At the beginning of October, LinkedIn debuted their new "Influencer" initiative, which allowed users to follow specific "thought leaders" across the network. At the outset, about 150 thought leaders from various industries were included in the program, which allowed them to publish long-form articles and presentations for their follower base.
At the one-month mark, we told you that Virgin's Richard Branson had emerged as the star of the LinkedIn Influencers, garnering over 750,000 followers four weeks. At that time, LinkedIn also added a couple of new features like a thought leader scoreboard and new sorting mechanisms.
And today, LinkedIn is announcing that Sir Richard Branson is officially the first person to reach the 1 million follower milestone. That's nearly double the follower count of the next closest thought leader - President Obama.
"Like many of our Influencers, Branson has been posting about entrepreneurship, paths to success, and the keys to balancing good work and a good life. His five tips for starting a successful business has nearly 500,000 pageviews; his 197-word article suggesting that happiness is the best measure of success drew close to 3,500 comments. Our data shows that he’s popular with everyone from entrepreneurs to HR workers and in industries ranging from tech to construction (Dig deeper into the data in the related SlideShare below). The only continent where he doesn’t have a single follower is Antarctica," says LinkedIn's Daniel Roth.
Alongside the announcement of Branson's success on the platform, LinkedIn is providing some new statistics about the Influencers initiative in general. They now have 170 thought leaders for users to follow, and over 6 million users have chosen to follow one of them. There have been over 1,000 original posts by the thought leaders, which have generated more than 11 million views and 80,000 comments.