LinkedIn Reaches 300 Million Users Making Business Connections

"Linkedin HR: Resources Speaks Out"The official LinkedIn blog reported last week that this social media networking site had reached 300 million members. You may not know that LinkedIn was the very first social network – founded in 2003. Facebook followed in 2004, Twitter in 2006 and that latecomer, Google+ in 2011.

How Times Have Changed

LinkedIn doesn’t come close to Facebook’s 1 billion+ users, but it is just as powerful in servicing its niche of “professional” members. LinkedIn, in my view, is the go-to network for making business connections that can lead to new business. Hands-down, it is the most important network for matching job openings to job candidates.

Groups are at the heart of the LinkedIn experience. These are the places where so many important discussions are happening among members of like interests. I’ve personally engaged in many very useful conversations and learned from differing points of view.

Almost five years ago, when I was new to blogging, I joined the WordPress group and found many members willing to answer my questions and share their knowledge. One of them, John Sawyer, was so helpful that I retained him as my webmaster, a role he still fills for me. I’ve referred other clients to him. That’s the power of LinkedIn.

My LinkedIn connections have enriched my life and business. I’m in regular contact with bloggers in the U.S., U.K., Sweden, Switzerland, and Australia, to name but a few countries. They’ve become friends and always willing to offer help online and offline.

The Infographic below compares LinkedIn today to five years ago. Several key statistics:

  • Men still outnumber female members but it’s more evenly balanced – 56% to 44%.
  • In 2014 more than 50% of users will access LinkedIn via mobile devices (by the way, have you optimized your site for mobile viewing?)
  • This surprised me, but Information Technology and Services still claims the most users on LinkedIn. Another surprise is that five years ago Marketing and Advertising were in the top five industries and dropped off the list this year. That’s my field so I wonder why.

Here’s the Infographic. After reading it, please scroll down to the bottom of the post where I have a few questions for you.

300 Million LinkedIn Members from LinkedIn

What is the primary purpose you use LinkedIn? Is LinkedIn your primary social media network and, if not, which network is? Have you gotten business from LinkedIn or made connections that might lead to new business? What is the greatest value you gain from LinkedIn? Would welcome your comments.

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  1. Yes, also read about Linkedin reaching 300 million members last week.

    Personally, as you know, really like LinkedIn. And now with Facebook starting to charge for almost anything, I presume more business people will start using Linkedin more. There’s also the problem with bullying by fake profiles on Facebook. On Linkedin such profiles are swiftly removed.

    Started a Linkedin group in Swedish about global business development recently. And am very happy with many groups I am a member of.

    Get an abundance of business proposals from members of LinkedIn all the time. But seriously Jeannette, the only way I would do anything for them would be if they paid in advance. If no, I would get screwed.

    Another form of request from strangers on LinkedIn that I am tired of is when they ask you to do something for them that they should pay at least a few thousand dollars for. Needless to say I decline their “kind offers”.

    Honestly, Jeannette, when it comes to getting business on Linkedin I do believe it works best between Americans in the US:-)

    • Catarina — I can understand your reluctance to accept an assignment from a LinkedIn connection without being paid first. When I’m approached by someone I don’t know, I will ask for advance payment into my PayPal account. I have to pay a 3% fee but it’s worth it.

  2. LinkIn has proven crucial in almost every stop of my move toward a freelance career. I’ve made great contacts and friends, been hired for various editing projects, and I’ve learned a ton. When I first started editing, I followed a few groups for editors. People are so helpful. I also found one of my current critique partners when I randomly replied to a post on a group if anyone was interested in reviewing her book. We’ve been exchanging drafts for over a year now, and I will be meeting her this September when I am in Amsterdam (she’s an American living in Germany). When I sat myself down in a room to do nothing but just “write” a couple of years ago, I had no idea the path I would go down, and so much of it has been possible because of the benefits LinkedIn provides its users.

    • Jeri — what a wonderful story. I value the friendships I’ve made in our bloggers group and I have a story similar to yours. When I first started blogging I became active in the WordPress Group where so many members were helpful in answering my newbie questions. One was so helpful I told him, “John, I think I need to start paying you.” He’s been my webmaster ever since and I’ve referred him to friends. I just reconnected with an old client because I saw that she had taken a new job. We got together and rekindled a friendship. I agree, LinkedIn has really worked for me.

  3. Well you know I met YOU on LinkedIn Jeannette! And that is a wonderful thing; we’ve partnered together and still keep in touch regularly after all these many years.

    Two things stand out to me in your infographic: the rise of mobile access (confirms everything I am hearing!) and the changing demographics of LInkedIn (wow!)

    As always, thanks for the valuable content.

    • Yes, Pat. I feel very lucky that you and I met on LinkedIn and remain friends. I’ve enjoyed your blog and can’t wait to read your book.

  4. It’s nice to see that the gender gap is closing on LinkedIn. As a business professional and blogger LinkedIn has been extremely beneficial to me over the years and continues to be.

    • Susan — I was sort of surprised at the gender gap in LinkedIn myself. More women use Facebook,Twitter and Pinterest than men.

  5. I enjoy your LI posts very much, Jeannette – always give me great food for thought 🙂

    I did not know LI is the oldest social media network of those which are most popular today… This call for a “did you know” type of update 😉

    I have been determined to be more active on LI and G+ since beginning for 2014 – almost half the year passed already but I have not gone too far, I’m afraid. I see great benefits, especially from LI – although I am not quite active, keeping my profile updated and sharing occasional updates there brings in business – I can only imagine how great it would be if I were as active as I want…

    I think I found you on LI as well, didn’t i? 🙂

    • Diana — yes, we did meet on linkedIn, I’m happy to say. We all make promises to ourselves to be more active on our social media networks but sometimes work interferes! I’m glad that LinkedIn has brought you business. I’ve gotten some business directly from LinkedIn, too, but usually I get referrals from colleagues who know I’m active on LinkedIn with one of my specialties developing Professional Headlines and Summaries on LinkedIn profiles.

  6. Hi Jeannette
    LinkedIn is certainly a powerhouse these days for small business to make connections.
    I am only just discovering this and trying to make time to use it to its fullest.
    So much to do so little time.
    But I see many people repeating the same advice as you – connections on LinkedIn are great for business. So I am trying to focus.

    have a great week ahead

    • Hi Ashley — There must be an awful lot of business people on LinkedIn who could use your services. It might be fruitful for you to become active in some LinkedIn Groups where your prospects hang out.

  7. Jeannette, I find all of the trends encouraging and am happy that quality is not merely holding its own but thriving. Especially good to see such growth in India and Brazil. Having moved on from commerce except for a very selective approach to consulting I tend to keep up with business contacts through other means but as a connection point with interesting bloggers I find Linked in to be excellent.

    • Paul — LinkedIn won’t replace making new business connections through referrals and other business colleagues. But it does have the potential for new business and, as you point out, to connect with other bloggers.

  8. I’m a huge fan of LinkedIn and it is my main social network. I don’t use it to get business, because of the nature of my work, but I certainly use it to keep me professionally sharp. The groups are so helpful and I’ve met some pretty terrific people on LinkedIn, you and my other blogging buddies being key among them. I can’t see LinkedIn doing anything but getting better and more popular.

  9. Dan — I just looked at your title on LinkedIn and it sure is impressive! You’re right it needs updating and more descriptive copy.