What a week it has been.  The Packers are the world champions and the first copies of my book "The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success: Kick-start Your Business, Brand, and Job Search" were shipped to bookstores and businesspeople just like you all over the country!  Hope you got your copy.

From my first training class way back in December of 2008 until today, people have been asking:

1.  What is the best way to maximize your use of LinkedIn?

2.  What are other people doing with it to be effective?

3.  What might I be missing by not knowing the full capabilities of this tool?

So that continues to be my passion--to help people understand the most effective uses of LinkedIn.

To that end, I have conducted several surveys over the years in order to provide a forum for people to share their uses and habits, and I then share the information I gather with the broader audience of LinkedIn users--and that would be you.

The first survey of this year was conducted in the first three weeks of January, and the audience was my current mailing list, along with members of the fifty LinkedIn groups of which I am a member.  The results I am going to share are based on responses of 265 people from all over the world.

For the next two weeks, I would like to summarize for you the raw data and also give you applications, thoughts, and ideas that go past the raw numbers and into how you could interpret the data to allow you to improve your personal effectiveness.  To follow along more closely, you might want to grab your own copy of the 2011 LinkedIn Survey Summary Results.

Magnifying glass with graph


Here is an overall summary of a few of the critical characteristics of the average respondent to my survey:

  • They have been on LinkedIn more than one year (84%)
  • They are on the free account (94%)
  • Their primary purpose for using LinkedIn is to grow and keep in touch with their network (55%)
  • They have over 100 connections (63%)
  • About half of the respondents have their profile 100% complete
  • They spend between zero and two hours per week on LinkedIn (55.5%)


People frequently ask me about the paid account vs. the free account, and the numbers still bear out that most people are not on the paid account (only 5% are), and thus my opinion remains the same:  Based on what you currently get on the free account, most users will not need to upgrade to any of the paid levels.  I always explain that with the caveat if you are an HR professional or recruiter, you may want to consider upgrading sooner rather than later.  But for the rest of the general business population, a nonpaid account will serve your purposes very well.

You will know it is time for you to upgrade when you start seeing the screen pop up from LinkedIn asking you if you would like to upgrade.  This is your way of knowing you have reached your limit on that specific feature--you have run into the "LinkedIn free wall"--so you may want to consider upgrading your account.  The most frequent walls people hit are running out of InMails (you get five in your entire free life on LinkedIn) and the number of people who show up on an Advanced People Search (you get 100 on the free account and 300 on the first level of paid account).


Survey Results

0-50 connections            18.6%

51-100 connections        18.3%

101-200 connections      27.0%

201-300 connections      13.7%

301-499 connections      12.2%

500+ connections             8.7%

Not sure                           1.5%

27% of the respondents reported having 101 to 200 first-level connections. Worthy of note is that an equal amount of respondents were below that range (below 101) or above that range (201+).  Most of the networking books I have read, even before LinkedIn existed, said that most experienced businesspeople have 200 to 250 trusted people in their network.  So I continue to relay the message to people that they need to get their first-level connections up to that level and beyond, because at that level many of the features of LinkedIn will be more effective, especially when searching for people and relationships that exist between people.

The question I'd ask you is:  When was the last time you invited someone to join your network?  Remember this--for each new first-level connection I add to my network, I get approximately 150 new second-level connections and 4500 third-level connections.  Your numbers may vary from this, but rest assured you will add a significant number of people, and you just don't know when you will need them or who in that new group you may need some day.


Even though 51% of the people said they don't have their profile completed, 46% said their profile is completed as defined by LinkedIn.  My reminder to you is that LinkedIn's research says you will be forty times more effective if your profile is 100% complete. Forty times more effective!  What do you have to do to complete your profile?


This is the most frequently asked question I receive at my training sessions.  The answer to the survey continues to be zero to two hours per week.  In the more than two years I've been doing this survey, people have consistently answered in this range.  I've shared this statistic consistently to encourage people that using LinkedIn isn't this massive, eight-hour-a-day thing they need to add into their already busy week.

That being said, time commitment is the number one issue for all of us, and so time management becomes an important part of being effective. If you don't have a copy of my special help How to get the most out of LinkedIn in 15 minutes a day, you may want to check that out and streamline your habits.

Worthy of at least a comment is that over 22% of the respondents spend more than five hours a week on LinkedIn.  This begs the question do that many people just love being on the computer or do you think they might have found a way to use LinkedIn to significantly grow their business? Interesting question for all of us to ponder.

Next week I will finish sharing the results with you, including the specific features, tools, techniques, and strategies your peers said they really like.  You won't want to miss it.

If you haven't done it already, this is a final reminder to go to my website and download a full summary of the results.