Marketing Marketing Communications Social Media Marketing Technology for Marketing

Are you the Guru? Where do you rank?

Did you spot the potential of LinkedIn before everyone else?

Last week I heard a familiar story from a retail client of ours. They had been paying a monthly retainer to a self-proclaimed ‘Social Media Guru’.The Guru promised dramatic increases in online sales from a few tweaks to their tweets and fine-tuning their ‘Search Engine Optimisation’. After paying the retainer for four months, and noticing no difference in sales or website traffic, they cancelled the agreement.

The Guru

It’s funny how many people who work in the world of Social Media bill themselves as a Guru. In fact, if you hear the term ‘Guru’ mentioned in 2011, it is more likely to be in reference to someone working in this space than an Indian mystic who can share any insight into the meaning of life.

I wonder how much I need to know before I can be billed as a Social Media Guru? Part of what I do is to tell others how they might use Twitter, FaceBook and LinkedIn to grow their brands online, but is that enough?

This got me thinking. Surely a social media guru spots the networks and websites that will make a difference before the rest of us. And if that’s the case, they must have seen the potential of FaceBook, Twitter and LinkedIn (and even MySpace) before we even knew they existed.

I received an email from LinkedIn a few months back to say I was one of the first million members, but I thought I was rather late in signing up, as the site was launched in May 2003 and I didn’t join until July 2004, making me member number 898,552.

So did us mortals spot the potential of LinkedIn before the Social Media Gurus? I’ve looked at a few of them and the results are interesting.  There are some clear patterns forming that could be fun to have a look at. I checked when a couple of people I know signed up and the results were surprising.

It’s easy to find your member number on LinkedIn. Click on ‘view profile’ when you are logged in and the URL that comes up will look something like this:

The ID is your member number, being 898552 for me.

What’s yours? Let me know by adding a comment to this post with your number, together with the industry you work in and I’ll update it with a few charts shortly. Let’s see if the gurus were the first to spot the significance of LinkedIn, or if someone else (maybe the headhunters) could teach them something.

(Featured Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash)


  1. I think we can safely say that I am not a social media guru.
    (If this game was ‘who has the biggest number’ I clearly win.)

  2. 23,457,589. I’m a retailer and consultant.
    And, after the first wave of early adopters, how many people joined when they started to think “this job could go pear-shaped”? I find a surge in contacts-harvesting either means “my job’s at risk” or “I’m about to launch something new”.

  3. 16274 – it seemed to go through various tipping points though – with long dormant periods in between, but it is so much more useful now that there are more people on and using it

  4. I come in at 8,904,143. 2005. Didn’t use it much at the start and still use it far less than other social media. Note to self, one – use Linked In more. Note to self, two – all routes to guru-ness should be fully exploited!

  5. 986,562 – This will skew your numbers… I was a ski instructor at that time, albeit one who needed to return to the real world. Before that, I worked in broadband / telecoms strategy. Am I the guru of all ski instructors?

  6. 67,032,442
    Seems I am a late adapter. Signed up when I did my marketing degree in 2008.
    Retail Marketing

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