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The Sixth Degree of Separation

LinkedinIn 1929, Hungarian author Frigyes Karinthy proposed that an individual is only six connections away from any person in the world.

In 1994 Kevin Bacon commented in a magazine interview that he had worked with everybody in Hollywood or someone who had worked with them. A few months later a newsgroup thread headed “Kevin Bacon is the Center of the Universe” appeared and the game Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon was created.

LinkedIn is a social network like no other; it is the six degrees of social separation. With LinkedIn, the degree of separation between you and your next business connection is much closer than you may think. LinkedIn operates on the concept of how many steps you are away from a person with whom you wish to communicate. LinkedIn members connect directly with their first degree connections, second degree connections are connected through first degree connections and on it goes. Connections that may not have been very easy to make before are truly one or two steps away via LinkedIn.

While Facebook and Twitter are typically used by companies focused on reaching the consumer markets, LinkedIn is used to reach professionals and B2B customers. By providing content that is useful for reaching out to businesses, LinkedIn is more effective at providing connections between businesses. For example, business credentials, such as title, are shown on the profile page which is helpful in seeking out specific levels of contacts within a company. If you are looking for sales leads or marketing connections, then trying to connect with someone in human resources might not make much sense, but if you are job hunting the human resources connection might be the perfect connection to make. Recommendations from other businesses provide insights into the company and its existing B2B relationships. This can uncover mutual relationships. Connections you have to company employees, either directly or indirectly are also shown and this is a great way to get introductions through mutual relationships.

LinkedIn’s value is the people in the network. More than 70% of them are between the ages of 25 and 54 and over half of these people are male. Most of the information sharing and online networking is done by individuals via groups and profile status updates. There are over 1 million groups on LinkedIn containing between 2 and 250,000 members

The following infographic from Lab 42 shows some interesting statistics about LinkedIn.

  • 43% of U.S. marketers have found a customer through LinkedIn.
  • 53% of B2B marketers have acquired a customer through LinkedIn, compared to 22% for B2C.
  • 61% of social media users primarily use LinkedIn for professional networking, compared to 22% for Facebook and 4% for Twitter.
  • 37% of LinkedIn users update their profile pictures regularly.
  • 39% of LinkedIn users have paid premium accounts.
  • 60% of LinkedIn users have clicked on an ad on the site.
  • 42% of LinkedIn users update their profiles regularly.
  • 81% of LinkedIn users belong to at least one group, 52% of whom participate in group discussions.
  • 32% of LinkedIn users access the site several times per week.
  • 35% of LinkedIn users access the site daily.
  • 31% of American adults with annual household incomes over $100,000 use LinkedIn, compared to 16% of all American adults.
  • 51% of online B2C consumer marketers use LinkedIn, compared to 83% for B2B.
  • LinkedIn has 200 million users globally and is adding an average of 172,800 new users daily.
  • The average age of LinkedIn users is 44.2 years of age.
  • 79% of LinkedIn users are 35 years of age or older.


With LinkedIn Company pages, over 100 million professionals are following 1.9 million companies. Job seekers, employees, potential customers, purchasing managers, current clients or interested observers follow companies in an effort to stay abreast of new developments, compare products and services, track potential business opportunities and keep an eye out for job openings. Company pages are a powerful way to reach millions of professionals through word-of-mouth recommendations and they are a great way to show the human side of your company, the individuals behind the brand. In a recent LinkedIn study, 50% of company followers stated they are more likely to purchase products and services from a business they engage with on LinkedIn. A LinkedIn company page is the central hub for your brand, it’s your engagement tool, how you grow business virally through word of mouth, and it is a rich source of analytics. Are you leveraging your LinkedIn Company Page? If not, now is the time to do so because when members want to know more about your company, they look to your company page on LinkedIn.





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