LinkedIn India, which touched a staggering 10-million user mark in June 2011, has said that it has crossed the 13-million user mark and is adding two users every second globally. As per data available with the company till November 4, 2011, India has a total workforce of 80 million professionals in the country of which 16 per cent is now on LinkedIn.
The data driven social networking site is focused at attracting working professionals. However, the top company officials believe that the target of the company is not just to expand its consumer base, but is to engage them in focused and relevant discussions.
“Our aim is not only to expand the consumer base, but also to make sure that we serve the existing ones in the best possible way we can,” said Hari Krishnan, Country Manager of LinkedIn India.
A recent report released by IMRB International and IAMAI claimed that the total number of Internet users has touched a whopping 100 million mark in India. In last 3 years, India has proved to be one of the largest markets for LinkedIn India. The company claims to have successfully attracted over 100 corporates as active recruiters on its website. The social networking platform started its operations in India in 2009 with a base of 3.4 million users. India is now second only to the USA in terms of number of LinkedIn users. In October, LinkedIn had announced a talent pipeline for recruiters to connect with the top working professionals. However, the company is yet to launch this service.
Selective marketing strategy
Though LinkedIn initially attracted advertisers from the fields of Information & Technology and finance, today the company claims that their advertisers are from across sectors. This includes marketers like Jet Airways, Volkswagen, CNN, American Express, ICICI Lombard etc. “I would like to call them marketers rather than advertisers because we offer solutions and work as partners in reaching the right consumer,” believes Krishnan. The company is currently following two advertising formulas which include targeted advertising and partner messages. The site also believes heavily in recommendations, which can arguably be termed a part of its USP, sometimes also compared to the ‘pluses’ and ‘likes’ of Google Plus and Facebook respectively. Following company ads and recommendation of ads are active forms of advertising on LinkedIn.
“We do not believe in spray and pray method of marketing. Because of the nature of the internet and the social media, there is a tendency to disseminate messages and garner attention of whoever comes back. However, our strategy is built around targeting the right consumer with the right message,” asserts Krishnan. “The marketing strategy is placed parallel to the philosophy of the company, which is focused around context and relevance,” he adds.
Krishnan believes that unlike other social networking sites, the target of the company is not to exponentially increase its user base, but to retain and provide quality service to the existing users. Though centered at the working professionals, the web site has three layers of consumer, namely- customers, recruiters and advertisers. Without revealing the figures on which layer contributes maximum to the revenue of the company, Krishnan hinted that recruiters are an important and fast-emerging base for the company which range from large conglomerates to small town entrepreneurs. “We have several big corporate approaching us, but interestingly a lot of regional entrepreneurs too are interested in LinkedIn.”
Strategic alliance with Twitter
To target the working professionals of India, LinkedIn India recently collaborated with the social networking giant Twitter. Post-collaboration, inter-linking of Twitter and LinkedIn accounts became reality. “A large number of professionals broadcast on social platforms. One such platform is Twitter. If you observe Twitter carefully then you will find that a large number of tweets are related to their work and profession,” says Krishnan.