Professional networking site LinkedIn now has over 50 million members across the Asia-Pacific, but the ways people are using the site are far from uniform.
While the site is predominantly focused on professional people promoting their skills and connecting, it also enables businesses to engage in recruitment and content marketing and can even serve as a platform for singles to find love.
The figure of 50 million is triple the amount the site had when it first launched its regional centre in Singapore in May 2011.
Australia has over five million LinkedIn members, with over two million joining in 2013.
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In India it has 24 million members and in China it has over four million. Indonesia and the Philippines have over two million members each, and Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, and New Zealand all have over a million members each.
New data shows technology companies are the most followed by members on LinkedIn across the Asia-Pacific, while top industries represented on the site include banking and financial services and telecommunications.
LinkedIn Asia-Pacific and Japan managing director Hari Krishnan said the strong growth in membership was “great encouragement” for the business.
“Whether it’s expanding professional connections, tapping critical talent or marketing and selling to this influential audience, we’re excited to be able to help connect the dots and create economic opportunities for everyone.”
The top five companies followed on LinkedIn by Australian members are Google, Rio Tinto, Telstra, Commonwealth Bank and National Australia Bank. While all are large corporations, small businesses are increasingly promoting their jobs and services on the site.
Digital media expert and director of Bendalls Group, Fi Bendall, has previously provided SmartCompany with a number of tips on how to successfully use LinkedIn to build your personal and business profile.
Today she offered some more suggestions, stressing the importance of updating your profile with fresh content regularly.
She says she took up a challenge to update her profile with newsworthy content once a day, every day, for 30 days. She says the next 30 Day Linking Blitz Group is set to start in late February.
“You have a whole community of others in the group doing the same, and sharing with one another the best tips of the day,” she says. “This is always useful when technology is changing and new features are being added at a speed of light.”
Bendall recommends getting a friend or colleague to critique your LinkedIn profile, and to heed their honest opinion on how you could present your career and business better.
“I have done this numerous times for friends, peers and colleagues and them for me. Seeing yourself through others’ eyes can really help to project yourself and make your profile better.”
To assist with search optimisation on LinkedIn, Bendall recommends quoting the number of projects and companies you have dealt with as clients, not just as an employee.
“People search by many company names all the time, and your experience may just be what they need, because in the past one of your clients was XYZ,” she says.
If joining groups, she says not to join just for the sake of it, but to actively participate in them.
“It is amazing the social reach you can achieve on LinkedIn. These days it is more effective than Twitter, in terms of one-to-one meaningful social media engagement.
“Last but not least, please don’t spam people with messages. It is really annoying. Ask if they are interested in hearing from you, before you pen six paragraphs pitching them.”
In addition to Bendall’s advice, small businesses that operate a LinkedIn page should have a clear workplace policy to stipulate that the page is owned by the company, not the employee managing the site.
An employee in the United Kingdom was recently ordered to hand over the log-in details of four LinkedIn group accounts to her former employer. The employee set up the LinkedIn accounts in the course of her employment and also used them for personal reasons. Upon leaving the company, the employee tried to keep the groups as her own.
Small business owners looking to hire staff via LinkedIn should also watch out for people lying on their LinkedIn CV.