Of all the major social networks, LinkedIn is a remarkably opportune, yet often overlooked site since it — by its own design — is not the cool kid on the block. It serves the specific purpose of professional networking, rather than trying to be everything to everyone. It’s meant for people who want to do business, launch new ventures, hire you, etc. It’s probably the best starting block for B2B possible. Nevertheless, it’s overshadowed by its more social (and more popular) cousins, namely Facebook and Twitter.

With all of that in mind, I’d like to go over some of the features of LinkedIn that make is so powerful. Using these features can make you a powerhouse, while your competitors are busy playing Candy Crush on Facebook and re-tweeting some awful celebrity’s latest selfie.

Grow Your Tribe

LinkedIn Groups give you the ability to create up to ten groups that can focus on the topic of your choosing. By encouraging participation, the group can become self-sustaining, or you can take the lead by driving the content. If for no other reason, Groups are powerful because they give you the ability to send an email to the entire group, regardless of the size, once a week, for free. No need for an email marketing platform, but you can grow your following, make offers and engage the tribe.

LinkedIn Group Announcements

Quick Targeting with Tags

LinkedIn allows you to add “tags” to your contacts, which if used strategically, can enable you to reach the specific segments of users through a message. So you can tag all the sales people you’re connected with, then separately, all the marketers you’re connected with, as well as business owners, etc. Grab their interest with a message laser targeted to these individuals, throw in a compelling call to action and you can see fast results due to this feature.

Give a Professional Shout Out with Mentions

LinkedIn Mentions

LinkedIn just rolled out mentions, where you can include a contact in a status update so that they’re notified (much like Facebook and the like) earlier this year. While this hasn’t seen heavy use just yet, it’s a great opportunity to give a public thanks, congrats, or other mention to a prospect, customer or colleague. This can earn brownie points and affection, if used properly, and is a subtle yet excellent addition to the social feature set that LinkedIn has been bulking up over the last year.

LinkedIn has made aggressive strides to make LinkedIn a place where users can actually spend a bit of time, interact and find out the latest, both in their world as well as in the business world. A push to be more Facebook-like only encourages users to interact more, which benefits anyone looking to leverage the network. If you’re not on LinkedIn (or spending time there,) I suggest you see what’s going on and if you can benefit.