PROFESSIONAL social network LinkedIn has reached more than 100 million users and released some surprising facts, including which companies are most connected to the site.
In a blog post announcing the milestone, LinkedIn published a large infographic highlighting key facts about its growth, who is using the site, and how and when they are doing so (see end of this post).
As I looked at the graphic, one thing immediately jumped out: a logo for Campbell Soup Company (NYSE:CPB).
LinkedIn says Campbell is one of the most represented companies on the site, based on the percentage of its employees who have LinkedIn accounts and who have logged in since January 1. The other companies LinkedIn mentions are all technology companies – Cisco, Amazon, eBay, Apple, Cisco and EMC — which is what you’d expect on a social network.
But an old-economy company like Campbell Soup? What does that tell you, and more to the point, what does it tell investors that they might not already know about the soup company?
A connected company with a smart, experienced workforce
Yes, a cynic might say that staff at the company are wasting time on the company’s dime looking for new jobs on LinkedIn, but as you dig into the data Campbell provides about its employees on its website, and the information that LinkedIn provides, you start to get a different picture.
According to LinkedIn, compared to similar companies Campbell employees are more experienced, better educated, and more likely to change internal titles than other companies. There are also more employees engaged in research and development roles and less in a sales and marketing than at similar companies.
Employees of Campbell tend to come to the company from Procter & Gamble, Kraft Foods, PwC, Johnson & Johnson and Unilever. And if they leave, they go to PepsiCo or Johnson & Johnson.
In its most recent sustainability report, Campbell says it has 17,000 employees in more than 21 countries, with almost 10,000 located in the United States. Global staff turnover decreased from 13.7% in 2008 to 11.6% in 2009. Women make up 40% of the workforce, 22% of the global leadership team, and women-run businesses comprise a majority of the company’s total US revenue and profit. And the company says it recognizes it must do more to create a more diverse and representative workforce.
Impact on stock prices, liquidity
Of course, what neither source says is that Campbell employees obviously have computers with Internet connections and are active social networkers. And that matters more than you might think.
Last week, for instance, Venture Beat reported on a study by a doctoral student at Pace University that concludes that companies with more followers on social networks tend to perform better on the stock market. Another study has also found that social media improves stock liquidity, especially for small companies. Of course, these conclusions seem rather obvious because the more attention a company gets, the more potential buyers it has for its stock, and share prices are simply a function of supply and demand.
But the point is these stats matter, and increasingly human activity on the web is giving investors insights they didn’t have before, such as the make up of your employee base, turnover, how well connected they are, and how visible your company is.
IR professionals who are not paying attention to the web-based data now available about their companies, their peers and their investors are missing important information. And those who have dismissed social media as a fad and stayed away from it in their IR outreach activities, may also be hurting their companies’ visibility in the markets and consequently supply and demand for their stock.
Mobile use at night
There are several other interesting data points in LinkedIn’s graphic that others have reported on, such as rapid growth in Brazil and Mexico, and that most members are now located outside of the US. However, there are a couple points that I haven’t seen anyone comment on, including the interesting data on mobile use and the time of day when that takes place.
As you can see from the graphic below, most traffic to LinkedIn occurs during the business day and tapers off sharply as people head home, except for mobile use. It increases in the evenings, starting around the commute home and peaks at 11:00pm ET.
This strongly suggests that people with iPads, other tablets and smartphones are using LinkedIn while in front of the television or before they go to sleep. Anyone who publishes information, including investor relations departments, needs to be thinking about how usable their content is on mobile devices.
Finance a major sector
One other item I found interesting is the breakdown of the largest economic sectors represented on LinkedIn. The service sector is the largest with 20%, but Finance is one of the 3 top sectors, on a par with high-tech. Again, another data point investor relations pros should pay attention to.
If you’re not actively connecting with analysts and portfolio managers on LinkedIn, and not using your personal profile and company page to highlight your IR activities and information, you’re missing out on opportunities to raise awareness of your company’s story.
LinkedIn’s complete infographic follows. Do you see other interesting data points (other than the “Invest in Cheese” group, I mean)?