Far from being a tool solely for sharing personal moments with family and friends, social media has grown into a platform highly important for businesses and employees alike.
A recent poll on gulfbusiness.com showed that 65 per cent of our readers prefer to use LinkedIn for business purposes above any other social media platform – Facebook came second with 24 per cent; Twitter third with nine per cent and Google+ just two per cent. 
With over 277 million members worldwide – 10 million in the MENA region – LinkedIn is a social media giant. As our poll suggests, the majority of users are on the site for business reasons, meaning your online reputation and image are critically important and could have a bearing on your future career path.
Here are some top tips from LinkedIn on how to maximise your profile.
Ensure your profile is complete and up-to-dateThe more complete and up-to-date your profile is, the easier it will be for people to find you through search engines. Customise your public profile URL and claim your piece of digital real estate. Members with complete profiles are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities through LinkedIn.
Display an appropriate photoChoose a professional, high-quality headshot of you alone. Party photos or cartoon avatars do not fit in the professional environment of LinkedIn.
Craft an informative profile headlineYour profile headline gives people a short, memorable way to understand who you are in a professional context. You could keep your current designation as your headline or use a phrase that succinctly describes your profession.
Consider the oppositeLast year, the words “responsible,” “effective” and “strategic” topped LinkedIn’s annual list of most overused words in the UAE. One of the quickest ways of deciding whether or not to select a word that may describe your professional brand is to consider the antonym. Your entire profile can show that you are responsible and effective without having to include these overused ‘buzz’ words. 
Turn your profile into a portfolioInstead of using generic words to describe your skills, upload an example of your work to your profile such as a photo, video or presentation that demonstrates your skills and experience.
Let others vouch for youAnother way of verifying the skill sets that others are also touting is to seek out endorsements or recommendations from reputable sources. When you are seeking recommendations, ask your connection to speak specifically to the skill set you are looking to emphasize and ideally tie it to an outcome they witnessed.
Use active languageRather than saying you are responsible for something, demonstrate how that responsibility delivered results. For example, you could replace “responsible for social media,” with “accomplished goal of growing social media audience for the brand tenfold under my supervision” and provide visuals to further demonstrate it.
Put your best professional foot forwardSelect the right words for specific opportunities by mirroring the language of aspirational companies. By researching companies you aspire to work with, you can discover the right tone that you want to incorporate into your profile.