With the glut of social marketing choices and other electronic information sharing out there, it is tough deciding where to focus your attention sometimes. I am very proactive on my business blog, try to stay active here on Activerain, follow various local urban news forums and blogs, try to stay in touch with friends via Facebook, still have a MySpace Account for some reason, try to Twitter whenever I can.... You get the point.
But with all my internet usage, I have never really put much time into LinkedIn. I have had an account for a while now, but I only use it when someone contacts me through the site. i never bothered to try to connect with anyone on my own. My biggest fear was that other people my try to steal my clients away from me if there were posted on my link site.
I have come to terms with this issue. The biggest reason being that I found out that I can set my connections list to private. Very handy. The other thing, the one that really got me interest in using LinkedIn for my business, is that I started looking up a few competitors around town on the site. Not to steal anything from them, but see how they were using it.
The thing that really struck me as interesting is that many connected people, were using the service as a glorified reference check. They had your typical resume-styled work and education history, but they also had recommendations from clients. I had considered trying to get some testimonials from former clients to put on my website, but I have been slow to act on that because I have always felt that most testimonials you see are bogus. Since they might be faked, I always doubted people put much weight into them.
Linkedin can take care of that though. If I get a recommendation from someone, they are traceable. They have their own account, their own life; which is visible to anyone seeing my recommendations. Those could probably be faked too, but the effort to do that would be significant so the LinkedIn recommendations will probably hold much more weight.
After coming to this realization, I have decided to develop my account into my online resume to send to prospective clients. The site is quickly becomign a respected form of business communituion and networking and I think this is a another great aspect to also focus one. And who knows, I might even get some referral business out of it too.