As technology partners tend to be early adopters of some types of social media, I thought it might be interesting to look at how some individuals working in technology partners are using social media. Now, I have railed on about small samples with big pretentions, but I thought I would share with you some crude observations of the first 109 individuals I looked at. They were from around the world working in various job functions in companies varying in size from large enterprises to medium sized businesses, with an even split between those with technical, sales and line management roles. There were 17 individuals from APAC, 48 from EMEA, 1 from Latin America and 43 from the US. I only looked at whether they had a LinkedIn profile and how many contacts they had. I may broaden this to 500 individuals, time permitting, to get more a accurate picture. Though some individuals on LinkedIn keep their profiles hidden, revealing only their job function, I knew enough about these people’s responsibilities to know there were none like that in this sample.
In the US, 23% had no profile, whilst in Europe that figure rose to 40%. Of the 6 Germans in the sample, none had LinkedIn profiles. Checking on Xing, which originated in Germany, I could not find them there either. Likewise of the 9 people from Singapore, China, Japan and Korea, none had LinkedIn profiles. In India, France and the US there was much evidence of use. In the US, of those who had profiles, there were on average 64 contacts, whilst in EMEA it was 65. The crude observations are these – LinkedIn is popular in India, some European countries and the US. Penetration is low in most Asian countries and Germany.
How is LinkedIn being used? One can surmise that the most obvious reason contact lists are built is because people wish to feather their nest in preparation for a company switch, but many people use it as a glorified contact list. As with Plaxo, you can be fairly certain that if someone changes company, you will still be able to get in touch. But are they using it, as headhunters do, to prospect – to look for contacts of contacts? I am told that is how it is being used by some partners. A recommendation from an existing client is a powerful endorsement – but why not just ask the client directly instead? Perhaps the best endorsement they make will be a phone call to another decision maker not on LinkedIn.