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LinkedIn is one of the most popular business social network sites. It focuses on the career and job side of your life; focusing heavily on professional contacts and online business-related networking.

Like any other social network, there are certain LinkedIn guidelines you should follow in order to maximize the benefits.

So what are the benefits of being on LinkedIn? I see several:

  1. You can throw away all those business cards you’ve been saving. The minute I get home from a conference, I search LinkedIn for all the people I’ve just met. Once I find them, I request a connection, reminding them of our meeting, and then, once I’ve successfully made contact, I no longer need to save their business cards. Since they are in my LinkedIn network, I can find them whenever I need to.
  2. You can grow your sphere of professional influence. Remember that old saying, “It’s not just what you know, it’s who you know?” This holds true on LinkedIn. If you can demonstrate a wide ranging professional network, your social currency increases. This is important for generating opportunities.
  3. You have the opportunity to attract new business. One of the greatest facetsĀ of social networks is that you can be out in front of people who might benefit from your services or products, but they can’t, because they don’t know of you yet. Being active on the social networks allows you to be in front of people without being too pushy. It’s a perfect pull marketing strategy.
  4. Finally, LinkedIn gives you a place to post your career qualifications and credentials, and an opportunity to be recommended by people you have worked with. This a huge boost to your professional and personal credibility. Higher credibility means its easier to gain the sale.

LinkedIn is one of the easiest and most direct business social networks. If you’re not on LinkedIn, you should be.