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LinkedIn tackles China with a startup approach

IDG News Service

China has been a tough market for U.S. Internet companies to crack, but LinkedIn has high hopes it can buck the trend and increase its user base in the country to as high as 50 million over the next five years.

“This is a very long-term investment, it’s not an experiment,” said Derek Shen, head of LinkedIn’s China operation on Friday.

The social networking site officially entered the nation’s market back in February, and is targeting China’s growing number of working professionals, numbered at over 140 million, according to the company. To reach those users, it launched a Chinese language site called Lingying.

LinkedIn, however, wants to avoid the same fate as other U.S. Internet companies that have struggled to take off in the nation’s competitive market. Google, eBay and Groupon have all come up against local roadblocks, including stiff competition from domestic rivals, and China’s notorious online censorship.

In LinkedIn’s case, the company studied the Chinese market for four years before finally deciding to enter the market, Shen said at China 2.0 Forum, an event in Beijing organized by the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Currently, the site has about four million users in China.

The failure of some international companies in China may be due to their structure or lack of incentives for the operation to succeed, Shen said. “So we decided in China, we wanted to do a startup,” he added.

Continue reading…

LinkedIn Hits 300M Users, Pushes Mobile Options

MediaPost

LinkedIn on Friday announced it has surpassed 300 million active members worldwide, up from 277 million at the end of 2013. The roughly 36% growth rate in the first quarter from a year ago is on par with 2013. The professional networking site said 67% of its users come from outside the U.S., with more than 100 million in the U.S.

“While this is an exciting moment, we still have a long way to go to realize our vision of creating economic opportunity for every one of the 3.3 billion people in the global workforce,” stated Deep Nishar, LinkedIn’s senior vice president of product & user experience, in a blog post.

Mobile has become a growing focus for LinkedIn in the last couple of years, as more users access the service on devices. Later this year, Nishar noted that LinkedIn will hit the point where more than half of its global traffic comes from mobile.

“Already, our members in dozens of locations, including Costa Rica, Malaysia, Singapore, Sweden, United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom, use LinkedIn more on their mobile devices than on their desktop computers,” he wrote.

Overall, the site each day gets an average of 15 million profile views, 1.45 million job views and 44,000 job applications in over 200 countries through mobile. As the company expands its mobile portfolio, with new releases such as its slideshare app, LinkedIn plans more strategic partnerships with major mobile players like Apple, Nokia and Samsung.

LinkedIn made a splash earlier this year with its push into China. In his post, Nishar said the goal now is to connect more than 140 million Chinese professionals with each other and the worldwide work force.

In a research note on Monday, however, analyst Michael Purcell of Stifel Nicolaus pointed out that LinkedIn still monetizes international users per member at one-third the rate of their U.S.-based counterparts. That translates to average revenue per user (ARPU) of $3.76 abroad versus $11.30 in the U.S.

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Google+ and LinkedIn drive few, but more engaged social referrals compared to Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest

The Next Web

Social discovery and sharing platform Shareaholictoday released its first report examining engaged social referrals. Since many of us spend an egregious amount of time using social media, the company was interested in answering the question “What is our behavior post-click, when we actually interact with a link one of our friends shared socially?”

As such, it was necessary to examine the average visit duration, pages per visit, and bounce rate for each of the top eight social media platforms. Here’s the breakdown (data is from September 2013 to February 2014) from Shareholic, which tracks 250 million users visiting its network of 200,000 publishers.

We already know that LinkedIn and Google+ drive very few referrals compared to their competitors. Yet it turns out the traffic they do drive, is actually quite high on the quality scale.

Google+ users spend more than three minutes diving into links shared by their circles, view 2.45 pages during each visit, and bounce only 50.63 percent of the time. LinkedIn users meanwhile spend over two minutes on each link they click, view 2.23 pages with each visit, and bounce 51.28 percent of the time.

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Infographic: The best times to post on social media

Regan

Do you post social media updates when your audience has the highest chance of seeing them, or just whenever you think of it or happen to have a free minute?

If you aren’t posting to a social media site when most of your audience members are on it, all that time you spent crafting the update goes to waste. And you’re a busy person. You don’t have any time to waste.

An infographic from Fannit.com lists the best and worst times to post to all the major social media sites: Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter, Facebook and your blog. While all audiences are different, you can use these times as a general guide. Here are the best times to post to each site:

Click here to see the best times and the infographic

 

Three months of data from media brands on the social web

The Media Briefing

Social media represents one of the core distribution networks for online publishers, and it’s a battleground on which they compete to get their content seen by digital audiences.

Thanks to data from Newswhip, who kindly gave us access to the last three months worth of social media interaction data, we can see the total social interactions on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest for each of the top 100 publishers in November, December, and January.

January drops for the NYT and Upworthy

Upworthy’s total sharing interactions dropped 36 percent from November to December, and 47 percent from December to January. Figures-wise, in November they were getting 16.8 million total social media shares. That dropped to 5.7 million in two months.

Continue reading 

LinkedIn has the one thing other publishing platforms would kill for

Gigaom

We’ve been writing a lot lately about the increasingly blurry lines between platform and publisher, a world in which new-media entities like Twitter and Facebook and Medium — and even brands like Red Bull or Coca-Cola — are competing with traditional outlets for the attention of readers. Now LinkedIn, which was already a significant competitor for many existing publications with its “Influencers” program,is opening up its platform.

As my colleague Lauren Hockenson notes in her post, LinkedIn is now allowing any user to publish posts or articles on the site, and also to follow writers even if the author isn’t already in their network. Previously, writers appeared on the platform by invitation only, typically celebrities like Richard Branson.

There are a host of issues involved with becoming a hybrid of platform and publisher, as Jonathan Glick of Sulia discussed in a recent post about what he called “platishers,” and as I commented in my own post on the topic. But the latest announcement from LinkedIn highlights one thing that makes the company a significant competitor — namely, the fact that it already has an existing business that is more than paying the bills and can subsidize its publishing arm.

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LinkedIn Is Looking More Like a Publisher as It Grows Its Native Ad Business

Adweek

LinkedIn is looking more and more like a publisher these days.

The professional networking site eschews the term, but its recent moves suggest otherwise, from its Influencers blog network to its acquisition of news reader Pulseand the introduction of native advertising. (LinkedIn calls them Sponsored Updates—the ad units where companies pay to have their news show up in users’ feeds.)

Now, LinkedIn is going even further in that direction by acting as a content broker between brands and publishers. Meaning, if a marketer is in need of content to distribute to readers, LinkedIn’s team of “content marketing consultants” can link it up with a roster of partner publishers.

In the first such arrangement, LinkedIn worked with tech company Emerson to distribute stories from The Atlantic with the aim of reaching professional women. Articles were distributed to LinkedIn members who follow Emerson, as well as nonfollowers. Clicking on a story took the reader to an articles page on TheAtlantic.com surrounded by Emerson ads, potentially introducing the magazine to new readers. “It’s elevating the power of The Atlantic to facilitate a conversation … for an audience that might not have discovered it on The Atlantic on their own,” said Atlantic publisher Hayley Romer.

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Twitter’s Big Battle Is Indifference

The Wall Street Journal

Twitter Inc. TWTR -4.46% ’s pitch to people like Christine Harsono isn’t hitting its target.

The 21-year-old Los Angeles waitress has yet to give into years of nudging by Twitter to sign up. A Facebook Inc. FB +2.35% member since 2008, she says she sees no reason to tweet, even as her favorite TV shows, such as “The Voice,” urge her to join the Twitter conversation.

Twitter seems to be on every television and in ever political and sports event. So why is it having trouble signing up new users? Yoree Koh reports on digits. Photo: Getty Images.

As for news and celebrity gossip, there is television and YouTube. “I feel like I already have a place for me to see all these things. I don’t really see a need for Twitter,” she says.

Ms. Harsono represents Twitter’s greatest challenge, one that came into stark view last week when the San Francisco firm reported declining user growth.

Twitter is nearly a required part of advertising campaigns, and it’s ubiquitous among news media. Yet even though it has blanketed the Internet, television and billboards with its hashtags inviting people to log on, four out of five Americans with Internet connections still don’t use it regularly. Facebook, by comparison, has more than half the U.S. online population covered and more than five times the world-wide users of Twitter.

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Research: How to Drive Engagement Through Social Media 2014

IDG Connect 0811 Research: How to Drive Engagement Through Social Media 2014

In January 2006 Twitter didn’t exist, blogging was mocked, and Facebook was for students. Over the following five years social media took off, but still many people questioned the importance of social networks in the B2B space. Now in 2014, its usefulness has been proven over and over again and it continues to gain momentum. In fact, as content marketing gradually grows in importance, social media is playing an even more significant role.

Summary

New research conducted in November 2013 by IDG Connect shows that 86% of B2B Information Technology (IT) buyers are currently using
social media networks in their purchase decision process. Social media is not only important for companies, but it is now a necessary investment and crucial element of any go-to-market strategies. And findings suggest this is only set to increase over the next couple of years.

  • 86% of IT buyers are using social media networks and content in their purchase decision process
  • Social media is used most often in the general education stage of the buying cycle
  • 89% of IT buyers prefer educational content to promotional content in their favored social media channels
  • 62% of IT buyers are most interested in seeing e-seminars (virtual events) from social channels
  • Product/Service reviews are the content types that IT buyers prefer to see links from via social channels
  • In two years, social, peer-generated content will have greater weight versus editorial and vendor content in making IT investment decisions

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Screen Shot 2014 01 13 at 4.39.11 PM Research: How to Drive Engagement Through Social Media 2014

Social Media Disrupts Everything

Outsell

In just a few short years, we have become accustomed to having social media in our everyday lives — both personal and business. Events of the past two weeks highlight just how disruptive the medium has become in so many areas of the business environment.

Important Details: We have reached the point where social media is now woven into the fabric of nearly all sectors of communication and information flow. A few events in the past couple of weeks show just how pervasive social media has become and how it has really affected and disrupted the many areas it touches. At times, we all feel the frenetic pace of constant communications in our 24/7 always-on world, fed in large part by social media activity.

  • Social media has created an explosion of information that, in turn, has led to a boom in analytic companies. We now have nearly 200 firms involved in the social media analytics space.
  • The speed of communications has forced other media and formats to ramp up their frequency and volume of communications, which has had the effect of forced errors.
  • Financial markets are (naturally) engaged with huge market cap values for Facebook and LinkedIn and all the buzz about Twitter’s upcoming IPO.
  • Enterprises need to adjust, as some are still learning that social media is not just another means to push your message. It is a two-way communication and the market can talk back.

Implications: One effect of the information explosion and the creation of new companies watching and tracking social media traffic is that they are a threat and disruption to many market research firms. Some of these 200 social media analytic companies, including the likes of Crimson Hexagon, DataSift and Recorded Future, are creating products to help companies watch markets, prospects, and competitors. These are some of the very tasks that market research firms have done in the past and they are feeling this impact.

Sometimes we want to shout out, “Can’t we all just please slow down?” The stream and frequency of social information seems to amp up everything. In this hectic world, running at this pace can lead to mistakes. We all make mistakes — but just as the pace has quickened, it seems the frequency of mistakes has picked up too. Just last week, we received:

  • An e-mail promo about Valentine’s Day;
  • A link to a New York Post story about the advertising industry that was dated 2008;
  • An offer from a research firm (dated February) to get all of the 2013 predictions now.

The pace, and what seems like a race to produce more and send more messages, leads to this kind of activity.

There is a race to the money. The money is enormous in this sector and that attracts more investment and more new players trying to get into the mix. Naturally, Twitter’s IPO created a buzz and stoked more of the money fire. Consider that Facebook’s value (market cap) is over $115 billion and LinkedIn is at $27 billion. Those are huge numbers.

Not all enterprises have come around to realizing that social media is a two-way communication and not just another channel to push your brand; rather, it is a means to communicate with the market. Many companies have designated a person or group to monitor social media sites to see what is being posted about them and to react when needed. When companies don’t listen and respond to their clients, those stories can go viral and have damaging effects. Consider this story of the angry British Airways customer. Not only did he try to get the company’s attention directly, and then try via social media, but he finally resorted to purchasing a promoted tweet to get heard. Of course, that tweet went viral.

As we consider social media, there is a tendency to try to classify the companies into a single category. In this case, that does not effectively show the full impact of social media on the industry.