Nearly 60% of LinkedIn users have high personal incomes and hold executive-level or consultant positions, and those who are decision-makers in their jobs are more likely to be active networkers, according to a survey of members of the professional networking site conducted by LinkedIn, Anderson Analytics and software partner SPSS.
The first-ever survey of LinkedIn members uncovers a strong correlation between personal income, professional success and the use of LinkedIn. For instance, those with personal annual incomes between $200K and $350K were seven times more likely than those who made less to have more than 150 LinkedIn connections.
Executives who have average annual incomes of $104K make up about 28% of LinkedIn users; while another 30% are networkers who make an average of $93,000 and often identify themselves as consultants. More casual or newer users had incomes of $88,000 or less.
The research also identified four primary categories of the more than 30 million LinkedIn users worldwide. These include “Savvy Networkers,” early adopters active in other networks; “Senior Executives,” who realize the value of an online professional network; “Late Adopters” who are just now dipping their toes in the social-networking water; and those “Exploring Options” who are active on job-seeking boards.
Savvy Networkers: Estimated at 9 million – or 30% of total users, Savvy Networkers are likely to have started using social networking earlier than others, are more tech savvy, and more likely to be active on other social networking sites such as Facebook. Savvy Networkers have the most connections (61 on average) and are more likely than other segments to use LinkedIn for a wide variety of purposes other than job searching. They have the second-highest average personal income ($93,500) and may often have the word “consultant” in their job description.
Senior Executives: Estimated at 8.4 million – or 28% of total users, members of this group are somewhat less tech savvy and are using LinkedIn to connect to their existing corporate networks. They have power jobs that they are content with, and are likely to have been invited by a colleague and then realized how many key contacts were on the site before they started building connections (32 on average). Senior Executives have the highest average personal income ($104K) and have titles such as owner, partner, executive, or Associate.
Late Adopters: Estimated at 6.6 million – or 22% of users, Late Adopters are likely to have received numerous requests from friends and co-workers before deciding to join. They are somewhat less tech savvy and are careful about how they use LinkedIn, tending to connect only to close friends and colleagues. Members of this group have the fewest number of connections (23 on average). Late Adopters have the lowest average personal income ($88K) and have titles such as teacher, medical professional, lawyer, or the word “account” or “assistant” in their job description.
Exploring Options: Comprise approximately 6.1 million – or 20% of total users. Members of this group may be working, but are open and looking for other job options, often on CareerBuilder.com. According to LinkedIn, this might be because they have the lowest average personal income ($87.5K). They are fairly tech savvy and use social networking for both corporate and personal interests.
“Anderson Analytics was able to utilize data and text mining software in order to show the breadth of professionals on LinkedIn, and leverage users’ profiles to predict their purchasing power and decision-making authority within their organizations,” said Liz Reaves, product manager at LinkedIn. “With these tools and analytical techniques, it is possible to target and segment specific professional groups very effectively.”
Additional survey findings:
- Most LinkedIn users connect to people they know, including those they’ve met only over the phone.
- Users like the professional and business-oriented look and feel of LinkedIn compared to other social networking sites.
- LinkedIn users tend to be more senior (56% are “individual contributors,” 16% are management level, and 28% are director/VP level or above).
- The majority (66%) are decision makers or have influence in purchase decisions at their companies; decision makers also tend to be more active on LinkedIn.
“This survey shows that online social networks are not only a way for professional groups to stay connected, but powerful tools for business as well,” said Tom H. C. Anderson, Anderson Analytics’ founder and managing partner. “I strongly believe marketers need to go where consumers are in order to listen to and observe them. In this day and age, it’s unrealistic to expect them to come to you and answer your specific questions.”
About the survey: In September 2008, Anderson Analytics initially analyzed overall network statistics among 2,000 random seed users (about half US users and half international) as well as their 51,873 first-level connections. In order to segment users, Anderson Analytics looked at a sample of an additional 12,000 US LinkedIn users and collected additional survey data from 793 of these. Total sample size of the study consisted of 65,873 records.