LinkedIn in Cambodia: Revisited

Five years ago, Geeks in Cambodia took a look at the popular business social network LinkedIn and their incredible early success. But half a decade later, what role does LinkedIn play in Cambodia?

LinkedIn has built itself as one of the top platforms for Business to Business (B2B) marketers. Acquired by Microsoft in December 2016 for $26 billion dollars, the platform surpassed 500 million users four months later, and there are no signs of slowing down.

There are half a billion users registered on the platform globally in 2018. With 182 million users in Asia alone, this is a huge jump over the 40 million from five years ago.

When Geeks last took a look at LinkedIn, they only had three million users in China, now it’s almost fifteen times that figure, and in India the number of users jumped from 19 to 52 million, but we wanted to find out if it has taken off in Cambodia.

It is hard to find accurate user data for Cambodia. A search for the hashtag #Cambodia found a large number of results and our exploratory research showed that most posts on the site are either sharing news articles or property information in the Kingdom, with a smaller portion of posts being job postings. We see that LinkedIn has a sizeable number of users in the Kingdom, and has become an alternative to Facebook for business oriented information (or at least an additional outlet).

Celia Boyd, the Managing Director of SHE Investments, says that from her experience working with local entrepreneurs and startups she sees more people in Cambodia using the platform. Yet she notes that Facebook still dominates in Cambodia, even for businesses.

“Most entrepreneurs are using Facebook as both a means of promotion and also communication, and I would say that in Cambodia you’re likely to have more brand awareness on Facebook than you are on any other platform right now,” she explained.

A 2016 academic paper that looked at whether using LinkedIn contributed to professional success found a number of interesting results among the almost 3,500 Dutch people who took part.

“LinkedIn users reported the highest amount of professional informational benefits, followed by Twitter users. In general, Facebook use was associated with lower informational benefits. Within each platform, posting professional content (in groups) and strategic networking were consistently related to increased informational benefits. On LinkedIn, strong and weak ties contributed to informational benefits.”

Yet the author was clear that it is difficult to draw a clear link between using LinkedIn and professional success “…because it remains unclear whether LinkedIn increases informational benefits or whether successful people are more likely to use LinkedIn.”

SHE’s Ms. Boyd recommends that social media users utilise and leverage the strengths of the different platforms available in Cambodia. She believes that LinkedIn can be a valuable space for entrepreneurs, but must be utilised properly to be more valuable; Facebook remains key for direct sales, but when it comes to professional business exposure to peers that LinkedIn is a viable option to utilise.

While LinkedIn’s usage data in Cambodia remains elusive, Geeks conducted a poll on Facebook and found that many in the Kingdom feel that it has professional advantage, such as promoting their businesses interests, network, or to better market themselves.

For Cambodian author and publisher Thavry Thul, LinkedIn offers a clear and simple way to promote herself and her work.

“Of course I use Facebook for promotion and to engage with the public, this is Cambodia! But I like how LinkedIn clearly and easily helps someone show information about themselves and what they do. It makes it easier to trust someone, and then contact them if you want,” she noted.

Given LinkedIn’s growth in Asia over the past five years, it is likely that the growth of the business and digital landscape in the region continues, so will the use of this business-focused social media platform. Ms. Boyd believes LinkedIn is the best tool for people looking to advance their careers, or even consolidate a network of like-minded individuals.

“If you are looking for a job at a professional company, then I would recommend having a LinkedIn page; as an employer myself, I am always looking for experienced professionals and if they are on LinkedIn then it is easier for me to find them!”