Custom Digital Marketing, Social & Interactive Media Consulting

What is LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is a business-oriented social networking website. Launched in spring 2003, its primary use is professional networking. Central to the effective use of the site is a user's Connections - a list of contact information for people the user already has some level of relationship. Users can invite anyone (whether a site user or not) to become a connection, building up the professional network with direct connections, the connections of each of their (direct) connections (2nd-degree connections) and the connections of 2nd-degree connections (3rd-degree connections). Users leverage these 'degrees of separation' to gain an introduction to someone via mutual contacts. Users can upload their resume and customize their profile page to highlight their work, research and follow companies as well as locate business and employment opportunities. Users can join groups, connecting with professionals in their field (or a field they may be looking to enter). LinkedIn (NYSE: LNKD) is available in 19 languages and stands as the largest professional network on the Internet in the world.
Definition in part from Wikipedia, HubSpot, LinkedIn

Positive Points:

  • Over 187 million members in over 200 countries and territories (as of September 2012) - large pool of professional members to pull from and market toward
  • More than 2.6 million companies have LinkedIn Company Pages - chances are your competitors have a page, you should as well
  • Formalized contact structure helps to build trust in the professional contacts formed and communications conducted via LinkedIn
  • Free to sign up and use
  • 82% of users are aware of ads on LinkedIn, with 60% having clicked on an ad
  • 90% of users find the site to be useful

Potential Pitfalls:

  • 63% of LinkedIn members are located outside of the United States (as of September 2012) - great if you are a company with international interests, maybe not as helpful for a local business
  • Behind every profile or company page is a human, and mistakes can happen; a minor faux pas can be amplified and have a negative impact on your professional reputation
  • The professional atmosphere/etiquette of the site guides level and content of sharing - users choose their words carefully, can have a chilling effect on conversation and sharing
  • LinkedIn generates only 0.20% of its reference/referral traffic
  • User base is a particular, defined group - professional, 65%/35% male/female, 79%/21% college (undergraduate and graduate)/no college