Who are you connecting with on LinkedIn?

As a college graduate transitioning into the professional world, I’ve used LinkedIn as a networking tool, contributing to the fact that students and recent college graduates are the fastest-growing demographic on LinkedIn. This demographic accounts for 39 million members of this social networking site.

However, recent grads like myself only makes up a tiny percentage of total LinkedIn members. Since its launch in May of 2003, LinkedIn has accumulated more than 300 million members around the world with 67% of those members living outside of the U.S.

LinkedIn users are comparably different from any other demographic of social networking members. It attracts people interested in a more professional networking platform in comparison to Facebook or Twitter, sites which tend to be more social, relaxed environments for connecting.

Social Media Site Usage

Image from Pew Research Center Social Media Update 2013

LinkedIn Demographic Breakdown

The Pew Research Center released the results of their social media study at the end of 2013, revealing that 22% of all adult internet users use LinkedIn, compared to 20% who used it in 2012. The site is currently used by more online adults than Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram. Let’s learn a little bit more about that 22%…

Usage by Gender

On a global scale, male LinkedIn members outnumber female members: males account for 63% of total members. However, US averages show a more even split between the sexes: 51% female, 49% male.

To view the gender breakdown from another perspective, Pew Research Center found that 24% of adult male and 19% of adult female internet users use LinkedIn.

Usage by Age

LinkedIn tends to attract a slightly older demographic. 51% of users are between the ages of 30 and 64 while only 15% of users fall into the 18-29 age bracket.

LinkedIn Usage by Age Group

Data from Pew Research Center Social Media Update 2013

Usage by Education Level

LinkedIn Usage Data

Image from Pew Research Center Social Media Update 2013

LinkedIn is used the most by individuals with a college degree or higher.

  • 12% of online adults with high school degrees or less use LinkedIn
  • 16% of online adults with some college education are on LinkedIn
  • 38% of online adults with a college degree or higher use LinkedIn

Usage by Income

Trends for LinkedIn usage by income level expose that LinkedIn is a networking site for financially successful professionals. Individuals who receive smaller incomes are less likely to have a LinkedIn account.

Of all online adults who earn:

  • Less than $30,000/year, 12% use LinkedIn
  • $30,000-$49,000/year, 13% use LinkedIn
  • $50,000-$74,999/year, 22% use LinkedIn
  • $75,000 or more/year, 38% use LinkedIn

Frequency of Use

Usage patterns for LinkedIn reveal that only 13% of users access the site daily, 34% weekly and 52% less often than that.

LinkedIn Web Traffic

In the United States, a majority of page views on the LinkedIn site originate from computer browsers. Only 5% of traffic comes from mobile device, leaving the other 95% of traffic directed from computers.

Additionally, more often than not, people are visiting LinkedIn from home computers instead of computers at work. In the U.S., only 38% of visits come from business computers.

What LinkedIn User Data Suggests About How Businesses Use LinkedIn

Now that I’ve thrown all these numbers at you, you may be thinking, “Why should I care about this?” Well, I’ll tell you why…

Understanding Your Audience

As a business, it’s extremely important to understand your audience and who your messages are reaching when you share content on social media sites. If your business is active on LinkedIn, did you realize your brand is likely to be reaching a global audience, not just people in the U.S.? The fact that the main demographic on LinkedIn consists of well educated, established professionals may influence the content you share and the tone you use when posting company updates. Because the site is usually visited much less frequently than other social networking sites, like Facebook or Twitter, posting company updates on a daily or even weekly basis may not be absolutely necessary for your company.

Create a Company Page

Even if you have your own individual page, you might want to consider creating a company page specifically for your business. This page would act as another outlet for sharing information about your business, such as career opportunities or marketing materials. For professionals interested in learning about other companies, your company page can be a great resource for them to discover job opportunities as well as industry news and updates.

Just remember that even if your business maintains accounts on various social media sites, these sites don’t replace your need for a website. Your website is your online home base and your social media sites work as funnels to direct visitors back to your site.

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