Last Friday Comscore released a study looking at the penetration levels of the business social networking website Linked In. Surprisingly Ireland came in second only to the Netherlands, and well ahead of the USA, UK and Australia. I’m a little surprised only because Linked In gained traction earlier in those countries than it did here. There was an estimated 200,000 registered Irish users using the service at the beginning of this year and this is expected to grow beyond 300,000 before the end of the year.
It might pale into Facebook’s 1.73 million users, but its an entirely different network focused on building professional relationships between registered users. Usually they must share one common ‘link’ it may be through past education, a work colleague or indeed have a mutual connection who can introduce one to the other. There’s ways around this, but its not usually the done thing for strangers to try and connect with you on Linked In.
New To Linked In?
There’s a great getting started guide to Linked In posted here. Which covers the basics of setting up a profile and how you can bring your skills, talents and experience to the forefront of your profile. By promoting your skills on your profile viewers can get an idea of where your talents lie. This can be useful for attracting new opportunities as your connectionsseek you out based on your skills.
It’s not just a closed shop for those who already know each other. There’s other ways of getting involved with others in your industry, by joining relevant groups or by demonstrating your experience in Linked In Answers. In the Answers section other members of the community search for assistance or help with a business related issue. Questions are asked under a category and answered by Linked In members from all over the world. Groups tend to be more specific in their subject matter, for example Social Media Ireland. The group was set up in 2009 and has over 1300 members who discuss different tips, blog posts and news articles.
Linked In for Opportunities
As Linked In is a business orientated social network opportunities to do business or even gain employment exist. There are job listings and recruiters can search for potential candidates.Users can also follow specific companies to receive their updates, which also include new job opportunities.
In an interview with the Sunday Business Post over the summer, several directors and recruiting executives from Irish marketing, PR and digital agencies outlined how important Linked In was for finding recruits. Indeed, my role here with Neworld came about through a connection made regarding a blog post I had also posted to Linked In. It started a discussion and the end result was this role as a Social Media Strategist.
But its not just for job hunting either. More and more connections made through offline work are using the network to remain in contact. You don’t know what kind of opportunity to do more business may exist down the line. With infrequent contact via e-mail or phone you may not know exactly what your contacts have been doing, what new work they have completed, if they have moved roles or even companies. Through Linked In you can keep ‘loose’ regular connection with individuals, and when the need arises consult their profiles before making that call.
Linked In’s growth has been slow but gradual. The company was formed in 2002 and the website launched in May 2003, making it a relative oldie in social networking terms. The most recent statistics for August indicate there’s over 75 million people registered on the network. Comscore also noted in its report that the website has now crossed the 10% penetration level in many markets, the magic point after which social networks benefit from ‘viral’ growth.