LinkedIn #1 Social Network, Says Report

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A recent study from marketing agency Performics revealed that 59 percent of social networkers found LinkedIn to be their most important social network. The survey was conducted by ROI Research and looked at nearly 3,000 people that actively use social networks.

What is your most important social networking account? Let us know.

"The Impact of Social Media," or "S-Net" as the report is being called, is part of a series of studies that Performics is doing to understand the importance and influence of social media. Daina Middleton, the CEO of the company, told us that the economic challenges added to this spike of activity on LinkedIn.

"Obviously, we have a lot of individuals out there looking for jobs, or they're looking to change jobs; and they're understanding that they need to embrace social networks like LinkedIn in order to help facilitate that search," she said.

While Facebook and Twitter are extremely popular for both personal and professional reasons, the line between these purposes is becoming more and more blurred. Middleton pointed out that LinkedIn, on the other hand, is clearly professional, which has helped to make it vital during the tough economic times.

The study further proved the shift in power from brands to consumers. Previously, brands could send out a print or TV ad and, primarily, be in control of the message. Middleton said that there was a "hierarchy implied in terms of this message development."

Today, however, this cycle has changed, largely due to social media. Sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn allow users to be equal. As a result, consumers have the ability to influence fellow consumers and brands in a way that is likely greater than a brand's own influence.

The study found that 59 percent of active Twitter users are more apt to recommend a company they follow, and 58 percent would be more likely to buy a product from a company they follow. In addition, 53 percent use social networks to offer feedback about a brand or retailer. The study also found that 52 percent of those surveyed agreed that consumer opinions voiced on social networking sites influence business decisions.

Middleton believes the report demonstrates the power of social media and encourages brands to embrace this shift in power and communication. She said, "Brands need to understand that the goal here is to get others to participate with them on that equal status."

Do you think brands are effectively encouraging equal participation?