Back in 2003 when LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD) was launched, it was primarily used for job hunting. A lot has changed since then. Today, it is extensively used for networking and personal branding.

This fresh insight comes from data collected by NumberSleuth, a company helping to discover details about the numbers of your incoming calls.

According to research, 50 percent of LinkedIn members have found a job through a mutual connection, validating LinkedIn’s popularity as a networking and marketing tool.

Connect to Create Opportunities

LinkedIn, for its part, has introduced several new features to help users add more connections. You can now see when your connections are online and are ready to chat.

You may also share in-person status updates, tutorials and behind-the-scenes videos on the LinkedIn mobile app.

In the future, LinkedIn is planning to provide free mentoring services for members, connecting them with seasoned pros who give career advice. The new service will have a limited launch this year in San Francisco and Australia.

LinkedIn for Small Businesses

With more than 500 million users, LinkedIn provides a vast platform for businesses to connect and grow their network. But success depends on how well you leverage your network.

To help businesses take their networking, selling, marketing and hiring efforts to new heights, LinkedIn offers a number of useful tools. The showcase pages, for example, are extremely useful in highlighting your company, a business unit or initiative.

You may also consider LinkedIn Sales Navigator to turn the passive LinkedIn platform into a social selling machine.

For further brand impact, another option is LinkedIn Video. This newly launched feature helps small businesses boost online engagement with potential customers and partners.

If you’re still struggling to understand how LinkedIn can help you build your brand presence, check out LinkedIn Small Business. With readily available tip sheets, LinkedIn Small Business offers a place to learn how you can get the most out of your efforts on the site.

LinkedIn Statistics 2017

To learn more about LinkedIn’s rise as a marketing tool, check out the LinkedIn statistics in the infographic below:

LinkedIn Photo via Shutterstock