An absolute, without a doubt, complete and unqualified “yes” is my answer.

Now I know what the tree-hugging hippie-tweeters will tell you about LinkedIn. It’s Facebook for suits, it’s a no-mans land, it only works for recruiters, the only reason to use it is to find a job…. All total BS.

LinkedIn is so integrated into my workday and business processes that I can’t imagine a world without it anymore. And yet just about once a week I get asked, “should I bother using LinkedIn?” by someone.

Here’s 5 reasons why I bother with LinkedIn each and every work day:

#1 CardMunch

Wouldn’t it be awesome if someone could hand you their business card, you could take a picture of it with your phone and all of their contact information including their picture would be uploaded to all of your devices without you having to do anything? It’s called CardMunch and it’s owned by and fully integrated with LinkedIn.

#2 LinkedIn Today

Wouldn’t it be great to know what is top of mind for all of you customers, competitors, co-workers and boss? LinkedIn today is my business intelligence dashboard. I check it several times a day. Why? Because in an instant-access globally connected world the ability to cut through the noise and find out what is truly important to the people I interact with on a daily basis is next to impossible. So I don’t even try… I let them sort, curate and deliver the answers to me. I also use it to become a thought leader and showcase my expertise by sharing important information, updates and recommendations for my contacts.

#4 Kevin Bacon is on LinkedIn

Ever here of the Kevin Bacon Game? You know the one where someone picks an actor and you have to link him or her to Kevin Bacon. Example: Andrew McCarthy was in St. Elmo’s Fire with Demi Moore who was in a Few Good Men with Kevin Bacon.

Kevin-Bacon-on-LinkedIn

Finding and leveraging super connectors like Kevin Bacon is the key to success in life. It really is all about who you know and who they know. What if that prospect you’ve been dying to get in front of but can’t seem to find a way to connect with is actually the hockey coach of your best friend’s kid? LinkedIn can tell you about the connection… you’ll have to do the digging about the hockey coach bit on your own though.

#5 The LinkedIn mobile app

It does many things but here’s the best real life example I can think of: I had a meeting with Sam, a senior manager with one of my customers. I had never met Sam and was meeting him for coffee in a crowded coffee shop. These are always awkward moments… trying to figure out who and where the person you’ve never met before is sitting. Luckily, I pulled out my iPad, fired up LinkedIn and looked at my calendar. The app had pulled the contact information from the meeting request (Sam’s email) and matched it with Sam’s profile on LinkedIn. Right there in my calendar was a picture of Sam and a link to all of HER profile. It’s a good idea to know who you are meeting with and not be surprised!

Conclusion

These aren’t even the core functions of LinkedIn yet each example on it’s own provides a single great tool to help you rock your network and get things done. If you’re not using LinkedIn and you’re in business you are missing out on a huge opportunity. If you are using it, are you really leveraging LinkedIn to it’s full potential? Invest some time into learning the tool, find out how others are using it, great creative on your own and I guarantee you’ll find it as invaluable as I do.