Employers might frown on their staff logging into Facebook in office hours, but LinkedIn has become the acceptable face of social networking in the workplace.
LinkedIn has this month punched through the 10m-member mark in the UK, meaning that four out of five workers are now signed up to the professional network.
While no marketer worth their salt can afford to be unfamiliar with social media, there are those who have embraced LinkedIn as a personal and business tool, beyond its function of online CV.
The CV-style format does, of course, give LinkedIn its USP and serve as the initial attraction for many users. AOL last year hired 70% of its 105 new UK staff using LinkedIn. The reasoning of AOL recruitment manager Tim Goodchild was: ‘If a company restricts itself to the 20% of people actively looking for a role, it limits itself to talent already in the market.’
However, a completed CV alone no longer marks you out on the platform. The most engaged marketers on LinkedIn are using it as part of their day job, whether that’s for garnering professional feedback on ideas, skimming through the most relevant news headlines or taking part in group discussions. For these people it is not simply about boosting their number of connections as part of a vanity project.
Here, in collaboration with LinkedIn, we cast a spotlight on the top 10 most engaged UK consumer marketers (see methodology box, below), and find out how they are using the network to do business, share ideas and seek advice from peers. Plus, we unveil LinkedIn's top five graduate marketers.
1. Name: Americo Campos Silva
Title: Global media manager, Shell
Groups and associations: 32
'Personally LinkedIn gives me the opportunity to connect with peers, colleagues, ex-colleagues, friends; while professionally it gives me the opportunity to reach, influence and have a dialogue with very specific audiences. I also make an effort to invite people that I meet [to connect] and keep it updated as much as possible.
'The reason I am number one, is perhaps a combination of personal and professional usage due to the nature of my role - LinkedIn in quite important in some of our media activities.
'I go onto LinkedIn almost every day, looking for interesting updates and articles from my connections. I imagine it adds up to one to two hours a week.
'In terms of developments, I’d like to see the function to rate articles and presentations, plus the option to have live dialogue with my connections would be fantastic.
'Having lived in four different countries - and with friends and contacts all around the world - Linkedin is a great way for me to stay connected with this very heterogenous group of people.
2. Name: Nathan McGurl
Title: Interim digital and social media consultant, Lloyds Banking Group
Groups and associations: 50
'In previous roles I’ve used it to do business with Tesco and Toshiba on the basis of a lead-in communication. At the time I was freelance, so would never have entertained the idea of dropping an email. But with LinkedIn, if it’s approached in the right way, employing marketing nous, then it’s a powerful tool.
'I log on about three or four times a day. Mainly I use it for network building, touching different bases and keeping in touch with people I’ve worked with, in a quasi-social way.'
3. Name: Jason Perera
Title: Marketing lead, Royal Bank of Scotland
Groups and associations: 29
'I go on to LinkedIn a couple of times a day at least, usually every morning and after lunch. Its biggest asset personally is as a networking tool; but in terms of my job it’s great for idea generation. There are a lot of switched-on people in the marketing groups.
'LinkedIn has become increasingly important to me as my career progresses.
'It’s great for keeping track of people, and groups are a good way of seeing what my peers and competitors are doing, keeping up with insight, trends and news.
'At the moment, for example, I’m working on an interactive video for the bank and can use LinkedIn to get feedback.'Profile: uk.linkedin.com/in/jasonperera
4. Name: Ross O’Neill
Title: Senior marketing executive, digital, Experian Marketing Services
Groups and associations: 15
5. Name: Alessia Novara
Title: International sales and marketing manager, Marks & Spencer
Groups and associations: 37
'Lately I use it pretty much every day – generally when I go home in the evening, checking marketing and retail news and groups.
'It’s the greatest tool for networking. I work in international marketing and it’s the best way to keep in touch with people. It’s very useful in terms of seeing what my connections are up to, for looking for career opportunities and getting ideas.
6. Name: Ben Jenkins
Title: Marketing manager, RSA
Groups and associations: 20
'As part of my daily routine, every morning on the train I’ll look at emails and LinkedIn to see the newsfeed. If something interests me I’ll comment and start a rapport with connections that way. I probably spend about half-an-hour a day on it, depending on activity.
'I own a group for the RSA broker community and look after that. As part of my daily role I’ll check for new members and monitor groups.
'I use it to connect to people in the same industry as me, as well as people at different companies in different sectors and marketing disciplines. It’s good for getting ideas and knowledge from different industries.'
7. Name: Andy McFarlane
Title: Head of marketing, Vodafone Global Enterprise
Groups and associations: 14
8. Name: Leo Miller
Title: Director of global digital marketing, Reckitt Benckiser
Groups and associations: 35
'I have a history of suppliers I still have a relationship where our initial contact was made through LinkedIn. The relevancy of content and connections means I can keep in touch with what people are talking about.
'In terms of career development, my last few roles came about via a contact on LinkedIn and I've successfully used it to recruit for my teams in the past.
9. Name: Laura Welch
Title: Digital engagement manager, BT Global Services
Groups and associations: 12
'I follow brands and companies I’m interested in, but also use it keep up to date with what’s happening in my industry via the tailored news feeds. I can share my views and learn from subject matter experts, but I can also share news and views with customers and others who are interested in us.
'It’s not just about pushing information out all the time – it’s a place for discussion, an opportunity to engage in debate and listen to what other people want.'
10. Name: Julia Dorsett
Title: Marketing manager, BSkyB
Groups and associations: 31
'It’s an important place for me to keep in touch and connect with all the talented people I’ve met and worked alongside. I login every other day to answer mails, scan through the updates and if I can, check out the group discussions to see if others are facing the same challenges I come up against. I sometimes also spot useful downloads from agencies which can be a very useful source of information.
'As a marketer it is really useful to see updates, news, tips and ideas from my connections, fellow marketers and the companies I follow. I like connecting with people in a social and not too formal environment.
'Like most, I have a busy schedule – and rely on the digital world to give me quick answers and detailed information, especially while I’m on the move.
1. Name: Marco Augugliaro
Job title: Digital media consultant, Reckitt Benckiser
Groups and associations: 45
'I use LinkedIn daily, more than three times a day. In the morning I use it to check any updates in by inbox.
'I use it to connect and communicate with those people I don’t have a close relationship with but who I know in a more professional sphere. It’s a chance to get updates on what those people are doing. I also use it to keep up to date with the FMCG industry, and see what competitors are up to.'
2. Name: Mark Rofe
Job title: Marketing executive, affiliates and partnerships, Experian
Groups and associations: 17
'I like to think I login to use it every other day, but it is probably more frequent than that. I started off using Linkedin to network with recruiters while I was looking for a job. Although it didn’t get me the job I am in today, as a direct result I did manage to get a few interviews.
'As a person who is always looking to learn, I feel the best way to do this is to surround myself with others that know more than me. LinkedIn plays an important role in doing this, and has enabled me to build up a network of marketing experts that regularly share insightful updates.
'Part of my role as a marketer is to find new websites to promote CreditExpert.co.uk on, and I embrace LinkedIn as a way to get in touch with potential opportunities when I don’t have an email address available.'
3. Name: Marek Zacharkiw
Job title: Marketing assistant, Next Group
Groups and associations: 23
4. Name: Timothy Edwards
Job title: Marketing graduate, BSkyB
Groups and associations: 12
5. Name: Suzanne Butcher
Job title: Marketing graduate, Royal Bank of Scotland
Groups and associations: 30
The Top 10 list was compiled for Marketing by LinkedIn. Rather than being a simple list of which marketers have the most connections, this ranking uset a set of criteria, awarding points for each, to discover who the 'most-engaged' UK marketers on the site are. Marketers were scored on criteria that included: having 50-plus connections; the percentage of connections that were made in the past three months; the number of days they logged in over the past month; the number of page groups they visited weekly; whether they have posted a comment or discussion at least once in the past three months; the number of groups they have joined; and whether they have followed companies other than their own.