LinkedIn Has Hit 500 Million Users

The Motley Fool
LinkedIn are moving from strength to strength at the moment. As they've continued to improve the look of their platform and upgrade various aspects of it, their user count has carried on climbing. In the past six months alone, they've gained a further 133 million users, bringing the grand total up to half-a-billion. Their reach also now spans over 200 different countries.

For a social network which was set up to help people find jobs, and only people in very particular sectors, this is even more impressive. Platforms like Facebook have experienced far more rapid growth, but they offer something for everyone, while LinkedIn has little to nothing to entice, say, students. This is a victory for LinkedIn but in many ways it's also a call to action.

There's a key difference between users and active users, and in this sense LinkedIn is falling short. Next time you're out with friends, ask them how many have signed up to LinkedIn, then ask how many of them use it on a weekly basis. I'd put good money on the number dropping. LinkedIn's largest problem is keeping its users consistently engaged.

If you aren't actively looking for a job, networking to bolster your freelance rolodex or recruiting new staff, there seems to be little incentive to remain active. In reality, there are plenty of reasons to keep using LinkedIn regularly, the trouble is that they aren't immediately obvious. Over the past few months, LinkedIn's primary aim has been to alter that perception.

Article publishing has been their most significant play, but tighter, more interactive communities, better messaging functionality and deeper profile building have also been added in to make the experience more comprehensive. Most of this change has happened since Microsoft picked up the company for $26 billion last year, a huge investment which they're doing everything possible to capitalise on.

At that point, only around 25% of LinkedIn users were logging in more than once a month. That number has likely risen since then, but the platform will have to do a lot more to not only keep users engaged, but prove the worth of the platform. With time and work, LinkedIn could become the biggest job hunting platform on the internet, but it has a long, long way to go yet.

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