The 4 Types of LinkedIn Members

When it comes to LinkedIn, there are four kinds of people: Rockstars, Resumators, Rolodexers, and Reactors.

The PeopleLinx team has spent the last 4 years developing and refining tools to optimize the use of LinkedIn for business. In working closely with clients to help them improve their profiles and presence, we’ve seen just about everyone fall into one of these four categories.

(Hats off to Ann Handley of MarketingProfs and Anderson Analytics, who have both blazed similar trails in developing their own LinkedIn member categorizations in the past.)

PeopleLinx scores individuals and companies based on how effectively they use LinkedIn for business. (We call this, naturally enough, the PeopleLinx Score.) The higher the score, the more effectively the person or company uses LinkedIn. If your PeopleLinx score is below 50, you’re sucking wind. Hit 70 and you’re starting to look respectable. Power users hang out in the 80s, and busting into the 90s makes you more exclusive than an invitation to Yoko Ono’s for New Year’s Eve.

The thing about the PeopleLinx Score is that it’s based on two dimensions: Marketability and Connectivity. Marketability measures how you look, i.e., how well you market yourself and your company on LinkedIn. Connectivity measures the effectiveness of your network. (Notice I didn’t say the size of your network. Connectivity measures the quality and usefulness of your contacts, not just how many you have.)

Now you might think that Marketability and Connectivity are highly correlated. But they aren’t. It turns out there are all sorts of LinkedIn members who have high Marketability and lousy Connectivity, or vice-versa.

That’s what gives rise to the 4 types of LinkedIn members.

  • Rockstars have high scores on both Connectivity and Marketability. They look great and they connect well. They’re the ones the rest of us want to be when we grow up. Try not to hate them for being so good at using LinkedIn.
  • Resumators have good-looking profiles on LinkedIn, but their networks aren’t very strong. I call them “Resumators” because they seem to fixate on the resume aspects of LinkedIn. They’re working hard to advertise themselves and their talents. What they don’t realize is that who you know is at least as important as what you know.
  • Rolodexers are the reverse-image of Resumators. They think LinkedIn is nothing but an online Rolodex, so they merrily go around collecting contacts. But because they don’t invest in their own profile, they actually do a real disservice to their own brand. They look bad in front of lots of people.
  • Reactors are the people who think it’s enough to simply be “on” LinkedIn. They accept contact requests from others, and maybe even update their profiles when prompted. But they don’t take an active role in their network or their profile.

We haven’t run a rigorous test against LinkedIn’s 200+ million members, but based on some of the larger analyses we’ve done, it looks to me like the breakdown across working professionals on LinkedIn looks something like this:

  • 15% Rockstars
  • 30% Resumators
  • 20% Rolodexers
  • 35% Reactors

So which one are you? And what are you going to do about it?