So how do you make money on LinkedIn?
By building relationships. The overall proposition of Facebook and Twitter is to build a large list of followers/friends. On LinkedIn you are building a network. You make money on LinkedIn based on the strength of your network. You determine the strength of your network based on the following formula: V+C+R+I = P. The acronym equation stands for: Visibility + Credibility + Reach + Influence equals Profitability.
Let me explain. The Referral Institute has the VCP model which consists of three distinct business stages. People need to first know who you are -- Visibility; and then they need to trust you -- Credibility. It is only when they both know you AND trust you will they feel confident in doing business directly with you and/or indirectly refer business to you, hence -- Profitability.
The R + I (Reach and Influence) parts of the formula are what truly make LinkedIn so powerful. The number of people in your network determines the reach of your network. The quality of the relationships determines your influence within your network.
So you make money on LinkedIn by building a large network of people over which you exert a lot of influence. The best way to do this is by focusing on adding value to your network. The more value you bring to your network, the more influence you will enjoy. And the more influence you enjoy, the more you will be able to turn it into financial gain.
The two best ways I know to add value to your network are to share useful information and to connect people. Your goal is to position yourself as the "go to" person in your network when anyone needs anything. When you do this, you'll be in an excellent position to monetize your LinkedIn network. The reason for this is because every time you help someone in your network, you build a new form of currency called Relationship Capital (RC). RC is based on the law of reciprocity and the fact that humans are very social beings. The more we help others, the more others will want to help us. And when the time calls for us to ask for help, we will receive it ten fold.