Article first published as Are You LinkedIn? on Technorati.

LinkedIn means businessAfter eight years of being the social media hot spot for business professionals, LinkedIn reached its 100 million user mark. However, there are many service professionals who still don’t get LinkedIn’s full value.

Pay to Play

Unlike Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn offers a more corporate, professional feel. There is a subscriber option that gives users more access and more networking capabilities. Overall users are able to build a professional network of current and past professional relationships. Before sending a “connect” request, LinkedIn asks how you know this person. This is unique in that it’s not a herding contest of who can get the most “connections” but a legitimate source to grow quality relationships with people who you can help, or who can help you.

LinkedIn comprises five major features which are similar to that of Facebook:

  1. Events
  2. Applications
  3. Search
  4. Groups
  5. Answers

Answers are a unique feature that you can use to demonstrate your expertise in your industry by providing good and useful advice.

It’s Not Just Who You Know, It’s Who They Know

LinkedIn shows you your network and degrees of connection, as well as how many people you are potentially connected to and how you are connected to them. This is useful because you can ask to be introduced to key players in your industry by someone you know that also knows your desired contact.

Another unique feature of LinkedIn is the ability to give and receive recommendations. Send a link that says “will you write me a recommendation on LinkedIn?” to former clients, employers and co-workers. This recommendation is listed on your profile page and works as a great credibility booster.

Using LinkedIn for business may make more sense for most professionals than having a Facebook page. However, as with any marketing tactic, there needs to be clearly defined objectives. LinkedIn can serve as a powerful self-promotion and business promotion tool, and with 100 million users shouldn’t be dismissed as a more viable social media option for your business.

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