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May 31, 2009

Poll: Business People Say Twitter More Important Than LinkedIn

  • Enterprises favor Twitter for brand marketing.
  • Consultants favor LinkedIn for B2B marketing.
  • Small businesses vary depending on their focus.
  • Digg is for geeks.

A month-long poll conducted on business social network LinkedIn has uncovered some fascinating numbers concerning social media platforms and brand presence. The biggest surprise was that Twitter was deemed more important to brands than LinkedIn, and the poll was performed on LinkedIn. With more than 3,600 respondents so far, each well understood in terms of job titles, company size, age and gender - this is a high-quality data set worth paying attention to. The question asked was simply: "What is the most important new platform for brands to master?" Options were Twitter, Facebook, the iPhone, Digg and LinkedIn.

Some of the conclusions were a real surprise. Others confirmed our suspicions. Read on for charts, bullet points and a few thoughts.

Below are charts breaking out the poll responses from various groups and some text we've written to interpret those charts. It's important to remember the question wasn't "what do you prefer" but rather "what is most important for brands to master." Those are related but different questions.

Just for context, we'll start with a traffic graph.

Key takeaways from the poll:



  • Twitter is #1, leading Facebook by a respectable margin
  • The iPhone is considered less important than LinkedIn
  • Almost no-one thinks Digg is the most important
  • There is no consensus; every platform named (except for Digg) has a group of backers that believes it is most important.

About the respondents

  • 3,615 respondents is a very good number
  • Only 4% were business owners, 26% managers, 56% non-managers
  • 75% were from small businesses
  • 26% were marketers, the largest percentage among job functions
  • Twice as many men responded as women
  • 83% of respondents were between the ages of 25 and 54, only 17% younger or older

Most appreciative of Twitter: Business owners, C-Level or VPs. People at large- or medium-sized companies. People doing business development, marketing or creative work.

Least appreciative of Twitter: Non-managers. People at very large or small businesses. Consultants, Salespeople and Engineers.

Most appreciative of LinkedIn: C-level and non-managers. At small- or medium-sized businesses. Doing consulting or sales.

Least appreciative of LinkedIn: Owners and managers. At large or enterprise companies. In creative or marketing departments.

By Job Title


  • Business owners are most likely to put Twitter at the top, non-management people are least likely
  • Non-managers are most likely to favor LinkedIn, owners are least likely
  • Non-C-level or VP managers are most likely to favor Facebook, owners are least likely
  • About 1 out of 5 people in all positions favor the iPhone

By Company Size


  • Large businesses are most likely to favor Twitter
  • Medium and small businesses are twice as likely to favor LinkedIn
  • Small businesses are twice as likely to favor Digg
  • Medium-sized businesses are least likely to favor the iPhone

By Job Function

LIBrand4 .jpg

  • Marketing, business development and creatives are most likely to favor Twitter
  • Consultants and sales are least likely to favor Twitter
  • Creatives and marketing are least likely to favor LinkedIn
  • Consultants and sales are most likely to favor LinkedIn
  • Consultants are most likely to favor iPhone, marketing least likely
  • Engineers are far more likely to favor Digg than anyone
  • Marketing is most into Facebook, business development the least (prefers Twitter)

By Gender


  • Women are much more likely to prefer Twitter
  • Men are more likely to favor LinkedIn, iPhone

By Age


  • 55+ far more likely 75% than anyone to favor LinkedIn
  • 25-54 more likely to favor the iPhone than younger or older people

So what do you think? Surprises? Confirmed beliefs? This looks like good quality data to us so we suspect we'll be thinking about it for a while. Two things are for sure - there's no topping LinkedIn for professional background information, and there's no chance we'd be able to trust a poll like this if it was performed on Twitter!

Thanks to Tom Humbarger for Twittering about this poll; that's how we found it.

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