Business professionals who are overlooking LinkedIn are missing a huge opportunity to work on building their business. I admit, I overlooked it myself for many years, but recently began building a stronger network and the results have been phenomenal.

I am now connecting with people that I have not connected with for some time, have been introduced to new people that are key to my future success and likewise.

Connecting with others allows you to see who they are connected to, in most cases, and often will surprise you as to how close you really are to most everyone in the country. You may even look up celebrities and find that you are as little as one link away and in LinkedIn, that usually means that the people connected really do know each other.

LinkedIn also allows you to send direct messages to your contacts, and some people that are outside of your contacts. This is helpful if you don't have their email address, while you won't be able to access it until you become friends. You can still get your message delivered.

Networking on LinkedIn has gotten even better with message activity showing in time lines. This allows others to see what you are up to and even gives you the opportunity to post your blog articles.

If you have a website, you can increase your quality score for SEO by adding it to LinkedIn. Make sure that you select “other” when filling out website links, and then put your keywords in the Title section.

LinkedIn allows you to create special groups where there is a timeline of related messages.

Some people use the calendar function in LinkedIn to invite members to participate in events. You can select you are going to attend, are tentative or not able to attend. Business functions are able to stay on your profile showing as part of your LinkedIn “Resume”.

Out of all the social networking tools, LinkedIn is quickly becoming my favorite tool to connect to the business world. It has paid off in developing new relationships and keeping me aware of mission critical events and activities.

Best of all, LinkedIn is free for most services!