LinkedIn is a business-focused social media platform mainly used for professional networking. Founded in 2002 by venture capitalist Reid Hoffman, product designer Allen Blue, marketing professional Konstantin Guericke, engineer Eric Ly, and engineer Jean-Luc Vaillant, LinkedIn currently has more than 660 million registered members in 200 countries. Owned by Microsoft since 2016, it is considered the second most-used online platform for B2B marketers, just behind Facebook. The company currently has 15,800 employees worldwide.

LinkedIn s history

LinkedIn is headquartered in Sunnyvale, California, and has 33 global offices. Launched as a way for job seekers to create user profiles emphasizing their skills, job histories, and professional goals, the platform places importance on making connections that allow users to form and join professional networks.

Two years after its launch, LinkedIn added its popular job listings feature, which allows companies to post jobs, search the network for potential candidates, and advertise on the site.

In January 2011, the company filed an initial public offering and traded its first shares in May of that year. In May 2016, Microsoft acquired LinkedIn for $26.2 billion or $196 a share the largest acquisition in Microsoft s history. Less than a year later, Linkedin revamped its desktop user interface to more seamlessly integrate with its mobile app, which was launched in 2008.

How LinkedIn works

Unlike other social media platforms, LinkedIn is focused on making business connections. Members, with both free and premium accounts, create profiles with a photo and an emphasis on their curriculum vitae or resume, including work experience, job history, training, education and skills. Employers can list jobs and look up potential applicants while job seekers can save jobs and often apply for positions directly within the website using the desktop or mobile user interfaces.

LinkedIn has distinguished itself from other social media platforms in a few key ways:

  • It drives engagement among members through likes and shared posts to form tiered (first, second, third) associations to other members, with the potential to expand first-tier networks
  • Allows members to see who else has viewed their profile
  • Allows members to form a solid B2B marketing and branding platform using LinkedIn Ads, company pages, inMail, and more to create ad campaigns, drive company traffic, generate leads, create video content, build a thought leadership portfolio, and enhance employee recruitment
  • By remaining hyper-focused on business relationships, it has, by and large, avoided the political controversies plaguing other social media platforms.

Llanor Alleyne
Llanor Alleyne
Llanor Alleyne has 20 years experience as a B2B technology editor and writer. She is managing editor at TechnologyAdvice.
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