If you do these few things regularly as part of your daily routine, you would already be getting a huge value add from LinkedIn.
1. Read LinkedIn Today. One of LinkedIn's best features is LinkedIn Today. It's a personalized newsfeed with articles that are relevant to your network. As you read those articles, look for opportunities to share information with your contacts or comment on articles they have shared. This is a great way to stay top-of-mind with your connections.
2. Check your LinkedIn inbox. Everyday, check your LinkedIn inbox for new connection invitations or messages. You can set your preferences to get immediate notifications so you'll know when you have invitations or messages waiting for you. This is a great opportunity to engage with people you may not have thought of otherwise.
3. Browse your network’s connections. Go through your network's connections for an introduction opportunity. Look at that person’s profile so you can make a good case as to why you should get introduced. You can ask for an introduction through LinkedIn, but my suggestion is to just pick up the phone and make the request. It's a more personal way to ask someone to do something for you.
4. Do LinkedIn searches. You should also run an advanced search on LinkedIn, allowing you to find new connections. You can search by location, company, alma mater, or a combination of all three. You're likely to find people you already know (or know of), and you can send them a personalized message to connect.
5. Check in with connections. A best practice every week is to reach out and touch base with at least a few connections you haven't spoken to in a while. Social media makes it very easy to stay in touch, especially if that person has a recent accomplishment or life event.
This may sound like a lot of work, but as you build it into your routine, LinkedIn will become a core part of how you stay connected and get informed.
Lauren Boyman leads the digital strategy for Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, the first major wirehouse to allow advisors to use social media in a compliant way. She is responsible for client web and mobile, as well as advisor mobile and social media programs. Follow her on Twitter, @LBoymanMS.