LinkedIn, the professional networking site often called "Facebook for business" offers a wealth of options to increase your awareness, grow your network and get introduced to that all important contact you've chasing down.

Below are 5 quick tips to get you started with LinkedIn and grow your network.

1) Build your profile and make it about you

LinkedIn is all about you, not necessarily your business. Focus on building your profile as opposed to your company's profile. Aim for 100% completion, add your website and twitter links, a picture and build your history for at least the last 10 year/5 jobs. This way when people read your profile they know you are a serious professional. It also gives you the opportunity to subtly show off your key skills and experience

 
2) Invite all your friends, family and colleagues (past and present) to connect

When you are viewing profiles who makes a bigger impact: The person with 35 contacts of which 10 have the same surname, or the one with 200+ contacts all over the world and in a different industries? Of course the latter makes a bigger impact so in order for you to have the same effect on someone viewing your profile for the first time, and to maximise your use of LinkedIn, add everyone you know. You can import contacts from Gmail, Hotmail, Outlook etc. so don’t be put off by thinking it all has to be done manually.

3) Ask for recommendations

Recommendations are one of the most important aspects to making yourself stand out and give people confidence in your abilities. Ask current previous clients, employers, colleagues to recommend you, but focus primarily on clients as their opinion counts the most. If someone does recommend you, return the favour as a thank you!

4) Join as many groups as are appropriate to you and your industry

Groups offer a great way of meeting up with like-minded people and discussing topics of interest within your industry. Focus initially on local-based groups, as this gives you the option to physically meet people you come into contact with via groups, plus they are more likely to know the person you’re trying to get in touch with.

5) Engage in active discussions

Ok so you’ve joined 5 groups, now what? Each group has its own “Discussions” page where people post topics and everyone in the group is invited to comment and share their opinion. Those who actively engage in discussions are much more likely to build meaningful relationships with those they meet on LinkedIn, and you’ll be surprised at how often people who read your comments will send you an email offering to network further with you.