Rise and Shine

Connect with Business Leaders: LinkedIn is the Fortune 500 Exception

Photo of Lori RuffLinkedIn is a social media platform that has taken the idea of connecting people online to others around the world, and applied it to business. From its birth, LinkedIn has catapulted to the forefront of business to business marketing and has become an extremely important aspect of connecting with clients and partners. The professional environment has drawn the most astute and important business leaders to the network; something no other social media platform has been able to accomplish. Let’s take a look at the basic mechanics of networking on LinkedIn.


The LinkedIn Basics

LinkedIn enables users and companies to build profiles exploring their business and personal skills, strengths, and work history. Building the basic profile is relatively straight forward, and using pictures, symbols, videos, and ‘extra sections’ can all help your profile stand out from the rest.


Groups form around common hobbies or interests and allow for discussion. Using these platforms, people are able to connect with people with similar pastimes or business objectives and expand their networks. The number of people who have found work through just group activity on LinkedIn continues to amaze.


Many people say that LinkedIn has resulted in the ‘end of the cold call’. No longer do people need to call businesses without any introduction. Now people can connect and discuss business online before they connect on the phone and in person, increasing success.


If It’s Good Enough for the Fortune 500

Several large companies have built sizable networks that enable them to communicate with people around the globe. A strong LinkedIn presence improves their business prospects as well as their recruiting efforts.


LinkedIn has long been considered a professional business networking platform, which offers an alternative to Facebook’s personal space. Only 59 percent of Fortune 500 companies have a corporate Twitter account. If you want to connect with the biggest businesses and expand your opportunities into the ranks of the world’s largest corporations, LinkedIn is mandatory. It is almost mandatory for startup businesses to become involved in social media, but LinkedIn’s penetration of the Fortune 500 is unique among social networks.


So which CEOs are more accessible and active on LinkedIn? As clear as the benefits of social media are to a small business owner, the logistics, infrastructure and value isn’t as easy to ascertain for a conglomerate like Johnson & Johnson. That makes it all the more surprising that every one of the top executives at Fortune 50 companies is in fact on the LinkedIn network. Who’s at the top of this exclusive list in terms of network size?


Michael Dell– Chairman and CEO at Dell

Michael Dell has taken the virtues of LinkedIn and used them to propel forward. His own extensive network (around 20,000 first level connections) allows him to stay connected with partners and clients around the world. He can update them instantly and simultaneously with statuses, access crucial information at the drop of a hat, and organize meetings based on travel schedules with ease.


LinkedIn offers those in the business world limitless opportunities to expand; you just have to learn how to use them. By the way, in certain searches, just below Michael Dell, you will find Vint Cerf, co-inventor of the Internet (yes you read that right) and core TCP/IP protocols. Both of these two visionaries believe that building a large personal network on LinkedIn is important, and they’ve each put countless hours growing their personal networks into the tens-of-thousands. LinkedIn is the only place in social media that you’ll see business leaders like Michael Dell and Vint Cerf rubbing elbows with the grunts from the mail room. If you’re using social media for business, the access to high level corporate officials is more than enough reason to stop neglecting your profile on LinkedIn.


Do you use LinkedIn? How large is your network, and who are your favorite business leaders on the network?

Lori Ruff


  1. I use LinkedIn to connect quickly with people I just met at a Networking event.  I use it to research someone I’m about to have a meeting with.  I also use it to connect with people who others in my network already know.

  2. Richard Townsend /

    A TRAP FOR YOUNG PLAYERS: Don’t forget the force has a dark side! SCENARIO… Some time back when you first joined your current company you connected with your boss and a few colleagues. You’re in IT and recently you’ve been having a bit of a bad run and some of your work hasn’t been quite up to scratch. You have also as a result been disciplined buy the boss and so you’re fed up, agitated and thinking about moving on… (In your own good time of course)! So you start to prepare. First you update your resume then you make quite a few changes to your linked in profile, new pic, lists of training courses and new qualifications. You know this is wise as you have read Ric’s article on social media being the real “new resume”. Wow you even join a new group dedicated to IT professionals and manage a connection with a well known recruitment agent in your industry. Guess who’s been watching all this activity via updates.

  3. LinkedIn is great but at the same time lacks the features of other social media. Being a business focused social media why does it not offer customized business pages? What it does offer you have to pay a service to have. I have never personally received any jobs from LinkedIn but I do hear that it’s an amazing tool to get them.

    Thanks for the article Lori!

  4. Tom Laing /

     I’ve been on linkedin for many years and in its early form it was great – clean and simple.  then came the groups, discussions, forums and more noise. Linkedin wasn’t the only one and my inbox filled up trying to keep up.  Then came the MLMers. There seems to be a settling or maybe I’ve learnt to manage it better.  Anyway I’m getting more value from it for Networking locally and internationally.  I’ve not had a job offer from being on it.  But I know my profile has been looked at – so it’s not all bad.

  5. I have found LI to be very useful … far more than other social media for business. I would like better insights on Groups and more functional Brand pages.

    BTW: You might add the LI share option to the left hand panel:

  6. LinkedIn is a primary source for most professional queries, be it for recruiting or collaboration

  7. Katiesheadesign /

    Reading a lot about LinkedIn these days!

    • Glad to hear that Katie!  It’s been around for a long time but just recently… perhaps since the news of their going public last year… gaining critical momentum.

      • The IPO was a major catalyst in the resurgence LinkedIn is experiencing. When the website was mentioned regularly in the Social Networking rundowns 3-4 years ago (usually on a list with Facebook and Twitter), there were lots of people who didn’t worry about networking for professional reasons, not to mention the kids just graduating high school that had no reason to need LinkedIn.

        With LinkedIn back in the news, it drew some fresh, young members, as well as lots of the professionals who are now suffering do to the poor economy. 

        • Exactly Adam! Then people get on and find other reasons the platform is beneficial and stay engaged. Others are on just to be on… though they won’t likely find a lot of value unless they are active.

  8. Mcudahy /

    Great information. LinkedIn is so powerful: a wealth of valuable information shared, and the best way in the world to circumvent the gatekeepers when approaching a contact!

  9. Hi Lori,

    Great post!  Enjoyed your post & our phone conversation Thursday about Michael
    Dell and being mentioned in your upcoming Webinar with Dino Dogan. Michael is a
    true social media visionary. Thank you too for your tweet today that I’ve inspired you. Appreciate your kind words.

    There are a lot of synergies with your post and an upcoming AT&T blog “What is a Social Executive?” Lori, I would really like to have your quote for my blog, “What is a social executive?”  I’ll DM you. For anyone reading this unfamiliar with Twitter – This means private messaging 😉

    Today, I was exchanging tweets with @NigelCameron on his new blog “Social in the C Suite”. You should follow Nigel. Also, @LucyMarcus  retweeted me today.  She’s someone else you should know.  She did a great Reuters’ video on “Why Boards Need to Adopt Social Media.” Found this through some research today in Stanford Graduate School of Business Research – “Is It Time for the Board to Embrace Social Media?” 

    Another connection you should make is with my friend Mark Fidelman @markfidelman, @Forbes contributor. He just wrote a great blog that includes a cool infographic “Top 25
    Most Social CIOs in the Fortune 250. 

    Also, thank you for saying that I am your favorite “Passionista”  I owe so much to three important people who honored me in their Huffington Post article @2morrowknight – Sean Gardner, Ann Tran @AnnTran_ and Elainne Ramos @ergeekgoddess.

    And a very “BIG” thank you for putting me on your new Twitter list Top CMO’s to follow.

    Warmest regards,


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