Learning To Love LinkedIn

I was at a social media conference recently where I witnessed a panel discussing various tools and platforms for online marketing. When the topic of LinkedIn came up, I was mildly surprised to hear some of the panelists display a distinct lack of love for LinkedIn, in favor of more “social-friendly” tools such as Twitter and Pinterest. It is true that the specific B2C panelists may have had very good reasons to relegate LinkedIn to a lower priority, but I have also heard plenty of case studies about LinkedIn’s utility as a B2B marketing tool.

As I reflected on this lack of LinkedLove, I thought back to this graph, which we released earlier this month as a part of our Infinite Dial study, on the relative adoption of various social platforms:

Social Network Usage

As you can see, LinkedIn is actually the second most popular social media platform, well behind Facebook (aren’t they all?) and just above Twitter (which soared in usage over the past year, by the way.)

Clearly, there are lots of Americans using LinkedIn, so it behooves marketers to at least understand those behaviors before we decide that the platform either does or does not work from a marketing perspective. But I think there is also a real “farmers vs. cowmen” sensibility at work here, as well, between Twitter users and LinkedIn users. Though it is tempting to think that we all use the same networks, the truth is far more complex. In fact, according to our Infinite Dial research, the percentage of LinkedIn users who also use Twitter is 31%.

That means, of course, that 69% of LinkedIn users do not use Twitter, so they didn’t read your awesome tweet. That’s millions of Americans who are willing to engage with others online, willing to put their profile information on display, and who spend at least some time each week “social networking” but who are not engaged (and perhaps not even interested) in “tweeting.”

Understanding that distinction might just pay off for some of you.

4 replies
  1. Frank
    Frank says:

    LinkedIn has an engagement problem. People have a profile there, but they don’t log in every day (unless they’re a recruiter). Which is why LinkedIn bought Pulse and created “viral” features like endorsements. They want to keep you coming back so you keep your profile up to date.

    • Tom Webster
      Tom Webster says:

      I agree that engagement is lower with LinkedIn than with, say, Facebook–but I stop short of saying it’s an engagement “problem” given their dramatically different revenue model. Still, more engagement is more gooder, and you are right about their Pulse acquisition. Thanks for your comment!

  2. Frankie Johnson
    Frankie Johnson says:

    Thanks for the info, Tom. What shocked me most was MySpace still showing up just a point below Twitter – lots of zombie users there. There are probably a lot of inactive users on LinkedIn with accounts – ready to engage when something changes with their job. But, unlike MySpace, they are asleep not dead!

  3. Buzz Brindle
    Buzz Brindle says:

    I use Hootsuite to post those tweets which I consider relevant to business into my Linkedin feed. Personally, I usually check Linkedin several times per day. As opposed to Twitter’s continuous torrent of tweets, my sense is that Linkedin users who aren’t just researching a potential client or job search connection are engaging members with whom they have something in common via groups.


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