I’ve given four presentations to higher education and independent school advancement professionals and alumni volunteers since the New Year.
Each time, I’ve surveyed the room with two simple questions:
“Who isn’t on Facebook?”
“Who isn’t on LinkedIn?”
Facebook has 1 billion users. LinkedIn has just 200 million users. So you might suspect that LinkedIn would trail Facebook in my surveys.
In four consecutive presentations to alumni relations and development professionals, Facebook has had fewer users than LinkedIn.
At my presentation to TAIS (Tennessee) at the University School of Nashville this week, two of the attendees were self-proclaimed “20-somethings” who were LinkedIn users but not Facebook users.
So we asked: “Why are you on LinkedIn but not Facebook?”
“LinkedIn is useful.”
“Facebook is noisy”
“I trust LinkedIn more than Facebook”
“Twitter and LinkedIn fulfill my social media needs”
I don’t think this trend will reverse. LinkedIn is winning.
LinkedIn has been patiently waiting for the Facebook generation to grow up and focus more on career goals and less on Spring Break and Senior Week.
The company’s patience appears to be paying off. Facebook’s “News Feed” has become an endless stream of baby photos and spammy offers while LinkedIn actually provides relevant news.
However, despite the near parity being achieved among the college educated demographic, those same advancement professionals shared that their institutions invest significantly more time on Facebook than on LinkedIn. Several alumni offices had almost no investment in LinkedIn beyond a lifeless unmanaged group. Only one alumni professional out of 30 had ever heard of the LinkedIn Alumni Tool before my demonstration. If they aren’t using it, who is?
LinkedIn has a long way to go to gain buy in from the advancement sector. And our suggestion isn’t to abandon Facebook as there are great opportunities to utilize Facebook ads for advancement.
But as the social networking scales continue to balance, how will you shift time, attention and resources to increase your investment in LinkedIn?