A Profile of LinkedIn
LinkedIn is the largest professionally oriented social networking website on the internet. It’s available in a range of diverse languages, from Malay to Polish to Russian, Spanish, Japanese and of course, English.
People use LinkedIn to form all kinds of professional connections. Startup founders use it to find investors. Employers use it to employees. New graduates use it to land first jobs. Top executives use it to scout potential job opportunities. Salespeople use it to connect to potential connections. Anyone looking to connect professionally is likely to be on LinkedIn.
Traffic & Statistics
According to a June 2012 report by LinkedIn, the site has over 175 million users registered. Though LinkedIn hasn’t released traffic statistics since 2011 (it was 33.9 in 2011,) Quantcast puts LinkedIn’s traffic estimates at over 41 million in just the United States.
According to Alexa.com, as seen in the image above, LinkedIn reaches about 4-5% of the global Internet audience.
The United States has the most members, followed by India, the UK, Brazil, Canada then France. (Source)
The heaviest user demographic is between 25 and 54 years old, which accounts for 67.7% of the user base. In recent years however, the teenage (18 to 24) demographic has grown dramatically as college grads realize the importance of online networking.
LinkedIn is slightly male dominant, with around 58% of its users being male.
39% of LinkedIn’s members are in a managerial position: VP, Chief Officer, Owner, Director or Manager. It’s an incredibly valuable way to reach powerful people.
Should You be on LinkedIn?
LinkedIn isn’t used to “build a brand” in the same way that other social networks are. Instead, it’s used to connect with very specific people. If you’re looking to increase your mindshare by regularly posting status updates to your community, LinkedIn is probably not the place to be.
But if you’re looking to …
- Meet investors
- Find investments
- Meet potential clients
- Meet consultants or advisors
- Find mentors
- Meet potential employers
- Meet potential employees
- Build your professional network
It’s not a “generic” social network, but a very professionally oriented social network. If that’s what your business is looking for, it’s the perfect place to be.
LinkedIn Pros and Cons
- Pro: A higher quality lead pool. If you’re recruiting on LinkedIn, you’re probably going to get higher quality leads than from Craigslist or Monster.com. The opposite is also true; if you’re job hunting on LinkedIn, you’ll have an easier time getting your foot in the door than if you respond to cold ads on classified sites.
- Con: There’s a learning curve to using LinkedIn. Unlike Facebook or Twitter where you can just hop on and hit the ground running, LinkedIn requires a bit of study. You need to collect recommendations, learn to use introductions, learn to find the right people, etc.
- Pro: Introductions makes meeting people easy. You can search through your contacts to see who you know that might know people you want to meet.
- Con: The power of LinkedIn depends largely on the power of your network. If you don’t have people in your network who would be willing to introduce you to other people, LinkedIn isn’t nearly as powerful.
- Pro: It’s an incredible tool for building credibility. You get to lay out all your accomplishments on one page, as well as have outsiders vouch for you all on your profile. It’s far more powerful than a resume.
- Con: High demand individuals are hard to reach. Because LinkedIn is such a public database, certain people are constantly getting hammered with requests. Top programmers for instance are always being hounded by recruiters, which makes them hard to recruit for your own firm. The same can be said for getting in touch with executives, big clients and other high value connections.
Tips for Success on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is ultimately about your network. So the most powerful thing you could do to leverage LinkedIn is to boost your network. Help others succeed, and when you reach out to others to help you, your network will be there to support you.
One of LinkedIn’s most powerful features is the ability to search your friends’ connections for people who could help you. But first you have to have strong enough relationships with people who’d be willing to introduce you to people.
Learn to use LinkedIn as a marketing tool. Write a great bio and use a great picture. Select a picture that portrays you well. Select the right keywords. Add video to your profile if you can.
Reach out to everyone you can and add them to your network. Whenever someone connects with you, drop them a personal note to strengthen the connection. If there’s a potential connection you want to grow in the future, jot down notes about how you want to do that.
Finally, be proactive. Don’t just sit back and hope that being on LinkedIn will build your network for you. Reach out, nourish connections and actively develop a network of people who want to help you succeed on LinkedIn.