I became a LinkedIn member when it first arrived on the scene as an exclusive social network for business professionals. I recall all the buzz that was spreading throughout Silicon Valley about LinkedIn, and that one needed a special “invite” to become a member. Looking back, I remember how honored I felt to be “linkedin” by a fellow colleague — I was officially in the club! Over the years, I have watched the social network evolve into an effective recruitment platform (disclaimer: I got my analyst job thanks to a Forrester recruiter who found me on LinkedIn), then to a content publishing platform after it added Slideshare, a newsfeed and its popular influencer program.

Today, LinkedIn is attracting a plethora of B2B and B2C brands that are trying to build a presence in front of 300 million professionals. There are currently more than 3 million company pages on LinkedIn. All of this brand activity begs the question: What engagement rates are brands getting on LinkedIn? We looked at the top 50 global brands and their member interactions across a variety of social networks. We found that LinkedIn’s engagement rate was lower than other social networks that also have professional members:


Why does LinkedIn’s engagement rate lag behind the others? Members simply do not go to LinkedIn to interact with brands after they have purchased a brand’s product. Marketers understand this — only 5% use LinkedIn for a social relationship objective (e.g. drive customer loyalty, provide customer service).

Instead, marketers know that LinkedIn is best for driving social reach. Its well-educated, highly skilled member base provides ample opportunities for brands to drive awareness with professionally relevant messages and content. And brands like Mercedes, Volkswagen, Hubspot, and Cornell are getting pretty impressive results through organic and paid advertising programs.

The quality and business context of LinkedIn’s membership base makes it stand out from other popular social networks. If you want to reach this quality audience, you need to lead with relevant messages that help members solve a professional challenge, deliver a professional opportunity, or help them develop their personal brands. I discuss this in more detail in my latest report, Use LinkedIn For Social Reach Marketing.

Are you using LinkedIn for social reach? If so, please share the results you are getting.