This is a great time to make enhancements to your personal marketing and business development efforts – especially when it comes to your LinkedIn profile.

In today’s digital world, networking online is just as important as cultivating in-person connections, and LinkedIn is the most important social media channel for professionals in any field. LinkedIn enables you to nurture relationships or build your brand more easily and efficiently than ever before.

But here’s the thing – many LinkedIn users think their profile is strong as is or that they know everything there is to know about the platform, when neither is true.

In fact, only about half of all of users have a 100% complete profile, according to LinkedIn (that means thoughtfully filling out every single field and section that LinkedIn prompts you to fill out). The main reason to do this is quite compelling: it enables you to rank higher in LinkedIn’s search results.

In addition, a robust and complete profile enables you to put your best professional self forward, which will strengthen your brand and help you achieve your personal LinkedIn goals, whether it’s becoming better known as a thought leader/subject matter expert, or landing a new job or more referrals, business leads, speaking engagements, or promoting a new book. Whatever it is, consider LinkedIn your free professional branding platform.

Download the LinkedIn app to your smartphone as well because most of what you can do on LinkedIn’s desktop version can now be done on the mobile app (with the exception of some profile edits and some more advanced features such as editing certain areas and article writing on LinkedIn Publisher that we will delve into in another article), and it’s a great way to maximize your commuting time.

Once your profile is completed and you feel comfortable with how LinkedIn works, you can then move on to think about how to meaningfully engage with your connections, because what’s the point of spending all this time building a killer LinkedIn profile if you aren’t going to use the platform to build relationships?

LinkedIn is so much more today than just an online resume. It’s your digital resume and the importance of the platform cannot be understated. It is well worth the time of any professional – from the most senior executive to the most junior member of the workforce. So spend the time to learn how to build a stronger profile and how the platform works inside and out (before delving into its advanced bells and whistles). My new JD Supra article is a comprehensive guide to help you do just that. In it, I go through each section of how to build a strong LinkedIn profile and provide best practices and tips.

Read my full JD Supra article on “LinkedIn 101: How to Master Profile Basics & Build Your Professional Brand.”