LinkedIn is aiming at keeping its users happy. In terms of Social Media, Facebook springs to mind with its 850 million users and growing every day. Yet, there is another social media behemoth which launched in 2003 and has only – even though only in this case is very relative – 136 million users worldwide and it’s LinkedIn. With nearly 140 million very high-end, affluent users, the business to business pure player has changed the recruitment industry forever.
Today at Le Web Paris 11, I had the opportunity to attend a workshop facilitated by Laurence Bret Stern, marketing director for the EMEA region at LinkedIn and what I liked most about their presentation is that – despite its staggering success, the company is sticking to its original mantra: “let’s keep our users happy”. And I have to admit I have been one of them since the inception of the service, and that I find it to be an invaluable business tool.
Big and growing bigger …
LinkedIn has become a real social media phenomenon, worldwide and in Europe in particular. The proof of that is that the Netherlands is the country for which the penetration of LinkedIn is the highest. And it’s not finished. The increase in member uptake is staggering, namely in countries like France which are in catch-up mode.
Picture this, “LinkedIn is adding 2 new members every second” said Laurence in her opening pitch at Le Web this morning.
And it’s not just any kind of members but very high-end, affluent and influent people: Indeed, 15% of higher management functions execs who are managing more than €150k and managing 10 people or more are using LinkedIn and the B2B social media site is now getting “even more popular amongst such segments than well-famed news websites like the FT or Le Figaro” Laurence added.
80% of LinkedIn users aren’t looking for jobs.
50% of LinkedIn revenues are made from selling services to recruiters (on how to find candidates) and advertisers.
A vast majority (80% of users) of LinkedIn users aren’t looking for new jobs. This is a clear signal that they are getting business benefits from the service. LinkedIn premium subscriptions are reserved for expert users. For the above mentioned 80% users, LinkedIn is mostly a tool for doing business and working on one’s e-reputation.
Usage of LinkedIn on mobiles has rocketed up; an iPhone application has just been launched and is a success (a demo of the app is available here)
Establishing your company & employee identities
Company pages are free. Laurence added went on saying that “LinkedIn is a no brainer for companies which need to promote their brand and image”. It isn’t just a personal system, “if you are a business, you should make sure you are on LinkedIn” she added a bit cockily.
A search engine optimisation (SEO) beast
“30% of Google searches are carried out on people’s names” Laurence added and therefore, LinkedIn has become an “SEO machine” and enables employees – and therefore companies – to become more visible.
Review of the main LinkedIn services
- The free directory: The core of the LinkedIn experience is free access to the directory, and the mission statement of the company isn’t to make people pay upfront but to make them happy about the service (and then let them pay for extra services if they want to).
- LinkedIn today: a b2b curation tool
- LinkedIn today chooses your vertical and presents a list of articles based on what people with profiles similar to yours have looked at. It’s available at Linkedin.com/today and is very accurate
- LinkedIn Groups
- Philips for instance is running a group on hospital lighting material, very specific and very successful.
- Alumni: LinkedIn.com/classmates
- using this new feature, you can see where your old classmates are working. This is working for university and college graduates
- Stats about companies are made available from the company pages and all for free. This makes it possible for job seekers to prepare an interview for instance. Polls can be launched from company pages too in order to establish thought leadership around brands.
- Talent acquisition: As seen above, most of LinkedIn’s revenue is coming from job search services sold to businesses. Recruitment ads are based on profiles. LinkedIn’s flagship product is called LinkedIn recruitment. In 2012, a new free service will be launched; it’s called “Talent Pipeline” and will be used by large companies which will build a pool of candidates and the novelty is that the pool in question will also include profiles from other services.
LinkedIn’s targeting very rich targeting capabilities are a fantastic asset and show that social media has now become entirely mature, at least in business to business.