LinkedIn has always been overshadowed by its rowdy younger siblings. Born way back in 2002 — before Instagram and Snapchat, even before Facebook and Twitter — the button-downed business platform has never attracted the drama or hype of other social networks. There’s no movie about its founder. It’s not in the crosshairs of Congressional investigations. And its “influencers” are more likely to be boring business leaders (myself included) than Kylie Jenner wannabes.
But quietly, in predictably business-like fashion, LinkedIn has emerged as a social force to be reckoned with. It now counts more than 500 million members. More than 100 million of those are monthly active users, meaning people who check in frequently to post and engage with followers, rather than just update their resume once or twice a year. Perhaps more to the point, these users are — by definition — business professionals. They’re generally upwardly mobile and turn to the network for serious engagement, not to share memes or launch into toxic rants.
As companies seek new ways to engage customers, employees and stakeholders, while also wrestling with the fallout from scandals on Facebook and Twitter, a surprising number are turning to LinkedIn. All of which raises the question: could LinkedIn be the next big thing for brands?