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:
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.