A third of Australians are now using LinkedIn, with the professional social media network recently clocking over 8 million users Down Under.
In 2010, when LinkedIn established its physical office in Australia, the site had 1 million local users. It has seen incredible growth since then, with a large portion of Australia’s professional workforce now on the platform.
Professionals who work in technology or telecommunications are the most likely to have a LinkedIn profile, followed by those in financial services, professional services, retail and consumer products, and architecture and engineering.
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However, one expert doubts Australians are making the most of the site.
Dionne Lew, chief executive of social media consultancy The Social Executive, told SmartCompany that despite LinkedIn being a “really sophisticated system”, most people simply use it to post their CVs online.
“What many professionals are doing are seeing LinkedIn and thinking ‘I should make an account,’ then use it as an online CV,” Lew says.
“They’re like those who go to a cocktail party and then stand in the corner – they’re not getting anything out of it.”
Lew, who has also written several books on the utility of social media to businesses, isn’t surprised at the large number of Australians who have flocked to the platform.
“It’s basically the entire professional population, I don’t think it’s surprising the number is so high,” she says.
“It’s 14 years old now, it’s not new. It’s been going globally with over 400 million users so it’s not surprising at all.”
The benefits: Global connections and a ready-made blog
Making global connections appears to be one of the key reasons Australians use LinkedIn, with 20% of Australian connections coming from outside of Australia.
Australians are connecting most with fellow professionals in the United States, the United Kingdom and India.
New Zealand is fourth on the list of most popular connections, while Singapore rounds out the top five.
While Lew believes the benefits of using LinkedIn are vast, she says one of the best features of the site is its blogging platform.
According to LinkedIn, more than 90,000 Australian users are publishing blogs on the platform, with 10 of these users in LinkedIn’s global “Influencer” publishing community, which has more than 500 members.
Lew says there are big businesses or leaders who write LinkedIn blogs and who use the that content to get a leg up over those who don’t.
“It’s a great place to show off internal knowledge by using the platform,” she says.
“There are lots of functions for advanced searches so you will get read and seen, but you also get to see what competitors are doing and what they know.”
“When companies publish on LinkedIn it’s what they want you to know and where they are going, and it shows off their in-house knowledge,” she adds.
Lew believes the other main function of LinkedIn that is under-utilised is education platform Lynda, “a hidden education system at the back of the site”.
Lynda offers short courses about different professional skills without the need to go back into formal education. Lew says it’s common for businesses to get employees to do a six-week course on web design or coding.
Otherwise, Lew says it isn’t too hard for businesses to quickly see benefits of using LinkedIn.
“If you just join, set up a company page and grow your network, know the utility of the site, that can do wonders,” she says.