So many people miss the main strength of LinkedIn, the fact that you can see to whom your network is connected and find routes through to the people you most want to meet.
Use LinkedIn to find mutual contacts with key prospects and then either ask for the referral through the site or simply pick up the phone and ask for an introduction.
TWO: Find answers
Your network, and the wider LinkedIn membership, may well contain the expertise and experience you need to make better decisions and overcome challenges more easily. You just need to ask.
Send questions to your network through the site or post status updates asking for advice. Join industry or interest specific groups where people with the relevant understanding or experience are likely to congregate and ask questions there.
THREE: Connect with influencers
If you know who the key influencers in your field or in your clients' fields are, then you can seek them out on LinkedIn and look to connect through mutual contacts (see step one).
Alternatively, join the most active industry groups and look to see which members are most involved, whose posts and comments most people respond to and engage with them. Engage initially through the discussions before seeking to connect once they know who you are.
FOUR: Raise your profile
Share status updates that people will want to 'like', comment on and, most importantly, share with their network. LinkedIn status updates are a great place to post business related blogs and videos.
As with the last two steps, engage in groups relevant to your industry or your clients' interests. Post helpful content and ask questions that get the debate started. Also comment on other people's discussions.
When posting in groups remember the golden rule - engage rather than broadcast. Don't just post links to your website, special offers or blog. Post content that will help people and bring them into the conversation.
FIVE:Find out what your clients and prospects are thinking and doing
Are you following your clients and prospects Company Pages? You can see new appointments, what products they are promoting and their latest news. Similarly, you can see job changes and profile updates from individuals in your network through your LinkedIn home page.
Groups again prove to be a great tool too, allowing you to see what key issues are being discussed and questions raised in clients' industries.