If you follow my column, you know I'm a fan of LinkedIn. Since I moved to Europe four years ago, LinkedIn has proved to be a lifeline, connecting me with numerous leads to some very productive professional relationships.

If you check out the infographic below (thanks to Internet Marketing Inc. and its "rescue team"), you'll see I'm not alone.

Just two highlights:

  • LinkedIn redirects four times as many users to company home pages as Facebook and Twitter
  • LinkedIn generates the highest visitor-to-lead conversion rate, about 2.74 percent, about three times that of Facebook and Twitter

So, if you don't yet have a LinkedIn strategy, where do you get started?

The IMI rescue team has some great advice:

1. Join groups.

My engagement was relatively limited until a contact recommended that I join a few groups. "What are groups?" I remember asking.

Essentially, a group is a collection of LinkedIn members who share a common interest. Groups come in various sizes and ranges of expertise. For example, if you're an insurance broker looking to join a group, you could register with Global Insurance Professionals, which currently has almost 84,000 members.

Or maybe you're looking for something a little more specific. What's that? You're 22, living in the Big Apple, and seeking a long-term career as a broker or agent? Then maybe you could join the New York Young Insurance Professionals, which currently boasts over a thousand of your peers as members.

You can join up to 50 groups at one time, and it's a good idea to use up your full allotment. This expands your network to the maximum amount, and makes it easier to connect with others. (You can easily send a connection invitation to anyone who is in the same group as you.)

2. Start writing.

Write about issues that are being discussed by your company, your competitors, and your customers. The idea is that people are talking about these issues, which means they have questions. When they ask those questions, you want them to find your answers.

By offering to help (instead of sell), you begin a relationship with potential customers. Then, they'll think of you and your company once they're ready to buy.

Most important: Make sure your content is helpful, well written and easy to understand. (Think about the grocery store that offers recipes in its sales ads or monthly magazine, or the bank that gives financial advice to youths entering the work force.) Bonus points if your view is unique.

So that's a start. Now here's more advice from Internet Marketing Inc. and its rescue team.