Everyone thinks of LinkedIn as an online resume, the social network you sign into once every few years when you're looking for a job. But it's an important place to be, even when you're not on the job hunt, so you should give it a little more attention.

In your current work, LinkedIn could help you find new clients, discover professional networking groups and keep up with colleagues who can help you grow your business.

"If you're tasked with generating new business for your company -- and if you're an entrepreneur, you definitely are," Mike Derezin, VP of LinkedIn sales solutions, told Inc., "stop thinking about your LinkedIn profile as a resume and start thinking about it as a marketing tool."

LinkedIn is a powerful tool to grow your brand, showcase your thought leadership, and connect with important people you can learn from and do business with.

Since I left Facebook a year and a half ago, LinkedIn has become my go-to site for finding content and connecting with friends and colleagues in my industry. I'm not trying to attract recruiters' attention with my profile, but I still keep it active and up-to-date so it's fresh anytime I connect with a new contact.

If you haven't logged in for a while, here are some overlooked areas of your profile you probably want to dust off -- plus some recently added features you might have missed.

Make yourself searchable.

Your summary is a good place to showcase your personality and expertise -- but, as my Inc. colleague Jackelyn Ho points out, you should also utilize its potential for search off the platform.

After meeting with the team at LinkedIn, Ho said, "I knew that LinkedIn ranked high in Google, but it didn't quite click that it was an SEO gold mine."

Since Google's E-A-T algorithm update last fall, expertise, authority and trust are all-important in search. What better platform to take advantage of these requirements than LinkedIn?

To figure out relevant keywords for your company, type your title or area of expertise into the free tool Ubersuggest. It'll show related search terms, which lets you see what people want to know about your work. Include relevant keyword phrases in your LinkedIn summary to ride the coattails of the platform's strong Google rankings.

Make deeper connections with these new features.

LinkedIn has rolled out some cool features in the past year. Stay on top of them to show your network you know what's up. Here are a few to use even when you're not searching for a job:

Kudos: Show appreciation for your colleagues in the LinkedIn mobile app by tapping the ribbon icon next to the share box (where you'd start a new post). You can give Kudos to one person or a whole team at once, and choose from 10 categories, including "team player" or "inspirational leader."

Voice messaging: Record a voice message to send to a contact in the app's messenger. This is great for collaboration, when you want to talk through an idea or offer feedback in more detail than you can portray through text. It's also useful if you tend to reach out to people on the go.

QR code: Can we all agree to stop exchanging business cards at conferences in 2019? Go green, save money and live in the digital age by connecting with people on the spot. Pull up your LinkedIn QR code from the app's search bar, and scan theirs to quickly get to their profile.

Keep your activity fresh.

"If you engage just a little bit each day, you'll be a LinkedIn superstar in no time," says fellow Inc. columnist Amy George.

The platform has just 303 million monthly active users, despite having 604 million total accounts, according to Hootsuite's 2019 Global State of Digital report. Compare that with Facebook's total user base of 2.2 billion and 2.1 billion active users -- LinkedIn users are especially inert.

Consistent activity will easily help you stand out.

If you don't want to spend time on LinkedIn every day, automate your presence there. I use Buffer to schedule posts to LinkedIn and other platforms -- and not just for content marketing. It's useful for sharing articles, but I also Buffer conversational posts to keep my activity consistent, instead of posting a ton over a few days when I'm particularly inspired.

Published on: Sep 5, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.