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In just 18 years since inception, LinkedIn has amassed over 706 Million users worldwide in over 200 countries and 24 languages. There are 346 million male users and 360 million female users. Of those, over 260 million are monthly active users. Geographically, the breakdown of the top five countries with the most users on LinkedIn is:
- U.S. – 171 million+ LinkedIn users
- India – 69 million+ LinkedIn users
- China – 51 million+ LinkedIn users
- Brazil – 45 million+ LinkedIn users
- Great Britain – 29 million+ LinkedIn users
According to Pew Research, demographically about 37% of U.S. adults – or more than one out of every three – aged between 30 and 49 years old use LinkedIn while 18 to 29 year-olds – Millennials — make up 28%. That is a lot of potential reach for any business.
Here is another interesting statistic about LinkedIn. About 41% of all millionaires use LinkedIn. There are currently 14.8 million millionaires in the U.S. alone out of about 330 million people, or roughly 4 ½ % of the population, a very elite group indeed. Of that number, seven million have a LinkedIn account. That is probably one of few things so many in that exclusive and elusive club share in common.
Why does that matter? Most wealthy people are business owners, investors and/or C-Suite executives. They control a lot of buying and hiring power. But they also commonly have a lot of gatekeepers who limit access to them. Reaching that deeply influential audience is not easy. And yet, according to surveys, many of them manage their social media accounts themselves. While they don’t always look at all of their email, they often do look at their LinkedIn feed, messages and Inmail. That makes LinkedIn an invaluable tool for reaching the hardest to reach. And, it is easy to see how powerful it can be for communicating with average working professionals as well. That explains why LinkedIn is considered THE social media site to embrace by even the most reluctant social media users.
That said, LinkedIn’s usefulness varies greatly based on how well it is leveraged. Those who know best how to use the tool to achieve their goals are exponentially more successful than those who don’t. The key to LinkedIn is being active. Opening the app daily. Posting content regularly. Reading people’s comments on one’s posts. Responding to people’s comments on one’s posts promptly. Reading and liking other people’s content. Sharing other people’s content with one’s own contacts. Identifying new contacts to link with based on those who are connected to other key contacts. All of this is time consuming. And then reviewing all that activity to identify whether it has been effective and what is most effective takes even more time. Therein lies the challenge. It is easy to spend a lot of time on LinkedIn. It is much harder to understand exactly what works and what doesn’t work and measure effectiveness against preset goals.
Thus, the first step in using LinkedIn or any other social media site as a marketing strategy is to identify exactly what is to be achieved. The first step is to develop a plan that answers some basic questions. What are realistic, measurable goals? Why are those the goals? What is the time frame to achieve those goals? What strategies will be used to achieve those goals? How often will data be reviewed to determine effectiveness?
This is especially important for companies that employ social selling, which is basically every Fortune 500 company as well as most mid-sized businesses. Even many small businesses do social selling. What is social selling? It’s the process of developing and building relationships via social networks – in this case LinkedIn — by providing valuable content to a specific target audience and preferably during each stage of a buyer’s journey; namely awareness, consideration, and decision-making. Here are some short-term outcomes a company might want to monitor in its social selling efforts.
- Increase a specific leader or salesperson’s number of connections.
- Generate consistent, valuable content that generates likes and shares from key audiences.
- Increase follower engagement with the person or the business’ company page and showcase pages.
- Engage more employees in the social selling process. This increases the likelihood that potential customers will learn about the business and eventually follow the company’s LinkedIn and showcase pages.
Measuring Engagement on LinkedIn
Whatever strategy a business or professional adopts on LinkedIn, the most important thing is to measure the ROI – Return on Investment. Is activity on LinkedIn producing results? It is not enough to set goals. They key is to measure to see if the goals are being met over time, and specifically which strategies and activities are driving success.
When it comes to LinkedIn, one key metric to measure and track is Engagement. There are many formulas to estimate the engagement rate on LinkedIn. Each individual or company should adopt a formula that is best suited for them. But it is imperative to continuously use the same formula in order to see how well engagement tracks over time.
Formulas for Measuring Engagement on LinkedIn
LinkedIn Engagement = Comments + Likes + Clicks divided by Impressions x 1000
LinkedIn Engagement = Comments + Likes + Shares – Personal Comments divided by Impressions
Option 3: LinkedIn Engagement = Total Engagements divided by Total Impressions x 100
You may wonder what counts as an Engagement on LinkedIn? LinkedIn counts Clicks, Comments, Reactions (which included Likes / Insights / Applause, etc.), and Shares as Engagements. LinkedIn also includes Follows as engagements as a person is able to follow pages directly from an update by hovering over the person or page that posted the update’s name.
As for what constitutes an Impression on LinkedIn, the site has its own measure for viewable impression. It only counts impressions when an update is more than 50% on screen for over 300 milliseconds. That is different than the standard use of viewed impressions for other social media sites which is that an ad is onscreen over 50% for 1 continuous second. Beware that reducing the number of impressions counted increases the engagement to impression ratio, and therefore the engagement rate.
In order to improve Engagement on LinkedIn, it is important for a company or individual to:
- Be Transparent – Individual information must be true and verifiable. No embellishing. No faking it ‘til you make it. Once deceived, trust is broken. Restoring trust is much harder to do.
- Publish Regularly – It is important to understand what prospects and customers alike value. Tap into that and then provide that regularly. It can be video content or it can be written with infographics and images. But it should be generated regularly and have some unifying thread to what is being shared and why. Posting about 15-20x per month is recommended. At this pace, LinkedIn indicates that a user will reach 60% of his/her audience. That would explain why 100,000 articles and 300,000 long-form posts are published on LinkedIn every week. In fact, Linked reports that its users generate over 9 billion content impressions in a single week. So not only is content being generated, it is also being consumed.
- Interact Regularly – It is not enough to post and then reply to comments of one’s own posts. It is important to also be active in commenting on other people’s posts. This helps with increasing one’s audience and at the same time gaining even more visibility within the sector.
Using LinkedIn to engage with prospects and stay-top-of-mind with both clients and the media is just plain smart. Remember, 50% of all B2B buyers use LinkedIn when making purchasing decisions and every single Fortune 500 company has representatives on LinkedIn and does social selling. And, in the age of Covid, it is crucial. LinkedIn facilitates communication and contact that is otherwise not happening at all. Staying current on how the algorithm works and measuring efforts is key. Now, go post something.
Quote of the Week
“LinkedIn is no longer an online resume. It’s your digital reputation.” Jill Rowley
© 2020, Written by Keren Peters-Atkinson, CMO, Madison Commercial Real Estate Services. All rights reserved.