2012 LinkedIn Success Survey Report - Forrest Consulting 7-12-2012

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The 2012 LinkedIn Success Survey addresses how to strategically use LinkedIn for greater benefit. We surveyed LinkedIn "connectors" and "users." The 2012 LinkedIn Success Survey Report offers direction for professionals, executives, managers and entrepreneurs who want to derive greater value from LinkedIn.

Download the free report: http://www.forrestconsult.com/2012linkedinsuccesssurveyreport.html

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2012 LinkedIn Success Survey Report - Forrest Consulting 7-12-2012

  1. 1. Get more value from your network:Lessons from LinkedIn "connectors"2012 LinkedIn Success SurveyJuly 2012The question: How to strategically use the vast LinkedIn social network for greaterprofessional and business benefit? We surveyed LinkedIn "connectors" (people with500 or more contacts) and LinkedIn "users" (people with fewer than 500 contacts) tofind out. Here are 10 things we learned:1. It takes time and attention to become a connector.2. No need to pay to grow the network.3. Engagement is important.4. For a larger network, seek connections (it wont come to you).5. Be open but discerning in adding contacts.6. The form of the "ask" and frequency of profile updates dont affect network size.7. Overall, the connected see more value in the network.8. Be better connected to get more of whatever you want from the network.9. To gain benefits, be proactive (ask!) as well as being connected.10. The connected see value in "taking it real." Lee Crumbaugh, SMP, President Office 630-469-8088 Cell 630-730-9619 leec@strategicbusinessleader.com www.forrestconsult.com www,strategicbusinessleader.com
  2. 2. Get more value from your network:Lessons from LinkedIn "connectors"2012 LinkedIn Success SurveyExecutive SummaryAt Forrest Consulting, we counsel senior management and Boards, provide facilitated strategicplanning, and help tackle management, marketing, revenue-generation, communications and otherissues and opportunities. An area of increasing focus is to grow understanding of how tostrategically use social networks for greater professional and organizational success.THE VALUE OF THE NETWORKInspiration for looking at how to make the most a social network comes from University ofChicago Booth School of Business Professor Ronald Burt, an expert on the value of "real" socialnetworks. Important findings from Burts research: SOCIAL CAPITAL. "...social structure is the kind of capital that can create for individuals or groups an advantage in pursuing their ends. People and groups that do well are somehow better connected." (Brokerage and Closure, Oxford University Press, 2004.) However, while it seems "rewards go to people with well-connected friends," the reality is that "advantage is concentrated in people who are themselves well-connected." Burt quotes the Confucian saying, "Seek to be worth knowing." (Neighbor Networks, Oxford University Press, 2010.) BROKERAGE REWARDS. "Brokers," people whose social networks "bridge the holes" between diverse groups, are "rewarded for their integrative work" with better compensation and evaluations and faster promotion. "Brokers do better" because they are exposed to different information than people who do not venture beyond the group. They are more likely to have "creative ideas and more likely to see a way to implement ideas." (Brokerage and Closure, Oxford University Press, 2004.) "...personal responsibility is a key theme. The competitive advantage of brokerage does not come to people who passively wait for the network to deliver it. The advantage provided by network brokerage depends on personal engagement with conflicting opinion and practice." (Neighbor Networks, Oxford University Press, 2010.)Many other researchers have demonstrated the value of building and using a diverse network.That brings us to the question: How to use LinkedIn for greatest advantage? It is the worlds largestprofessional network on the Internet. More than 160 million people have posted a LinkedIn profile,the site has nearly 110 million unique visitors monthly and it is gaining more than 1 million newmembers every 12 days. Billions of people searches are conducted on LinkedIn every year.2|Page © Forrest Consulting, 2012. Permission to reproduce this report is granted, so long as credit is given to Forrest Consulting.
  3. 3. So how do we best tap this vast network of professionals, executives, managers and entrepreneurs?What are successful practices in building and leveraging ones LinkedIn network?LinkedIn does not show a member how many connections another member has when the numberexceeds 500. While studies have looked at "super connectors," those with 1,000s of contacts, justattaining 500+ connections is an achievement for most people, especially those who are discerningwith whom they will connect. Last year a study by Neuvoo showed that 13% of LinkedIn users hadattained more than 500 connections, according to founder Benjamin Philion.We decided to survey our own LinkedIn network to gain insight on how to use LinkedInstrategically and discern "successful practices." We did not isolate "super connectors" whom weview as less instructive outliers. Instead, we sought to benchmark practices of the still limited groupof members whom we call "connectors," those with 500 or more contacts, and contrast theirpractices with the practices of members whom we call "users," those with fewer than 500 contacts.In July 2012 we issued identical e-surveys to 182 connectors (500 or more contacts) and 603 users(less than 500 contacts). (All LinkedIn members targeted were in the Chicago area to enable face-to-face follow-up if desired.) Completed surveys were returned by 52 connectors (500 or morecontacts), a 31.0% response rate, and 104 users (less than 500 contacts), a 17.2% response rate.This response met our expectations and enables significant conclusions to be drawn from the data.The balance of this executive summary of the 2012 LinkedIn Success Survey summarizes theoverarching findings, some confirming intuition and others less obvious, and offers direction forthose professionals, executives, managers and entrepreneurs who want to derive greater valuefrom LinkedIn. The full survey results follow the executive summary.FINDING #1: IT TAKES TIME AND ATTENTIONConnectors tend to have been LinkedIn members for more years, spend more time on LinkedInand update their profiles more frequently.LinkedIn membership:Connectors Users44% have been members for 5 years or more 28%. have been members for 5 years or more88% have been members for 3 years or more 60% have been members for 3 years or more2% have been members for less than 2 years 19% have been members for less than 2 yearsTime spent on LinkedIn:Connectors Users40% spend 2 hours or more a week 19% spend 2 hours or more a week65% spend 1 hour or more a week 39% spend 1 hour or more a week17% spend less than 30 minutes a week 44% spend less than 30 minutes a week3|Page © Forrest Consulting, 2012. Permission to reproduce this report is granted, so long as credit is given to Forrest Consulting.
  4. 4. Updating:Connectors Users54% update their profile at least monthly 21% update their profile at least monthly46% update their profile rarely 71% update their profile rarely0% never update their profile 8% never update their profileFINDING #2: NO NEED TO PAYSome connectors are benefiting from LinkedIn paid membership, but most connectors have builttheir networks without having paid status.Paid status:Connectors Users25% pay for membership for added features 6% pay for membership for added featuresFINDING #3: ENGAGEMENT IS IMPORTANTConnectors are more likely to interact with their LinkedIn contacts, be highly involved with LinkedIngroups and use LinkedIn answers.Engagement with contacts:Connectors Users0% are INERT - never interact with contacts 6% are INERT - never interact with contacts12% are INACTIVE - rarely interact with contacts 19% are INACTIVE- rarely interact with contacts31% are PASSIVE - mostly just respond to contacts 40% are PASSIVE - mostly just respond to contacts50% are ACTIVE - often interact with contacts 35% are ACTIVE - often interact with contacts8% are ASSERTIVE - constantly work to 0% are ASSERTIVE - constantly work to engage engage contacts engage contactsGroup membership:Connectors Users100% are members of LinkedIn groups 88% are members of LinkedIn groups.Number of groups:Connectors Users21% are in 51 groups 3% are in 51 groups50% are in 20 or more groups 24% are in 20 or more groups29% are in 10 or fewer groups 56% are in 10 or fewer groupsGroup involvement:Connectors Users69% participate in discussions 43% participate in discussions36% start discussions 21% start discussions24% have started one or more groups 10% have started one or more groups4|Page © Forrest Consulting, 2012. Permission to reproduce this report is granted, so long as credit is given to Forrest Consulting.
  5. 5. Use of LinkedIn Answers:Connectors Users40% have used LinkedIn answers 25% have used LinkedIn Answers29% have asked and answered questions 12% have asked and answered questions8% have answered questions only 6% have answered questions only4% have asked questions only 8% have asked questions onlyFINDING #4: FOR A LARGER NETWORK, SEEK CONNECTIONSConnectors have more connections in part because they send more LinkedIn connection requests,seek to connect with "People You May Know" in their connections networks suggested by LinkedIn,and invite connection requests on their profiles.Number of connections:Connectors Users4% have 3,000 or more connections 0% have 3,000 or more connections6% have 2,000 or more connections 0% have 2,000 or more connections13% have 1,500 or more connections 0% have 1,500 or more connections25% have 1,000 or more connections 0% have 1,000 or more connections100% have 500 or more connections 0% have 500 or more connections0% have fewer than 500 connections 100% have fewer than 500 connectionsShare of connections made because member sent a LinkedIn connection request:Connectors Users2% sent 80%-100% a connection request 4% sent 80%-100% a connection request35% sent 60%-80% a connection request 20% sent 60%-80% a connection request35% sent 40%-60% a connection request 38% sent 40%-60% a connection request21% sent 20-40% a connection request 12% sent 20-40% a connection request8% sent 0%-20% a connection request 27% sent 0%-20% a connection requestFrequency of asking "People You May Know" suggested by LinkedIn to connect:Connectors Users2% ask those suggested at least daily 0% ask those suggested at least daily4% ask those suggested at least several times weekly 0% ask those suggested at least several times weekly27% ask those suggested at least weekly 10% ask those suggested at least weekly77% ask those suggested at least monthly 31% ask those suggested at least monthly23% rarely ask those suggested 46% rarely ask those suggested0% never ask those suggested 14% never ask those suggestedShare who state on their profile that they invite connection requests:Connectors Users63% invite connection requests 48% invite connection requests5|Page © Forrest Consulting, 2012. Permission to reproduce this report is granted, so long as credit is given to Forrest Consulting.
  6. 6. FINDING #5: BE OPEN BUT DISCERNINGConnectors are more likely to seek connections and they are more likely accept connections frompeople they have not met outside of LinkedIn. However, they are highly likely to be discerning indetermining with whom they connect and not just blindly seek and accept connections.Share of contacts known before connecting on LinkedIn:Connectors Users6% knew all before connecting 17% knew all before connecting37% knew from 80% to 100% before connecting 40% knew from 80% to 100% before connecting21% knew from 60% to 80% before connecting 15% knew from 60% to 80% before connecting17% knew from 40% to 60% before connecting 10% knew from 40% to 60% before connecting12% knew from 20% to 40% before connecting 14% knew from 20% to 40% before connecting8% knew from 0% to 20% before connecting 4% knew from 0% to 20% before connectingHow handle unsolicited connection requests:Connectors Users6% don’t accept unsolicited requests 2% don’t accept unsolicited requests17% regularly ignore requests from strangers 25% regularly ignore requests from strangers64% usually check profile to decide if will connect 59% usually check profile to decide if will connect10% accept most requests 12% accept most requests2% accept all requests 1% accept all requests2% must meet person before accepting request 2% must meet person before accepting requestFINDING #6: SOME THINGS DONT MATTERSurprisingly, connectors are no different than users as to whether they tailor their connectionrequest or use LinkedIns standard message. (In any case, its good form to personalize your ask!)Another surprise is that the share of connectors and users who state on their profiles that they areopen networkers (see to connect widely and accept unsolicited requests) are virtually identical.Being an open networker has no bearing on whether you become a connector.Type of connection request message usually sent:Connectors Users31% use LinkedIns standard message 31% use LinkedIns standard message10% use their own standard message 10% use their own standard message60% tailor their message 59% tailor their messageShare who state on their profile that they are an open networker:Connectors Users28% state they are an open networker 27% state they are an open networker6|Page © Forrest Consulting, 2012. Permission to reproduce this report is granted, so long as credit is given to Forrest Consulting.
  7. 7. FINDING #7: OVERALL, THE CONNECTED SEE MORE VALUE IN THE NETWORKConnectors and users agree: Its important to receive referrals and recommendations andinformation and intelligence from the network. On the other hand, neither most connectors normost users see their network as important for testing products or services.Connectors see higher value in and place greater importance on other things they can gain from thenetwork: Providing business and job leads, qualified job candidates and business partners; serving asa sounding board; and providing or qualifying business ideas.Users place greater importance than connectors on receiving LinkedIn profile improvements fromtheir network.Share that say they see LinkedIn as being important for providing:Connectors Users90% - very/somewhat important in providing 69% - very/somewhat important in providing business leads business leads71% - very/somewhat important in providing 58% - very/somewhat important in providing job leads job leads89% - very/somewhat important in providing 89% - very/somewhat important in providing referrals and recommendations referrals and recommendations92% - very/somewhat important in providing 91% - very/somewhat important in providing information and intelligence information and intelligence63% - very/somewhat important in serving 60% - very/somewhat important in serving as a sounding board as a sounding board55% - very/somewhat important in providing 32% - very/somewhat important in providing job candidates job candidates63% - very/somewhat important in providing 54% - very/somewhat important in providing business partners business partners65% - very/somewhat important in providing 47% - very/somewhat important in providing or qualifying business ideas or qualifying business ideas29% - very/somewhat important in testing 22% - very/somewhat important in testing products or services products or services33% - very/somewhat important in suggesting 40% - very/somewhat important in suggesting LinkedIn profile improvements LinkedIn profile improvements7|Page © Forrest Consulting, 2012. Permission to reproduce this report is granted, so long as credit is given to Forrest Consulting.
  8. 8. FINDING #8: BE BETTER CONNECTED TO GET MORE OF WHAT YOU WANTConnectors get more from their network. They are more likely to get invitations to meet and toattend a function or event. They are more likely to receive an unsolicited business or job referral,reference or recommendation. They are more likely to get a business offer. They are more likelyto be connected by a contact with another contact for mutual benefit.But connectors also get asked for more from their network. Connectors are more likely to give acontact valuable information and to be asked to give a contact a referral, reference orrecommendation.Share that say they have received from a connection:Connectors Users72% have been invited by a contact to meet 49% have been invited by a contact to meet74% have been invited to a worthwhile event 42% have been invited to a worthwhile event or function or function72% have given a contact valuable information 47% have given a contact valuable information62% have received an unsolicited business or job 34% have received an unsolicited business or job referral, reference or recommendation referral, reference or recommendation80% have been asked to give a referral, 57% have been asked to give a referral, reference or recommendation reference or recommendation38% have received a business offer 14% have received a business offer74% have been connected by a contact with 48% have been connected by a contact with another contact for mutual benefit another contact for mutual benefitFINDING #9: TO GAIN BENEFITS, BE PROACTIVE AS WELL AS CONNECTEDConnectors are more likely to use their network to gain benefits by being proactive in seeking whatthey want, be it a meeting, a contact to join them at a function or event, valuable information, areferral, reference or recommendation, or acceptance of a business offer. They are more likely toproactively give a contact a referral and to bring contacts together for mutual benefit.Share who state they have used their network to achieve:Connectors Users61% have sought and obtained meeting 35% have sought and obtained meeting57% have invited a contact to a function or event 30% have invited a contact to a function or event75% have gained valuable information 59% have gained valuable information67% have sought and received a referral, 43% have sought and received a referral, reference or recommendation reference or recommendation77% have given a contact a referral 54% have given a contact a referral18% have made a business offer 7% have made a business offer78% have brought together contacts 48% have brought together contacts8|Page © Forrest Consulting, 2012. Permission to reproduce this report is granted, so long as credit is given to Forrest Consulting.
  9. 9. FINDING #10: THE CONNECTED SEE VALUE IN "TAKING IT REAL"Connectors have interest in "taking it real" by moving beyond the Internet to interact face-to-facewith other connectors for greater interaction and mutual benefit.Share interested in group and face-to-face interaction with their network:Connectors83% very/somewhat interested in joining a new LinkedIn group with other Chicago-area connectors for great interaction and mutual assistance81% very/somewhat interested in meeting face-to-face with other Chicago-area connectors for great interaction and mutual assistance88% very/somewhat interested in participating in a facilitated small group of Chicago-area connectors structured to deepen relationships and value derived over timeWHAT NEXT?As with any survey, the results of the 2012 LinkedIn Success Survey leave us not fully satisfied.First, the results raise as many questions as they answer. Here are two related questions of manymore that might be asked: Chicken or egg? Are the best networkers outside of LinkedIn the best networkers on LinkedIn? Is a large network outside of LinkedIn a key to having a large network within LinkedIn?Second, the survey had instances of confusing wording - but all questions yielded useful information.Third, those who provided information are certainly not fully representative the general profile ofLinkedIns population of professionals, executives, managers and entrepreneurs. Yet the oftendramatic differences between connector and user responses and diversity of the respondents(excepting geographic) increase confidence that the findings are meaningful. (See the full results forinformation on respondents sex, age. education, business or industry and job function.)Finally, had we segregated recruiters we could have seen how they use their network differently (ifthats the case)- but inspection of replies shows little bias introduced into the results by recruiters.Despite these limitations, the survey results give those wanting more from their LinkedIn networkways to increase the value of this strategic asset and a view of the strong benefits that can flowfrom being "connected" and proactive on LinkedIn.______________________________________________________________________We very much appreciate the contributions of the 156 LinkedIn members who completed our 2012 LinkedInSuccess Survey and freely shared information on their LinkedIn network, how they use their network, thebenefits they have received and what they want to derive from their network.The detailed survey results follow, comparing the results from the connectors and the results from the users.We welcome your thoughts on this research.9|Page © Forrest Consulting, 2012. Permission to reproduce this report is granted, so long as credit is given to Forrest Consulting.
  10. 10. _______________________________________________________________________How long have you been a LinkedIn member?Connectors:Users:10 | P a g e © Forrest Consulting, 2012. Permission to reproduce this report is granted, so long as credit is given to Forrest Consulting.
  11. 11. ________________________________________________________________________On average, how much time do you spend on LinkedIn on a weekly basis?Connectors:Users:11 | P a g e © Forrest Consulting, 2012. Permission to reproduce this report is granted, so long as credit is given to Forrest Consulting.
  12. 12. ________________________________________________________________________What type of LinkedIn member are you?Connectors:Users:12 | P a g e © Forrest Consulting, 2012. Permission to reproduce this report is granted, so long as credit is given to Forrest Consulting.
  13. 13. _________________________________________________________________On average, how often do you update your Linkedin profile?Connectors:Users:13 | P a g e © Forrest Consulting, 2012. Permission to reproduce this report is granted, so long as credit is given to Forrest Consulting.
  14. 14. _________________________________________________________________Are you a member of one or more LinkedIn groups?Connectors:Users:14 | P a g e © Forrest Consulting, 2012. Permission to reproduce this report is granted, so long as credit is given to Forrest Consulting.
  15. 15. _________________________________________________________________How many LinkedIn groups do you belong to?Connectors:Users:15 | P a g e © Forrest Consulting, 2012. Permission to reproduce this report is granted, so long as credit is given to Forrest Consulting.
  16. 16. _________________________________________________________________What is your involvement with LinkedIn groups? (Check all that apply)Connectors:Users:16 | P a g e © Forrest Consulting, 2012. Permission to reproduce this report is granted, so long as credit is given to Forrest Consulting.
  17. 17. _________________________________________________________________Have you used LinkedIn Answers?Connectors:Users:17 | P a g e © Forrest Consulting, 2012. Permission to reproduce this report is granted, so long as credit is given to Forrest Consulting.
  18. 18. _________________________________________________________________How many LinkedIn connections do you have?Connectors:Users:18 | P a g e © Forrest Consulting, 2012. Permission to reproduce this report is granted, so long as credit is given to Forrest Consulting.
  19. 19. _________________________________________________________________What share of your LinkedIn contacts did you know before connecting onLinkedIn?Connectors:Users:19 | P a g e © Forrest Consulting, 2012. Permission to reproduce this report is granted, so long as credit is given to Forrest Consulting.
  20. 20. _________________________________________________________________What share of the people in your LinkedIn network are connected to youbecause you sent them a LinkedIn invitation (as opposed to them invitingyou to connect)?Connectors:Users:20 | P a g e © Forrest Consulting, 2012. Permission to reproduce this report is granted, so long as credit is given to Forrest Consulting.
  21. 21. _________________________________________________________________On average, how often do you send connection requests to "People You MayKnow" shown to you by LinkedIn?Connectors:Users:21 | P a g e © Forrest Consulting, 2012. Permission to reproduce this report is granted, so long as credit is given to Forrest Consulting.
  22. 22. _________________________________________________________________When you make a LinkedIn connection request, what message do you sendthe person whom you are asking to connect with you?Connectors:Users:22 | P a g e © Forrest Consulting, 2012. Permission to reproduce this report is granted, so long as credit is given to Forrest Consulting.
  23. 23. _________________________________________________________________Please select the statement that most closely describes how you handleLinkedIn connection requests.Connectors:Users:23 | P a g e © Forrest Consulting, 2012. Permission to reproduce this report is granted, so long as credit is given to Forrest Consulting.
  24. 24. _________________________________________________________________Does your LinkedIn profile state that you are an open networker?Connectors:Users:24 | P a g e © Forrest Consulting, 2012. Permission to reproduce this report is granted, so long as credit is given to Forrest Consulting.
  25. 25. _________________________________________________________________Does your LinkedIn profile invite connection requests?Connectors:Users:25 | P a g e © Forrest Consulting, 2012. Permission to reproduce this report is granted, so long as credit is given to Forrest Consulting.
  26. 26. _________________________________________________________________Which answer best describes how you interact with your LinkedIn network?Connectors:Users:26 | P a g e © Forrest Consulting, 2012. Permission to reproduce this report is granted, so long as credit is given to Forrest Consulting.
  27. 27. _________________________________________________________________Please check all the ways you have used your LinkedIn network.Connectors:Users:27 | P a g e © Forrest Consulting, 2012. Permission to reproduce this report is granted, so long as credit is given to Forrest Consulting.
  28. 28. _________________________________________________________________Please check all the ways your LinkedIn contacts have interacted with you.Connectors:Users:28 | P a g e © Forrest Consulting, 2012. Permission to reproduce this report is granted, so long as credit is given to Forrest Consulting.
  29. 29. _________________________________________________________________Please rate the importance of the ways in which your network might be ofvalue to you.Connectors:Users:29 | P a g e © Forrest Consulting, 2012. Permission to reproduce this report is granted, so long as credit is given to Forrest Consulting.
  30. 30. _________________________________________________________________Please rate your interest in the following ideas for getting greater value fromyour LinkedIn network.Connectors:Users:30 | P a g e © Forrest Consulting, 2012. Permission to reproduce this report is granted, so long as credit is given to Forrest Consulting.
  31. 31. _________________________________________________________________What is your gender?Connectors:Users:31 | P a g e © Forrest Consulting, 2012. Permission to reproduce this report is granted, so long as credit is given to Forrest Consulting.
  32. 32. _________________________________________________________________What is your age range?Connectors:Users:32 | P a g e © Forrest Consulting, 2012. Permission to reproduce this report is granted, so long as credit is given to Forrest Consulting.
  33. 33. _________________________________________________________________What is the highest level of education that you have completed?Connectors:Users:33 | P a g e © Forrest Consulting, 2012. Permission to reproduce this report is granted, so long as credit is given to Forrest Consulting.
  34. 34. _________________________________________________________________What is your job function?Connectors:Users:34 | P a g e © Forrest Consulting, 2012. Permission to reproduce this report is granted, so long as credit is given to Forrest Consulting.
  35. 35. _________________________________________________________________In what line of business or industry do you work?Connectors:Users:35 | P a g e © Forrest Consulting, 2012. Permission to reproduce this report is granted, so long as credit is given to Forrest Consulting.

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