I became a LinkedIn member when it first arrived on the scene as an exclusive social network for business professionals. I recall all the buzz that was spreading throughout Silicon Valley about LinkedIn, and that one needed a special “invite” to become a member. Looking back, I remember how honored I felt to be “linkedin” by a fellow colleague — I was officially in the club! Over the years, I have watched the social network evolve into an effective recruitment platform (disclaimer: I got my analyst job thanks to a Forrester recruiter who found me on LinkedIn), then to a content publishing platform after it added Slideshare, a newsfeed and its popular influencer program.
Today, LinkedIn is attracting a plethora of B2B and B2C brands that are trying to build a presence in front of 300 million professionals. There are currently more than 3 million company pages on LinkedIn. All of this brand activity begs the question: What engagement rates are brands getting on LinkedIn? We looked at the top 50 global brands and their member interactions across a variety of social networks. We found that LinkedIn’s engagement rate was lower than other social networks that also have professional members:
Why does LinkedIn’s engagement rate lag behind the others? Members simply do not go to LinkedIn to interact with brands after they have purchased a brand’s product. Marketers understand this — only 5% use LinkedIn for a social relationship objective (e.g. drive customer loyalty, provide customer service).
Young consumers are now almost always connected to media — which would rationally lead you to think that the more times and places they are connected, the more ways there are (and the easier it is) to interact with them. This is where market researchers need to step in and push their companies to dig deeper than just measuring the time spent on a media channel. They need to truly understand these consumers' core motivations for using it.
More than 90% of 12- to 17-year-olds who are active on social networks have an account on Facebook, which is their go-to social network, no doubt. But they haven't completely abandoned other networks: almost 40% have an account on both Facebook and Myspace.
With 78% of 12- to 17-year-olds having a social networking account, social networking’s power is undeniable. But it's not enough just to look at these channels to see what type of content or information 12- to 17-year-olds are consuming; it's how, why, and when they're consuming it. Without tapping into these deeper motivations, brands will never fully benefit from this social opportunity.
As we witness truly historic events in the Middle East brought about in part by citizens empowered by social networks, we are also seeing disturbing trends that may yet result in social networks becoming a force for evil.
One of the reasons marketing on social networks is so popular is that the consumers a brand can reach are largely active, vocal and willing to connect -- with each other and with their favorite brands. But did you know that 22% of US online adults with cellphones access their social networks via mobile at least monthly? In my new report, I explore research that shows that these particular social networking users are even more active, vocal and willing to connect than the general population.
Consumers who access social networks via mobile over-index on every rung of the Social Technographics® ladder, except for inactives. More interesting? Mobile social users have specific, focused intentions that differ from desktop mobile users: They're interested in immediacy, entertainment, and in knowing which of their friends and favorite places are physically nearby.
Keeping in mind the specific interests of these extremely socially active consumers, marketers can optimize their already-existing social campaigns to make them even more successful for mobile users. For recommendations on how to optimize your own campaigns with little additional effort or cost, check out the full report.
Have you already optimized your social messaging for mobile users? If so, I'd love to hear what you changed and what the results were. Head to the comments section to share your case studies!