The mode of personal communication has changed dramatically over the past two decades, but the basic need for humans to communicate has not. People still have a strong desire to connect with each other, said speaker Crystal Washington in addressing Expo East attendees during Monday’s sold-out Power Luncheon, titled The Future Of Social Media For Sales Professionals. “Technology doesn’t replace face-to-face [conversation], phone calls or handwritten notes,” she said, “but you and your business want to be found online. You use social media to get in the door and to stay top of mind.”

Washington’s presentation helped listeners understand some of the key steps to increase their business’s visibility with a more robust and strategic internet presence. At the top of the list is getting and maintaining a presence on LinkedIn, because “it’s the only social media network that’s all business—it ties businesspeople together,” she said. Among Washington’s suggestions to maximize a company’s presence on the social media site were to always include a headshot—professional only, not with the cat—and to add contact information—email, phone or both—in the profile. “It makes contacting you easier,” she said, adding that the rules of engagement are the same online as offline. “People need to see your face.”

In addition, using keywords or terms on LinkedIn is a vital way that others can find you or your business online. “What [which words or terms] do you want to pop up online?” she asked. What would customers type in to find your company or service? Make sure those terms or words are contained in your profile headline or somewhere within your profile.”

Another way to help prospects find you is through the number of contacts you have on LinkedIn—the more contacts you have, the more invitations you will get to add even more contacts. Third, join all the professional, industry or special interest LinkedIn groups you can. “If you share a group with someone, you’ll pop up higher in their search results as well.”

As a professional who works with organizations to help them leverage technology to increase profits and productivity, Washington stressed the importance of keeping separate Facebook profiles for business and personal use. She recommended creating a Facebook profile under a nickname for the business and posting some information to help clients know you but mostly keeping it business-related. She also strongly suggested that companies use YouTube because, like LinkedIn, it operates heavily on key words.

“If you want to get found, use LinkedIn or YouTube,” she recommended.

Given the hot topic and Washington’s expertise, the lively and interactive session sold out in advance but non-lunch tickets were sold onsite to allow any interested Expo East attendees to participate. The session was one of more than 30 education programs being offered this week during Expo East in Atlantic City.