Talent Acquisition

Why LinkedIn is More Important than Facebook or Twitter

In a study from ROI Research, 59 per cent of respondents say LinkedIn is their most important account on social networks. This is a big gain from last year’s survey when only 41 per cent said LinkedIn is their number one.

The fact that LinkedIn is the most important network to people is interesting as the average user only logs on 2.9 times per month. Compare this to Facebook where the average user logs in every day. Another interesting fact is that LinkedIn never actually call themselves a ‘social network’, they prefer the term ‘professional network’.

We also learn from the study that respondents with ‘active’ LinkedIn accounts (i.e. not signed up and forgot about it completely), half of them visit the professional networking site once a week and a fifth log on daily.  This is actually less than the figures from the height of the recession a year ago when two thirds visited the site at least weekly.

My 10 Reasons LinkedIn is the Winner

There are quite a few reasons LinkedIn has passed Facebook in this department:

  1. LinkedIn likes to copy Facebook’s successful features. You may have noticed the share button and even the like button. These are of course direct copycat tactics that have worked well. Back in the day you couldn’t even upload your picture on LinkedIn but slowly and surely they have copied more and more from Facebook. Familiar features on one social networking platform will work on another.
  2. Topical. Last year’s IPO of LinkedIn has made it the flavor of the month. If you want press coverage (and scrutiny), an IPO is probably one of the best ways. Every man and his dog have now signed up after reading that LinkedIn adds 8 new members every second. Having said that, a film is not a bad way of getting PR either – Facebook only beat Orkut in Brazil after ‘The Social Network’ was released.
  3. Personal branding. Performics’s CEO Daina Middleton reckons: “Individuals have embraced social networking as a means to actively manage their personal viability in the global economy.” LinkedIn is loved by Google and if  you want to manage your search results, LinkedIn is your quickest and best bet.
  4. The recession. Unemployment in many countries are at an all-time high and LinkedIn is one natural place for job seekers to network their way to the next opportunity. Perhaps more so natural than job boards which have historically been the place to go.
  5. LinkedIn’s hiring solutions are gaining momentum. After a big push last year, many large companies have signed up for premium recruiter accounts that allow them to contact any user of LinkedIn direct without being connected in any way. When people notice this, they realize how vital their own profile has become – and thus LinkedIn gains in importance overall.
  6. Under the radar in your office. Think about it, most offices have a ban on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and the such just to keep productivity levels up. Is there ever a ban on LinkedIn? Nopes. The big L is seen as a work-related tool and is therefore acceptable to have on your screen even when the big boss happens to look over.
  7. Lack of competition. Who are the hot rivals of LinkedIn? Local players such as Xing, Viadeo and Baidu will takes years to reach the size and reach of LinkedIn. Facebook are possibly the only serious contender, if they were to aim for the professional market as well (which they don’t at the moment).
  8. LinkedIn is safer than Facebook. Again think about it, on LinkedIn there is really nothing to hide. You only get one tiny picture of yourself and a limited space to tell the world about your interests. Above all, there is no wall on your profile.  This means nobody can tag you in drunken photos or write nasties on your wall. This could be part of the appeal of LinkedIn for anyone who is not Generation Y.
  9. Word of mouth. Whilst social media is all about connecting online, we only tend to use sites that someone has recommended. Most people have by now heard success stories from friends finding a job or a new client through LinkedIn. Did you ever hear that about Facebook or Twitter? I rest my case.
  10. It’s real. Apart from a few dummy profiles set up by headhunters to find new vacancies, everyone on LinkedIn are themselves. We have our real names, our real pictures and we’re listed under our real employer. The terms and conditions of LinkedIn state that you have to be truthful on your profile and you may only have one. Compare this to Twitter or MySpace where you’re just as likely to be known as CyberKitten and sport a neon colored avatar as you would be using your own name and image.

Do you agree with these 10 reasons? Can you add the eleventh and twelfth reason behind LinkedIn’s success? Please add your comment below!

And don’t miss the 10 Best LinkedIn Headlines of Recruiters.

By Jörgen Sundberg

Founder of Undercover Recruiter & CEO of Link Humans, home of The Employer Brand Index.