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The 10 most powerful companies on LinkedIn

11 months ago by Joshua Fruhlinger in Features, Markets

LinkedIn is a unique beast: part employment platform, part social network, and part publishing platform. It's grown to massive scale, claiming more than 590 million members across 200 countries. In other words, it's arguably the world's most powerful business networking platform. It's also become a critical messaging device for professionals and businesses, with an engaged audience and unique promotional opportunities. What Facebook dropped as a publishing platform, LinkedIn picked up in spades.

So who's powerful on LinkedIn? We looked at both followers and numbers of employees registered on the service to gain an understanding of who wields the most influence. This isn't just a followers' game, because LinkedIn is, as mentioned, a unique beast.

Apple logo black.svg

#10: Apple ($NASDAQ:AAPL)

  • 5,807,913 Followers
  • 196,733 Employees on LinkedIn
  • Followers per Employee: 29.5

Apple is, by most measures, the most influential consumer electronics company in the world. Its iconic products, from the iPhone to the MacBook, are seen in virtually every board room of the world. It's thus no surprise that this Cupertino-based company graces the top-10 most-powerful companies on LinkedIn at spot #10. Despite claiming almost 6 million followers on the network, the company does virtually no publishing. It was, however, named the 6th-most desirable company to work for in LinkedIn's "Top Companies 2018: Where the U.S. wants to work now" report. With 5.8-million followers and 197,000 registered employees, Apple gets a LinkedIn followers-per-employee score of 29.5.

The current Unilever logo used since 2004.

#9: Unilever ($NYSE:UN)

  • 4,064,082 Followers
  • 113,299 Employees on LinkedIn
  • Followers per Employee: 35.9

Unilever is home to some of the world's most-recognized household brands like Lipton, Knorr, Dove, and Axe. With more than 4-million followers and 113,299 employees registered as employees on LinkedIn, it scores a follower-per-employee rating of 35.9. The company is active on LinkedIn, with several recruitment and company-culture posts per day showing off the company's diversity and sustainability efforts. Not bad for a company that's been around since 1872.

A square divided into four sub-squares, colored red, green, yellow and blue (clockwise), with the company name appearing to its right.

#8: Microsoft ($NASDAQ:MSFT)

  • 6,414,132 Followers
  • 160,394 Employees on LinkedIn
  • Followers per Employee: 40

Microsoft is an active player on LinkedIn and it shows. It publishes regular updates — quotes from executives and inspirational business advice — to more than 6.4-million followers across multiple LinkedIn "Showcase Pages" on everything from cloud computing, to government, to health. With 160,394 registered LinkedIn members, Microsoft pulls a followers-per-employee score of an impressive 40.

Each letter of "Google" is colored (from left to right) in blue, red, yellow, blue, green, and red.

#7: Google ($NASDAQ:GOOG)

  • 9,507,931 Followers
  • 157,100 Employees on LinkedIn
  • Followers per Employee: 60.5

Google — AKA Alphabet — has its hands in search, telecommunications, software, hardware, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, and just about any other technology term you can conjure. It commands a massive — and the most on this list — follower count of 9.5 million. With 157,100 employees on the network, it scores a 60.5 on the follower-per-employee scale. It does publish — every few days at least — on LinkedIn about everything from Google AI to updates from its design and technology teams.

Facebook Logo (2015) light.svg

#6: Facebook ($NASDAQ:FB)

  • 3,292,014 Followers
  • 44,714 Employees on LinkedIn
  • Followers per Employee: 73.6

Despite having a massive network of its own, Facebook is a major player on LinkedIn. Its LinkedIn presence is notably focused on workplace culture, with updates related to what it's like to work for America's largest social network. It's also seen a rapid 29% growth in employees registered on LinkedIn in just the last year. With 3.3-million followers and 44,714 employees now on the network, Facebook scores a 73.6 on the followers-per-employee scale.

Hays - Recruiting experts worldwide

#5: Hays ($LON:HAS)

  • 2,582,014 Followers
  • 22,806 Employees on LinkedIn
  • Followers per Employee: 113.2

Hays, a recruiting and staffing firm based in London, is one of the more active companies in our top-10 list. With self-published updates at a pace of sometimes several times per day, it's no wonder that it has amassed 2.6-million followers on LinkedIn. Stories about finding success in one's career, changing industries, and more regularly see hundreds of likes. Given its activity and following, Hays picks up a healthy 113.2 followers per employee rating.

LinkedIn Logo 2013.svg

#4: LinkedIn ($NASDAQ:MSFT)

  • 4,956,871 Followers
  • 17,580 Employees on LinkedIn
  • Followers per Employee: 282

If any company on this list knows how to amass influence on LinkedIn, it would be LinkedIn itself. This Microsoft-owned company has seen a 13% growth in registered employees over the past year and is an active sharer when it comes to self-published and 3rd-party updates. It has an impressive 4.9 million followers, giving it a follower-per-employee score of 282.

NewYorkTimes.svg

#3: The New York Times ($NYSE:NYT)

  • 3,252,914 Followers
  • 6,043 Employees on LinkedIn
  • Followers per Employee: 538.3

The New York Times is a major player on LinkedIn, often posting news from its website throughout the day. While its follower count (3.2 million) isn't up there with the likes of Google or Microsoft, its relatively low employee count of just over 6,000 gives it a high followers-per-employee rating of 538.3, proving once again that when it comes to digital influence, content is king.

The Wall Street Journal.svg

#2: The Wall Street Journal

  • 4,946,269 Followers
  • 7,175 Employees on LinkedIn
  • Followers per Employee: 689.4

If content is king when it comes to LinkedIn influence, then few are more influential than market and industry-focused Wall Street Journal. This media giant posts updates to LinkedIn almost every three hours, proving that both the internet and news never sleep. With nearly 5 million followers and 7,175 employees registered on LinkedIn, The Wall Street Journal claims 689.4 followers per employee.

Business Insider Logo.png

#1: Business Insider

  • 5,911,290 Followers
  • 3,415 Employees on LinkedIn
  • Followers per Employee: 1,731

In terms of power per employee — that is, the companies that have the most influence per employee — it's a media game. At the top of the list is publisher Business Insider. With just 3,415 employees on LinkedIn, Business Insider commands the attention of 5.9-million followers. That's a "Follower-Per Employee" rating of 1,731. It makes sense, too: Business Insider is in the business of publishing stories about business, and LinkedIn is a business-focused site. Perfect storm, if you will. In fact, at this time last year, BusinessInsider had just over 3 million followers on LinkedIn, meaning it nearly doubled its influence on the platform in a year.

The full list

Company Name

Followers

Employees on Linkedin

Followers Per Employee

Industry

Business Insider

5,911,290

3,415

1,731.0

Online Media

The Wall Street Journal

4,946,269

7,175

689.4

Newspapers

The New York Times

3,252,914

6,043

538.3

Newspapers

LinkedIn

4,956,871

17,580

282.0

Internet

Hays

2,582,014

22,806

113.2

Staffing and Recruiting

Facebook

3,292,014

44,714

73.6

Internet

Google

9,507,931

157,100

60.5

Internet

Microsoft

6,414,132

160,394

40.0

Computer Software

Unilever

4,064,082

113,299

35.9

Consumer Goods

Apple

5,807,913

196,733

29.5

Consumer Electronics

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Joshua Fruhlinger

Joshua has been writing about technology, lifestyle, and business for over 20 years. He's one of the original writers and editors for Engadget, and still writes a...

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