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Are you making the most of LinkedIn Skills?

Using the LinkedIn Skills feature for career development or identifying influencers

Update: September 2012. LinkedIn now has 10 million users in the UK, impressive for a country with a population just shy of 60 million. LinkedIn say that's four out of 5 professionals. To celebrate, LinkedIn have produced this nice infographic we thought we'd share with a reminder to check our tutorial below for how many are in each specific business category.

LinkedIn Skills will show you how many professionals share your skills and who are the major influencers in your sector.

This is a relatively new feature in LinkedIn that pulls data from its now enormous user-base to create both an interesting and useful tool.

In this post, I'll first take a look at how the size and growth of different digital marketing sectors and then in the second part suggest how you can apply this tool.  I think the tool has four primary uses, but let us know if you use it in other ways:

  1. Finding influencers
  2. Sourcing new groups / businesses to follow to aid personal growth
  3. Personal Profile growth / visibility
  4. Finding new employees

A look at the growth in digital skills

I have reviewed the size and growth of some of the core  digital marketing skills below to show the kind of trends we are seeing in skills related to digital marketing. I've looked at  some of the more established skills and also upcoming skills such as social media. The size and growth of these sector is useful for seeing where your opportunity lies on a personal and business level.

Email marketing

Still a vital technique in online marketing, email skills and subjects have become much more focussed according to LinkedIn with deliverability and strategy two specialist areas. The number of LinkedIn users with email as a skill sits at the 750k+ mark so a very high userbase. A majority of that user base sitting in the 25-34 age bracket. A skill still very much required from businesses it would appear.

Web Analytics

With 7% YoY on LinkedIn, web or digital analytics is an ever growing and vital area of marketing.  Conversion seems to be the key skill area within analytics whether it is specifically conversion optimisation or landing pages etc. Not quite as competitive as some other skills and yet an increasingly important role in effective marketing.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Another large skills area on LinkedIn and very competitive. It has grown 24% YoY and has the usual related skills such as keyword research & link building, everything you would come to expect. With over 390k in this category it is one of the larger skills related to online marketing too. If you are developing your skills in this area, you should consider techniques that relate but are not as competitive, such as content creation, inbound marketing, on-page optimisation etc.

Social media marketing

One of the faster growing areas online, which I am sure doesn't come as a surprise! Up 42% YoY and with some interesting related skills growing at a similar rate (though much, much smaller volumes) such as pinterest and hootsuite. Larger than SEO & email with over 800k users it is definitely the most competitive space to be. Largely dominated by the 18-36 age bracket, it is interesting to see such a vast amount of users in that space. Differentiating and focussing on specific areas is a key if you are to be successful in this area.

Inbound Marketing

The term coined by marketing software company HubSpot and used now to describe the difference in marketing techniques due to the evolution in technology and customer needs. Amazingly, the skill set has reduced on LinkedIn YoY by 7%, with only 155k users with this particular skill. Interesting inbound lead generation is on the rise as is HubSpot showing again more people focussing their skills on aspects of marketing rather than been too broad. Interestingly also dominated by an older work force, 30+ which could mean it is quite often seen as a more strategic skill...

Depending on your ambitions, using the data above and from your own research on LinkedIn it is key you think how you position yourself on the business social network as you can imagine what this means for head hunting and future job opportunities. Been able to filter people by skill, location & potentially influence within a matter of clicks.

Tips for making the most of LinkedIn Skills

Personal and career use

The most obvious thing to take a look at is the skills sets you have entered for your profile. See this help topic on adding or changing skills on your profile. Some ideas:

  • Broaden the range of skills on your profile.
  • Maybe you are missing some skills which are described in different ways.
  • Perhaps you can add niche skills as well as broad categories
  • Join related groups and become active in them, increasing your own influence as a result

Using LinkedIn Skills to Identify Influencers

Within the LinkedIn Skills area, it is easy to see the influential people within a given field (or rather the most connected). As part of researching through this service you should consider the following points:

  • Is this influencer a blogger / active in communities - This way you can follow them and likely learn too
  • Do you have content they would find fascinating that they may want to share?
  • Are you connected with them (do they have a reason too, if not, create one)

Remember that influence on LinkedIn is largely based on number of connections and related skills, quite a simple algorithm.

By Chris Soames

Chris Soames is a Smart Insights blogger and consultant, he has worked in digital marketing for over 6 years with the last few years managing international web strategies for a leading travel brand. Now the Commercial Director at First 10, an Integrated marketing agency, he helps clients get clarity on their marketing strategy and create campaigns engineered to engage with their consumers to help drive sell-through. Most of all, Chris enjoys working with talented people who want to create great (& commercial) things not just tick boxes.

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