I’m not going to ask if you have a LinkedIn account. I know you do. And I’m not going to regale you with all the statistics about how large LinkedIn is or how many monthly unique visitors it gets. You can get all those impressive stats here. Plus, you already understand it’s the number one social network for business professionals.

My question is a different one… why aren’t you more active on LinkedIn?

Sure you’re busy, not looking for a job, aren’t a recruiter, and have more fun on Facebook and Twitter. But if you’re a B2B marketer or (aspiring) sales leader then LinkedIn is the place to be and be seen.

Why? Here are five reasons why LinkedIn should be your “must-participate” network:

1. Create a personal brand presence.

LinkedIn has evolved into much more than an online resume. Now, it truly offers the opportunity to present yourself as an expert and thought leader in your particular field. For instance, you can include your awards, presentations, recommendations, and writing examples – not to mention photos, videos, and links to other supporting documents. So when it comes to LinkedIn stop thinking, “get a job” and start thinking, “build my personal brand”.

2. Listen to what’s happening with your target audience.

It’s sort of amazing to watch my LinkedIn feed every day and see who just got connected, changed jobs, or was promoted. I also discover what content people in my network are reading, sharing and talking about. It’s so easy I can’t imagine why every sales person and marketer isn’t doing this! It’s also a big reason why you need to prioritize connecting with all your customers and prospects… so you can add them to the list of people and companies you “listen” in on. Bottom line: these social insights are gold.

3. Stay “top of mind” with your professional network.

Your network gets to see what’s happening with you, too. That means you can stay top of mind with your network by posting and sharing updates, engaging with others, and being active in your favorite LinkedIn groups. How active should you be? I shoot for three to five updates daily, which includes posts I share, and “liking” and commenting on other people’s updates. Fifteen minutes a day and your customers and prospects will be thinking about you. No brainer, right?

4. Build an audience for your content.

Anyone that blogs, has opinions to share, or is serious about moving up the career ladder should be publishing on LinkedIn’s Pulse platform. Unlike starting your own blog from scratch, you start with a built-in audience: your professional network. From there, LinkedIn’s algorithm takes care of the heavy lifting by getting more visibility for your content with exactly the kind of people most likely to find it useful and engaging. Plus anyone can follow you as a “publisher” even if they’re not part of your network. When it comes to how to be more active on LinkedIn, it’s time to shift your thinking from “growing my network” to “building my audience”.

5. Find and connect with prospects. 

LinkedIn is great place for finding exactly the people you want to connect with and sell to. But (please) don’t start sending out unsolicited invites to prospects in the name of “social selling” until you have a complete LinkedIn profile, hundreds of connections, and some network activity. With that said, go ahead and reach out to build relationships (not spam) with those that will value getting to know you and your company. Bonus tip: first tap those that have engaged with your status updates, posts, and LinkedIn comments, since you’ve already gotten on their radar in a good way!

Just keep in mind, it’s all about getting and staying active on LinkedIn. Make it part of your daily routine and you’ll benefit from the marketing insights and social selling opportunities, for sure.

Now it’s your turn. How else have you benefited from using LinkedIn? Any other reasons you’re active on the network? Feel free to share your comments below!