LinkedIn is the professional social network of choice. Or is it? A couple of recent surveys have provided conflicting results.
According to Lab42 survey, cited by MarketingProfs, LinkedIn is the most used site for professional networking. The potential problem with survey, however, is that respondents were already registered LinkedIn users. It didn’t consider the broader internet using public.
Nevertheless, Lab42 found that 35% of users check the site daily, 32% a few times a week and 1% never check their accounts. 42% of registered users update their profiles on a regular basis while only 7% haven’t updated their profiles since they created their accounts. 81% of users belong to at least one group and 52% participate in group discussions. 21% use the site to keep in touch with friends and contacts, 20% network with industry professionals, 12% use it for business promotion.
Michael Fauscette, from IDC got somewhat contradictory results when his company looked at the way in which business enterprises use social networks. An article on Enterprise Irregulars paid specific attention to the results for Facebook and LinkedIn. The survey respondents included 400 managers from a range of industries.
According to the results, over 75% of managers use Facebook for business purposes while nearly 60% use LinkedIn (Twitter stands at nearly 50%). 54% considered Facebook the most important network for business purposes. Only 32% considered LinkedIn to be the most important network.
70% use Facebook to promote their companies, products or brands, nearly 60% use it to communicate with fans and followers, and nearly 40% use it to communicate with business colleagues. Nearly 20% use it as a recruitment tool.
Perhaps this makes sense as Facebook is billed more properly as a social network, not so much a professional social network.
This is where the difference between LinkedIn is marked. 60% of LinkedIn users use the network to communicate with business colleagues, roughly 45% use it to promote their companies, products and brands, and 40% use it as a recruitment tool.
FreshNetworks recently conducted a study into LinkedIn’s growth, its future prospects and the manner in which it’s used by brands. FreshNetworks predicts that if LinkedIn’s growth continues at its current rate, which is quite impressive, it will reach 165 million users by the end of 2011. Its biggest growth markets are in developing countries like Mexico, Brazil and India. Most of its users (44 million) are based in the US. The most followed companies include IBM, HP, Accenture, Microsoft, Apple and Google, which indicates that those already in the internet/IT industry are the biggest users, although Deloitte and PwC are also in the top 10.
The study also revealed a likely correlation between the number of engaged employees and followers. Bigger companies (more familiar brands) also had the most followers, which shouldn’t come as a surprise.
LinkedIn intends to expand its target audience beyond established professionals and those embarking on their careers by launching a profile section aimed specifically at students. Virtual job fairs could in on the cards, which will boost its recruitment offerings.