LinkedIn Grows Up

Had a great meeting with the folks from LinkedIn today and for the first time I’m actually excited by the prospect of discussing social media with a client with some actual real solutions that are both realistic to execute upon but leverage the social aspect of the network.

For those not familiar, LinkedIn ,unlike the consumer social networks Facebook and MySpace, is a white collar, B2B social network which allows people to establish contacts and a network with business associates. The key aspect is that users almost entirely avoid out of work contacts (family and friends) and therefor the usage is almost entirely devoted to ones business life with profiles devoid of pictures of kids, partners and strange animals. How refreshing!

From the advertisers perspective this audience is a goldmine. The information is constantly updated by the individuals in question and targeting is possible by all manner of demographics – job, company, industry, etc. The problem has always been how to use this appropriately.

Like most agencies our early clumsy attempts of using traditional ads produced results comparable to running ads on content sites – proving context and general functional targeting are about even in efficiency. However now LinkedIn is providing solutions that really enable to advertiser to get up close and personal and frankly I can’t wait to start playing with this.

New items include polls, question and answer programs and highly targeted personalized edm. New group capabilities will be added soon and the site also announced plans to open itself to some very carefully vetted apps (hopefully applying lessons learnt by Facebook).

Finally we may see B2B social networking growing into a youthful child – still innocent and unspoilt but open to fresh ideas and inspiring those around it. Lets hope it remains this way for a while before old advertising hacks like me turn it into a troubled teenage – all frustration, anger and bitterness.

Dick Reed
Just Media, Inc.

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