LinkedIn lets web users separate the business side of social
— Reprinted from eMarketer.com
Business-to-business (B2B) websites share the same reasons to offer social sign-on to their visitors as business-to-consumer sites—a wealth of information on their registered users, plus the ease of allowing users to carry their identity around with them rather than forcing them to fill out yet another online form. But data from a major social sign-on provider suggests that B2Bs need to offer more than Facebook Connect to serve their business customers.
Social platform Gigya reported a dramatic increase in the use of LinkedIn accounts to sign in to B2B sites between July 2010 and January 2011. In that time the share of logins using a LinkedIn username and password rose from just 3% to 20%.
In the past, Gigya reported just a tiny slice of all B2B logins were devoted to LinkedIn, while most used Facebook. That landscape is beginning to change as more site visitors choose to separate their business activities on social media from their personal ones.
Earlier research from social login solutions provider Janrain suggested it was important to offer many login options, as users tend to use different types of sites differently. Visitors tend to have multiple identities that they may want to keep separate. For many, Facebook is for casual socializing with friends and family, while LinkedIn represents their business-oriented presence.
Gigya also attributes the rise in LinkedIn login usage to improvements in the social network itself, which now make it even easier for businesspeople to use their LinkedIn identity while still taking advantage of powerful social tools.
“Although LinkedIn has always had the professional social graph, they’ve really made some great moves over the past year especially to encourage more communication and collaboration among people using the service,” according to the Gigya company blog.