For almost two years, Mark attempted to sell me life insurance. He’d call me, send me emails and we’d even meet for lunch a few times. I just wasn’t interested. He finally stopped trying. A few years later, I had a daughter. I woke up one morning thinking how much of a bad father I was because I didn’t have a life insurance plan in place in case something happened to me. Good news for Mark, right? Wrong. I had totally forgotten about Mark.

I planned on just going to Google and finding a company to sell me a plan. As usual, My ADD kicked in and I found myself popping over to LinkedIn for a moment before I started my research. I was skimming the news feed and saw an excellent Dale Carnegie Quote about worry and stress. Perfect for a guy who is already stressing about his daughter’s first date!  Guess who posted the great, inspirational quote? You got it, Mark did. I clicked on his profile and sent him a direct email that stated, “I’m finally ready to buy life insurance.”. He was able to get in front of me when I was in ‘buy mode‘ and earn my business. Not by annoying me with constant followup, but just by being active on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is void of a lot of the noise that frustrates people about Facebook and Twitter and therefore is an excellent place to garner attention from decision makers. LinkedIn can help individuals and businesses increase awareness, strengthen credibility, and stay ‘top of mind’ with clients and prospects. Below are four simple strategies to take your LinkedIn experience to the next level.

1.  Be Proud of Your Profile

If you haven’t reached 500+ connections, stop everything else you’re doing and get connected with your network. When someone visits your profile, LinkedIn only shows the number of connections up to 500. After 500, they just add the + sign. So whether you have 501 or 5001, it will still display on your profile as 500+.

Make no mistake about it—numbers matter. Almost every meeting planner I’ve spoken with has said they check out a prospect’s LinkedIn profile prior to booking them. What message do you convey with just 112 connections?

Some responses I’ve heard from planners are, ‘small,’ ‘disconnected,’ ‘out of touch,’ and ‘fly-by-night.’ Perceptions like these are not going to help your case in being hired.  So start connecting to your colleagues, customers and prospects on LinkedIn and don’t stop until you hit 500+.

2. Get Quality Recommendations from Past Clients

When it comes to recommendations, it’s quality over quantity. If you ask the right people to recommend you on LinkedIn, they will spend time crafting endorsements worthy of your exceptional performance. Recommendations matter.

No, scratch that…

Quality recommendations matter. Recommendations that only come from people who booked you and loved what you had to offer.

3. Update your profile daily…

This takes little to no time at all, but could result in significantly more opportunities. Go check out your LinkedIn profile. You’ll notice some updates from a few of your contacts. These are people who have posted an update to their profile and did it right around the time of your visit. If you’re in ‘buy mode’ for their products or services at the time of their posting, this could be the friendly reminder that earns them your business.

The same goes for your prospects. They could be in need of your services and you may have fallen off their radar for one reason or another. But during a visit to LinkedIn, they see a status update from you referencing a great article on leadership from the Harvard Business Review. Whether they read the article or not is irrelevant. The point is, you jumped back on their radar at precisely the right time and a business inquiry could result.

This strategy has become even more important with LinkedIn’s mobile app. If you don’t already have it, I’d encourage you to go download it. You’ll see that as soon as you open the app, updates from your network are the first thing that you see. This is prime real estate and you can take advantage by simply adding high-value content to your LinkedIn profile.

4. Use the Get Introduced Feature.

Simply put, this is my favorite feature in all of social media. In the world of LinkedIn, the power is not in your network, but in your network’s network. There is no reason to ever cold-call again without at least checking LinkedIn and seeing if you have a mutual connection with the person you’re trying to reach. Let’s say you want to do some sales training for ABC Company. You can go on LinkedIn and search for their company page. LinkedIn will show you employees from ABC who have a LinkedIn profile and, if there’s a #2 next to their name, that means you know someone they know. So after looking at their page, you see that Steve Smith, the sales director from ABC has a #2 next to his name. You click on his profile and see that you and he are both connected with Dan Davidson. You’ve done some work with Dan in the past, so you contact Dan to see if he’d be willing to introduce you to Steve. Dan happily obliges and sends a note to Steve telling him why he needs to take your call. You just turned a cold call into a warm lead. Powerful. Just remember, in order for this to work, you need to have a good relationship with Dan and Dan needs to have a good relationship with Steve. If either is not the case, do not request the introduction.

These four strategies will help you get more results from your LinkedIn efforts. I hope you put them to action and I look forward to hearing about your successes!