Majority of Britons now use Facebook or Twitter (statistics)

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The latest data from the Office of National Statistics n the UK shows that, for the first time ever, over half of adults accessed social networking sites in 2011. The annual British Internet Habits survey showed that in 2011, 57% of over-16s in the UK are using the internet for social networking, as opposed to 43% in 2010. This is a significant landmark, and the rate of growth is impressive and it shows the importance of social networking in the lives of British adults.

Digging deeper into these statistics we can start to understand more about use of social networking in the UK:

  • Women are more likely than men to have used social networks, with 60% of them using such sites in 2011 (compared with 54% of men)
  • Social networks are all but ubiquitous for the 16-24 year olds, with 91% of this age range using them. Usage is high for the 25-34 year old (76%) and 35-44 year olds (58%).
  • Almost one in five of those aged 65+ use social networks (18%)

Alongside this marked increase in the use of social networks in the last year, the survey data reveals more about how British adults are using the internet:

  • The most popular activity online is, unsurprisingly, to find information about good or services that people want to buy - this reinforces the importance of his channel in the education and buying process
  • Men are more likely than women to consume news online (57% compared with 47%)
  • Almost one in three UK adults (31%) have sold their own goods online
  • Professional networking (such as LinkedIn) is most popular with those aged 25-34 and 25-44
  • The use of internet for phone calls is increasing - with 29% of UK adults making a call over the Internet in 2011
  • Internet access from mobile devices is increasing dramatically - with 45% of UK adults accessing the Internet from these devices, up from 31% in 2010.

However, this data also highlights the 23% of the UK population who have no access to the Internet at home, with half of these people saying that they have no need for the Internet at all.

5 key changes to LinkedIn apps

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I realise that last Friday saw the ‘official’ end of LinkedIn Week here at FreshNetworks,  culminating in the launch of our new report about the growth, current use and future direction of LinkedIn.

However LinkedIn has just launched new upgrades to its app portfolio which promise to address the issue of bugs, as well as introducing a new range of features.

Key updates include:

1. Introduction of a news stream

More aligned with other popular social networks, LinkedIn has now introduced a news stream to their app.

At the top of the app you can access information from LinkedIn Today, which contains news sources that users swipe to view or select particular categories. Below the LinkedIn Today strip is the stream of updates, job changes and other information about your LinkedIn contacts.

2. Easy to scan profiles

Say you’re about to head to a business meeting and you need some information about the person you’re meeting. Or you’re at an event and have just met someone you should remember but can’t quite place where you would’ve met them before in your professional life.

The new LinkedIn app allows you to do a a quick scan of people’s profiles, as well as connect with them during or after the meeting. You can also check the latest updates from that person  quickly and easily.

3. Easier screen navigation

The new apps have a main navigation screen that is clear and easy to navigate. It’s also easy on the eye - something not previously the case with LinkedIn apps.

The new app has detailed and intricate icons, including a “name badge” for your individual LinkedIn profile and a mail envelope for your LinkedIn messages. There’s also an icon for sending and receiving messages in LinkedIn Groups.

4. HTML5 mobile version

LinkedIn has also launched a mobile HTML5 version of its service. The mobile site is designed for people who don’t have the mobile app, or for people who get LinkedIn emails, such as the weekly “network updates”. Previously, when people received these emails on a mobile phone and clicked on a person with a new job, they would go to the full website, which is difficult to read. Now people will get sent to an easy-to-read mobile version of the site. Because it uses HTML5, it has app-like features such as swiping through pages too.

5. CardMunch

Ok, so this is not quite a key change as yet, but as mentioned by Forbes, LinkedIn also recently bought CardMunch, an application for quickly scanning business cards and converting them to contacts on your phone. Nothing has been rolled out just yet but it’s pretty likely that LinkedIn are working on something that could add even more value to LinkedIn apps.

By rolling out  new iPhone, Android and HTML5 apps, LinkedIn are clearly trying to encourage members to think of the platform as more ‘everyday service’ for professionals to access on the go at the touch of a button, rather than just a tool for recruiters and job seekers.

Report download - The growth, current use and future direction of LinkedIn

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Today sees an end to our focus on LinkedIn and the launch of our new report about the growth, current use and future direction of LinkedIn.

You can DOWNLOAD A FREE COPY OF OUR REPORT HERE.

Our report looks at:

  • How LinkedIn has grown to become the world’s biggest professional online network.
  • Our predictions for the future growth of LinkedIn.
  • How brands and businesses should use LinkedIn.
  • The top 10 companies on LinkedIn.
  • LinkedIn’s tops tips getting started.
  • The future direction of LinkedIn.
  • An Interview with Ngaire Moyes, Director of Communications EMEA, LinkedIn.

It would be great to hear any comments or thoughts you have about the report, as well as how you’re currently using LinkedIn as part of your own personal or company’s social media strategy.

4 ways brands and businesses can use LinkedIn

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Last year, Guy Kawasaki,  wrote a guest post for the LinkedIn Blog about how small businesses can use LinkedIn.

In his post, Kawasaki advised companies to be transparent in order to attract both prospective clients and employees.

While the post focuses on small businesses, some of the points he raises can be applied to businesses of all sizes.

Here are some of our own thoughts, as well as some of Kawasaki’s own words of wisdom, on some of the ways that brands and businesses can use LinkedIn.

1.    Win new business by answering questions in your area of expertise

Currently 17.8 million LinkedIn users are members of groups and 1.2 million post comments to groups every week.

If employees are demonstrating expertise and providing sound advice within the conversations relevant to their industry, then others will want to find out who they work for, thereby increasing a company’s reputation.

2.    Convince potential customers about your expertise by sharing content

The profile of your company will increase by having a presence in groups on LinkedIn and by sharing knowledge through these groups.

It’s important to think of these people as prospective customers or employees and try to captivate them as much as possible with your content, and then try to convert where possible.

Content can range from adding comments and joining in discussions in relevant groups on LinkedIn, to posting your company’s blog and twitter feeds to your own profile, as well as that of your employees, in order to help people learn more about your brand and business.

If you have resource you could even set up your own group on LinkedIn.

Either way, make sure you only post relevant, timely information that relates to the audience in order to avoid clutter or annoying people with irrelevant content.

3.    Acquire new customers through online recommendations and word of mouth

Nielsen’s Global Online Consumer Survey , which sampled 25,000 Internet consumers from 50 different countries, demonstrates the value of word of mouth, with 90% of respondents trusting recommendations of people they know.

Having a company presence on LinkedIn increases word-of-mouth about your brand.  Plus, getting recommended by a connection on LinkedIn will help to validate your business credentials.

4.    Cut recruitment costs

LinkedIn is a great platform to showcase professional qualifications and experience, and as such it can help businesses save money on recruitment. HR and internal recruiters can view information about potential candidates, as well as contact them, without having to use expensive agencies to provide names and contacts. A leading software provider managed to cut its recruitment budget by 50% significantly thanks to using LinkedIn for recruitment purposes.

The top 10 companies on LinkedIn

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Having already charted how LinkedIn has grown over the last eight years, as well as comparing the growth of LinkedIn to Facebook,  it’s time to take a look at the top 10 companies on LinkedIn.

Users on LinkedIn can be linked to a company in one of two ways; by being an employee or by following the company. The top 10 followed companies on LinkedIn are  IBM, HP, Accenture, Microsoft, Oracle, Deloitte, PwC, Cisco, Apple, Google.

When looking at theses top ten companies on LinkedIn in more detail it becomes clear that there is a leader in both the number of followers and the number of employees on LinkedIn:

The chart shows there’s a clear trend between the size of the company (based on the number of employees on the platform) and the number of followers it has.

On average, each company has almost 2.5 followers for each employee on the site.

However, there are a couple of ‘top performers’ - Apple has six followers to every employee while Google has eight. Perhaps this is not suprising given the ‘aspirational’ nature of both these brands from a professional and personal perspective.