In 2011, Lab42 conducted a study on the status of LinkedIn. Back then, LinkedIn had 100 million members. In 2011, 61% of LinkedIn members used the social site for networking, 61% used it for keeping in touch with friends and colleagues and 55% used it for co-worker networking.
Since 2011, LinkedIn has almost quadrupled in members to 380 million strong worldwide. Through this growth they have implemented several new, and significant changes that transformed it from a social networking site to a valuable marketing resource for business professionals and B2B marketers. Here are a few of the most significant changes the platform has seen:
- Company Pages: When LinkedIn revised its Company Pages in October of 2012, this was a significant change in the way companies and organizations projected their presence on the internet. It allowed companies to promote their brand online in a more effective manner because it made the connection between a company website and the social media site transparent. Having a company page on LinkedIn is like having an extension of your website on another network – which is important for back linking and overall search engine optimization.
- Skills and Endorsements: The ability to endorse individuals for their skills, which launched in September 2012, has been another important contribution to the LinkedIn service. Skills and Endorsements allow individuals to be recognized by peers, friends, colleagues, and customers for skills and expertise that they possess. B2B marketers can use this information to conduct research on prospective customers and to determine whether someone might be a good fit for their products and services.
- Sponsored Updates: In July 2013, LinkedIn launched one of its most valuable and significant updates to its service with the Sponsored Updates ad service. Sponsored ads help organizations to raise awareness and get the word out about their brand across all platforms. Sponsored ads allow individuals to use comprehensive targeting options to reach their intended audience and allows people to build relationships and drive leads.
The changes LinkedIn has made over the past four years have helped to shape the way B2B marketers use social media for business purposes. Whether endorsing colleagues and clients, promoting a company page, or using sponsored ads, B2B marketers can use LinkedIn to demonstrate brand loyalty or insights about a company, conduct research on prospective companies and individuals, or to reach a very specific target market depending on their goals and objectives.