A New Year, a new social network! This month’s Social Media Corner covers LinkedIn – the most business-focused social network of them all.
By Samantha Scott, APR

Started in 2002, LinkedIn has been around for quite some time. According to their site, “As of November 3, 2011, LinkedIn operates the world’s largest professional network on the Internet with more than 135 million members in over 200 countries and territories.” Sounds like something you should be a part of, right?
Even The New York Times recognizes it as a “specialized networking site”. What started as a virtual resume, LinkedIn has grown into a source for building connections through degrees of reach. I know you, you know Joe, Joe knows Sally so I can connect to her. But wait – there’s more.
LinkedIn encourages you to complete your profile with your work history, education and other background details, but you can also request “Recommendations” from former/current colleagues, join groups to comment or create discussion topics and create company pages. Recently, they’ve also made it possible for you to post updates on company pages, making them far more useful. Another new addition is “Skills”. You can now select from a vast list the skills you have, for example: Public Relations, Strategic Communications Council, Social Media Marketing or nearly anything else that would apply. 
The last neat tool we’ll cover is the ability to add apps to your profile. Consider them enhancements. These can connect your other social networks, such as “Tweets,” display recent work – “SlideShare,” show which events you’re going to, where you’re traveling to – “TripIt,” or even auto share your blog posts with the WordPress app.
Overall, LinkedIn is a very valuable social media channel if you are looking to connect with other professionals and expand your network. There are many success stories of people connecting and making new business deals. Moreover, it’s just a good way to represent yourself and your business in a digital professional atmosphere.
If you want to connect with the chapter on Twitter visit http://www.linkedin.com/groups?home=&gid=1784581&trk=anet_ug_hm. To connect with the author, Samantha Scott, visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/pushingtheenvelope