Let's move away from "PLEASE READ THIS BUNCH OF ARTICLES YOU'VE ALREADY READY BEFORE" -- I don't think that's very helpful advice -- and look for more beneficial guidance. Here's an example. On Twitter, online marketing expert (aka "interactive Jedi") Angie Schottmuller shared this link to a website called "The Customer Collective” -- specifically, this article from Andrew Hunt entitled "How to Generate Leads with LinkedIn."
It’s a good article. You should read it. It explains how to utilize a social media site like LinkedIn to grow your perception as a thought leader, give people an opportunity to learn who you are and be able to connect with you, etc. It talks about leads -- but it’s not talking about spam or list building. It talks about individuals connecting with individuals. It explains how to legitimately and usefully become part of the conversation -- something that is sorely lacking in a lot of these poor, ham-fisted attempts at B2B social media usage perpetrated by various self-labeled “new media experts.”
The good guidance in this article also works in many other scenarios -- it’s not limited to just LinkedIn. It looks a lot like my imagined best practice guidance for how subject matter experts or marketers would appropriately be able to participate in almost any type of online community, discussion group, or email discussion list. Ask questions. Answer questions. Start discussions. Share content. In other words, participate. Don’t force it. Give freely. Interact!
And that is what social media is really all about.