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Richard Branson on LinkedIn: First to 1M followers

And that's twice as many followers as the first runner-up among LinkedIn Influencers, U.S. President Barack Obama.

Shara Tibken Former managing editor
Shara Tibken was a managing editor at CNET News, overseeing a team covering tech policy, EU tech, mobile and the digital divide. She previously covered mobile as a senior reporter at CNET and also wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. Shara is a native Midwesterner who still prefers "pop" over "soda."
Shara Tibken
2 min read
Sir Richard Branson James Martin/CNET
How's this for a little influence?

Richard Branson today set a record at LinkedIn, becoming the first "LinkedIn Influencer" to have more than 1 million followers.

What's even more impressive is that the founder of numerous Virgin enterprises has twice the number of followers as his nearest competitor -- President Barack Obama.

"Our data shows that [Branson is] popular with everyone from entrepreneurs to HR workers and in industries ranging from tech to construction," LinkedIn Executive Editor Daniel Roth said in a blog post. "The only continent where he doesn't have a single follower is Antarctica."

LinkedIn launched the Influencer program six weeks ago to give a select group of people the ability to write long-form content on the site that's shared with LinkedIn's 187 million members. Roth noted today that the program has been a "huge success," with 6 million total following relationships and nearly 1,400 articles posted.

LinkedIn Chief Executive Jeff Weiner earlier this week saidat a Business Insider conference that the company wants "to increasingly see LinkedIn leveraged as a platform for publishers and individuals to leverage their expertise." He added that the knowledge shared on LinkedIn is information that can't be found anywhere else, and LinkedIn wants to continue to invest in that platform.

Many of Branson's posts have revolved around entrepreneurship and the keys to having a good work/life balance. Roth noted that Branson's five tips for starting a successful business has nearly 500,000 page views, and his 197-word article suggesting that happiness is the best measure of success generated nearly 3,500 comments.

His most recent post covered why people should treat their companies like family.

"Colleagues should take care of each other, have fun, celebrate success, learn by failure, look for reasons to praise not to criticise, communicate freely, and respect each other," Branson wrote.

LinkedIn plans to host a live Q&A with Branson a week from today, using questions from the site's users. People can suggest questions via the comments section in LinkedIn's blog or by tweeting questions to @LinkedIn using the hashtag #Branson1M.