to select options. How’s that for some slick utility? Just be careful not to narrow your selection too much, as you might miss out on potential audiences.

4. Use Direct Ads for Lead Generation

You know those ads that you see on social websites all the time? Well, they actually serve a purpose and get clicked on by quite a few people, and those on LinkedIn are no exception.

LinkedIn has an advertising program that can be used to drive new prospects to your landing pages. The ads work the same way that Google paid search ads work. You write a headline and some copy and plug in a destination link. You then bid on how much you’ll pay LinkedIn every time someone clicks on the ad. So if you pay $1 for each click-through and it takes 50 clicks before you convert a customer, you’ve just shelled out 50 smackers. If your product or service is worth $500, then investing $50 to generate $500 is a great return on your investment.

5. Use it or Lose it

There’s a ton of stuff available for you to customize on LinkedIn, from large company banner space to the content feed. Make some pretty banners and customize away.

Make sure you also take advantage of the “products and services” section, a much under-utilized area of LinkedIn. This is a space where you can map out your offerings as a business and gather recommendations and reviews. According to a Wildfire survey, 83% of consumers say reviews often or sometimes impact their purchase decisions. And who doesn’t want awesome customer endorsements featured prominently on their business page to help generate leads?

You don’t have to be a Fortune 500 company to take advantage of these LinkedIn strategies. It’s never too late to start connecting with people and generating leads for your business. There are over 200 million LinkedIn accounts currently, so looking for potential customers should’t be too hard. The odds are definitely in your favor.