As you probably know, LinkedIn has had a huge week. The company launched a wildly successful IPO, doubling the company's valuation overnight. While there is a fair amount of debate as to whether or not this valuation is too high, one thing is clear - LinkedIn is doing what few other social networks can do - maintaining success in the age of Facebook.
LinkedIn can be a tremendous source of web traffic, and perhaps more importantly, it can be a tremendous source of highly targeted web traffic, given the professional nature of the network.
Do you count LinkedIn among your most valued traffic sources? Let us know in the comments.
A while back, we posted an article about how LinkedIn can be one of your most valuable traffic sources. We talked to entrepreneur Lewis Howes, who claimed LinkedIn was one of the top traffic sources to his blogs.
"Anytime you can increase the size of your network on LinkedIn, it will give you the opportunity to distribute your content to more people, therefore driving more traffic back to your site," he said. "You need to take into consideration that LinkedIn has the highest average household income per user over any other social networking site (even NYTimes.com and BusinessWeek.com readers). That being said, these are business decision makers you are targeting with your traffic from LinkedIn. The network is for real, and it will only continue to grow in time as there are currently 60 million professionals."
That was over a year ago. The network has indeed grown significantly since then. It now has over 100 million members, and going public probably won't do much to slow down growth.
Howes had written his own article on steps to take to drive traffic with LinkedIn. These were:
1. Complete your profile.
2. Increase you connections.
3. Customize your website links.
4. Answer questions.
5. Update your status.
6. Join niche groups.
7. Post comments in groups.
8. Add RSS feeds to groups.
9. Create a group.
10. Add the blog application to your profile.
Since that article, LinkedIn has done quite a few things, and luckily for site owners, some of them have huge implications as traffic drivers.
Earlier this month, BusinessInsider posted a pretty inspirational chart showing how traffic from LinkedIn suddenly skyrocketed:
Nicholas Carlson says LinkedIn product manager Liz Walker told the publication that the traffic was "coming from a bunch of sources – mostly new products like LinkedIn.com/Today, newsletters, and LinkedIn News." LinkedIn's "inShares" (see the LinkedIn share button at the top of this article) contribute to these. Obviously using these and/or other plugins from the company can help.
LinkedIn Today is a product the company launched in beta in March. It was launched with the aim of showing what users' connections and coworkers (people you know) are sharing, what industry peers are sharing, and what stories are interesting to the broader audience. If you're creating compelling content, just like with any other social network, you have a good chance of increasing your traffic here, provided you are able to drive influence within your industry.
Again, this brings forward the appeal of targeted traffic, as opposed to just traffic. LinkedIn Today is accessible via the "news" tab on the LinkedIn homepage.
Of course, LinkedIn has a news feed section just like Twitter/Facebook, so building your network in general is key. Obviously this key for reasons beyond traffic, but it should certainly help in this area as well. LinkedIn's Lindsey Pollak recently provided some tips for sprucing up your presence on the network, which could help overall. She suggested kick-starting your keywords, featuring a new photo, adding some apps, and getting active in groups.
"If you’re not attracting a lot of interest to your LinkedIn profile, take a look at what words you use to describe yourself," she says. "They might be doing more harm than good. Last month, LinkedIn released a list of the top 10 LinkedIn profile termsthat are most overused by professionals based in the United States."
These terms are as follows:
Proven track record
Suffice it to say, you should be giving people a compelling reason to want to connect with you, and separating yourself from the crowd. Even if you are already doing this with your content, they may never see the content if their first impression of you comes from a lackluster LinkedIn profile.
In terms of apps, she says, "If you travel frequently, try TripIt, which enables you to share your travel itineraries and potentially set up appointments and build deeper relationships with LinkedIn connections in the cities you visit. If you’re a visual type, consider SlideShare or Google Presentation, which allow you to add presentations to your profile. I also love the Reading List by Amazon, which invites you to post books you’re reading and share your reviews with your LinkedIn connections. The overall goal of adding more applications is to give people as many reasons as possible to find something in common with you."
Essentially, these are just more ways to spark engagement, which can trickle down into traffic (and engaged traffic at that). LinkedIn's app directory can be found here. Obviously the Groups also contribute to the engagement factor.
Also keep in mind that LinkedIn regularly sends emails to users. These include emails for LinkedIn Today updates and Network Updates, which display profiles, connections, new contacts, posts, groups, photos, recommendations, and applications.
1. 24 % of all visitors from LinkedIn to a B2B website are enterprise visitors (leads).
2. Nearly 45% of leads coming to a company website through LinkedIn are first time visitors.
3. 1 in 2 leads to a website coming from LinkedIn, come from individual profile + company profile pages.
4. Leads from LinkedIn groups and ads are most likely to fill a form (convert) on a B2B website.
5. Visitors from LinkedIn groups are also most likely to respond to webinar invites.
6. 1 in 3 visitors from a LinkedIn group, filled a form on a website (converted).
7. Based on the intent of visitors measured by LeadFormix, the most relevant traffic for a company comes from its LinkedIn employee profiles and participation in groups. These visitors are most interested in the company details, product offerings and in attending webinars which are highly correlated with a potential buyer’s intent.
8. Visitors from LinkedIn company pages are most likely to spend more than 10 minutes on a company website.
Given all of this week's LinkedIn news, it's clear that the network is bigger than ever, and doesn't show any signs of dwindling down anytime soon. If you're not capitalizing on it as a potential traffic source, you might be missing out big time - and at a time when the importance of diversifying your traffic sources has truly been driven home by Google's Panda update. It's also worth noting, however, that people sharing your content on LinkedIn can actually help you with Google's social search.
LinkedIn has expanded its mobile presence recently too. This should only help general use of the network, and potentially help for increased traffic as well. Last month, the company launched the first version of its Android app. Shortly before that, they also launched a feature phone app. Remember, there are still a lot of people out there that haven't upgraded to smartphones. This can keep them engaged with the network and show them your content while they're on the go.
Do you see significant traffic from LinkedIn? Comment here.