Although Facebook and Twitter always steal the social media spotlight, 2010 should be remembered as the year where LinkedIn accelerated development and released a plethora of new applications, features, and functionality to their platform for professionals. While many complain of the ever-increasing restrictions and some question the validity of potentially keyword-stuffed search results on the professional networking platform, it is clear that LinkedIn is following a path of sticking to its roots as a trusted network built upon relationships while always looking for creative ways to generate additional revenue and traffic from new sources. If you haven’t kept up with all of the changes, as well as the latest analysis on how to maximize your LinkedIn presence, you owe it to yourself to spend an hour reading through this list of the most useful blog posts of 2010 that I have compiled for you.
Similar to the formula I used in my The Top Twitter Blog Posts of 2010 list, I have tried my best to group the top Linked In blog posts by category and present them in descending order by number of retweets. I have also taken the liberty to sprinkle the list with my own relevant blog posts from 2010 – I ended up publishing 23 LinkedIn-related blog posts this year alone!
GENERAL HOW TO TIPS
5 Ways to Develop Meaningful LinkedIn Connections by Stephanie Sammons [1,178]
For some people, especially when compared to its counterparts Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn can seem like an anti-social place. That doesn’t need to be the case, especially if you follow this great advice on how to convert your connections into relationships.
4 LinkedIn Tips to Help You Stand Out by Linda Coles [1,096]
The tips in this blog post are all about personalizing your communications throughout LI, and by doing so, truly standing out among the pack. While the advice is basic common sense, we sometimes need to be reminded of basic communication skills when using social networks.
Use LinkedIn Effectively by Chris Brogan 
Chris doesn’t offer a lot of depth in this blog post, but his comments pinpointing the main functionality that LinkedIn provides should serve as a reminder if you’re not using the platform to its fullest.
How Connecting Your LinkedIn Contacts Builds Social Influence by Stephanie Sammons 
LI really is based on a network of social connections. Learn how to connect your connections with each other, and in doing so building your own social influence.
LinkedIn Recommendation Tips by Chris Brogan 
Solid tips on utilizing Recommendations from Chris Brogan, someone who like myself is an open networker but believes that Recommendations become part of your personal brand and thus should be taken very seriously.
8 Tips to Get More Out of LinkedIn by Justin Levy 
A simple post with a list of 8 tips to get more out of the professional networking platform. You may already be following some of these tips, but they serve as a good reminder in case you’re not.
How To Make LinkedIn Answers Part Of Your Routine by Jason Falls 
Jason Falls of the Social Media Explorer makes a great case for including Answers as part of your daily social media routine. While the advice is applicable to all, if you’re looking to generate new leads, Answers is a perfect compliment to connect with people and turn them into clients. What’s more, it only takes a few minutes each day to get noticed, and you even get to help people with their professional problems.
Where Do You Rank In LinkedIn’s Search Results? by Glen Cathey 
While this blog post did not come out in the top rankings according to my original compilation, I felt compelled to include it in this article as it was one of the most memorable blog posts of 2010. Everyone knows about LI search results, but are you somebody who just doesn’t appear in the results or always appears last like myself? You owe it to yourself to read this article, as well as all of the comments, and ask yourself: Are LinkedIn Search Results Relevant? Excellent food for thought.
My 5 most popular how to blog posts of 2010:
20 LinkedIn Case Studies and Examples for Professionals by Kyle Lacy 
No introductory paragraph. No links. Just 20 case studies and examples of how professionals around the world are using LI for results. Powerful post to read, especially if your networking activity is not yielding results.
Did you use one of these 10 most overused buzzwords in your LinkedIn profile this year? by Manu Sharma [1,007]
A unique analytical post from the official LI blog looks at how yesterday’s power phrases are today’s clichés. You might want to peruse these worn-out words and revise your own profile while you are at it.
How LinkedIn will fire up your career by Jessi Hempel 
The classic post from Fortune Magazine talks about how getting serious with LI might land you a job, or get you a better one at that. This post was one of the instrumental ones of the year waking people up to the potential of using the professional platform for your job search.
My own job search advice using the professional platform for 2010:
The 9 Worst Ways to Use LinkedIn for Business by Diana Freedman 
Excellent B2B professional networking advice from the Hubspot blog. If you plan on using LI for business, it’s best you keep these pointers in mind to avert social networking disasters.
As far as my contribution to the subject, I did write a post recently on my outlook for general businesses using LI in 2011, especially those who think only Facebook and Twitter should be part of a social media marketing strategy:
Ten Ways for Small Businesses to Use LinkedIn by Guy Kawasaki [1,805]
You knew that somehow in someway Guy Kawasaki would make it on to one of my lists. And he did. Read about the Internet marketing maverick giving you 10 ways to extract more juice from the site, from getting your non-essentials outsourced to keeping tabs on your competition.
5 Ways Small Businesses Can Leverage LinkedIn’s New Features by Jolie O’Dell [1,336]
Good advice from Mashable on using LI’s sharing features which were released earlier this year. Obviously, sharing on LI should be different from sharing in other networks. Learn to use it well and you will be well rewarded in return.
6 Powerful LinkedIn Marketing Tips for Small Businesses by Naomi Trower [1,057]
Many small businesses use (and overuse) Twitter and Facebook, but not enough use LI. Engage with potential customers better through these six great tips.
6 Common LinkedIn Mistakes Small Businesses Make, and What You Should Do Instead by Anne Field 
Wondering why this online professional network is not working for you? Well, you might be doing something wrong. Check out this article which not only details some of the pitfalls in using LI but gives solutions as well.
I also wrote the following post looking at the mistakes I see so many small businesses doing:
SALES, BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT, PROSPECTING
How to Prospect Using Combined Power of LinkedIn and Twitter by Linda Coles 
Many decision makers are on LI. Twitter is an open channel for communication. Utilize them in combination for prospecting and you can attain real results. Now do you see why the two platforms go together like peanut butter and chocolate?
Ten ways to get ahead on LinkedIn by Matt Owen 
Good post on business networking etiquette from the Econsultancy folks in the United Kingdom. Very well written and fresh perspective on staying on top of mind share and getting ahead of your rivals.
How To Use LinkedIn To Generate Business by Michael Gray 
A great comprehensive post on the business basics from Search Engine Land. Take heed of these tips on making your, and everyone on in your company’s, profile both useful and accessible to get ahead in generating business.
In case you missed it, here is my blog post, from a B2B business development prospective, of how to start prospecting and developing real business on LI:
5 Tips for Using LinkedIn to Find Star Employees by Sharlyn Lauby 
With all of the talk about social recruiting and using social networking to headhunt for employees, there are surprisingly few blog posts on the subject. Here is a recommended one from Mashable.
I also wrote on the subject earlier this year:
Any of you favorite blog posts from 2010 regarding the professional networking platform that I missed? Please place a link together with your comment and share the top posts in your opinion with us. Thanks!