The survey had a sample size of 400 managers and above and was distributed across all industry verticals and company sizes. The first figure shows which consumer sites that the respondents are using for business:
As you can see, over 75% of the respondents reported using Facebook, making it by far the most prevalent consumer social site used for business purposes. That’s not really a surprise as marketing led the charge in social for business and Facebook is widely used for social marketing through business oriented Fan Pages. What is interesting is finding LinkedIn in the number 2 spot, just ahead of Google. Now I should point out that this survey is referring to Google search ads NOT Google+, which was not out at the time of the survey. Since Facebook is number 1, let’s look at the detailed data next:
Not really a surprise and certainly supports the idea that Facebook is an active social marketing tool. What is a bit surprising though is how high “To communicate with business colleagues” rated, which would seem to indicate that Facebook is gaining as a “dual” purpose social network, mixing both personal and private. Perhaps the recent improvements to Facebook messaging has added to this use case. It is good to see that more companies are reaching out to customers on Facebook for both customer service issues and for product research. Even recruiting on Facebook is seeing some upswing, although still fairly low overall.
Now compare this to LinkedIn’s data:
The LinkedIn data is perhaps more surprising than the Facebook data IMO. Recruiting is fairly high, which does hold out that LinkedIn is the most popular social site for that function, but it was a little lower than I might have guessed. Communicating with business colleagues came out number 1 with 60% and exceeded Facebook’s % by almost 20%. This would lead you to believe that LinkedIn is already a popular tool for business communication, presumably external of course, which does provide some view to the possible success of moving more into internal collaboration. The number 2 choice, “To promote my company, product and/or brand” is a little bit surprising since the marketing use of LinkedIn is more limited but I think it points to the high use of LinkedIn by sales as a networking and prospecting tool.
The battle for the internal / employee social network is still fairly new and there are no clear winners as yet. LinkedIn has the weight of its professional social network and if it could get the right functionality in place it’s conceivable that it could make a run at this market. The competition isn’t light though and it’s not a war that will be won easily. What do you think, could LinkedIn make a run at enterprise social networks…and what about Facebook?