Why you should care about all the Feds on LinkedIn

GettyImages.com/SOPA Images / Contributor

The number of federal employees on LinkedIn grew significantly last year and here's why you can't ignore this crucial soft-sell platform.

I just completed and published my annual census of Feds on LinkedIn and the results are quite good: an increase of nearly 400,000 over 2021 for a total of 2,411,430, up from 2,029,752 a year ago. Detailed results are featured on my profile on LinkedIn, but published in two parts, one for DOD and one for civilian. LinkedIn would not let me publish something that long in a single post.

One reason for the increase is my ever-improving ability to ferret out niche offices of civilian and DOD components listed as companies on LinkedIn. For example, last year I could identify 36 components of the U.S. Army on LinkedIn. This year it is up to 62. For the 2022 census, I have identified over 390 separate “company pages” for federal and DOD offices. My next goal is reaching 400, so stay tuned for that.

Another reason for the increase, and this one is speculative but based on experience, is that federal managers and employees are more comfortable now on a social network that is built for business. I predicate this as a careful observer on this platform for nearly 18 years. My 18th LinkedIn anniversary comes up on Feb. 11.

A third reason, and also based on front-line observation, is that the pandemic has driven more business professionals in the GovCon market to LinkedIn because we all need to be able to identify and reach out to people we are not going to meet at conferences and other events where we would normally meet new people.

Almost all agencies went up to some degree. Some of the significant areas of growth include:

2021 2022
Army 499,474 529,300
Air Force 267,540  296,605
Marine Corps 41,587 72,006
Defense Department 111,307  121,189
Total DOD/military 1,122,046 1,265,495

2021 2022
HHS 84,598   92,952
DHS 97,113  106,652
NASA 51,506  61,683
Postal Service 143,043  154,062
VA 136,573 148,539
Total Civilian 908,869 1,145,935

I have been doing this census for nine years and publishing the results since 2016. I started because several GovCon executives did not believe me when I told them that Feds were here in significant numbers. The only way to prove them wrong was to identify the feds and count them, so I did.

There are some down sides as well. I hear from my federal connections and others that some people are aggressively selling themselves and their services, sometimes as soon as the connection request. Aggressive sales techniques do not work on LinkedIn. This is a soft-sell platform, relationship building platform.

What does all this mean for government contractors?

The pandemic has altered the playing field in ways we could not imagine 24 months ago. In 2019 and early 2020 LinkedIn was already a significant part of the equation for many, but not for all. Now it is a “must do and do well” platform totally integrated into our ecosystem.

LinkedIn can be great for marketing, sharing content, business development and sales, ABM, lead generation, building a network and much more. However, it takes skill to navigate the platform and to build the right network. Many still don’t seem to have the patience it takes to fully leverage LinkedIn.

Reach out to me if you’d like to discuss improving your skill on LinkedIn.

Here is a direct link to the DOD data and a link to the civilian data.

Mark Amtower has been training companies and individuals on leveraging LinkedIn since 2009. Contact him for details. Amtower’s LinkedIn for GovCon webinars are available online our sister site, GMarkU.