LinkedIn's Power Move in Hosting the B2B Conversation

Posted by Pete Caputa on Aug 27, 2008 9:41:00 AM

LinkedIn is about to make a power move.

I've been using Facebook a lot more lately. It has some powerful features that enable me to initiate conversations with people. LinkedIn, by comparison is very sterile. However, LinkedIn is where business happens. I think too much play still happens on Facebook. Business happens on Facebook. But, I don't think 40+ serious business professionals (outside of the marketing world) will ever really adopt Facebook as a business networking tool, atleast until the kids just graduating college are 40+.

So, what's LinkedIn's power move? For a few years now, people have been building groups on LinkedIn about all kinds of topic. There was very little benefit to the members of the groups. Owners of the groups, could of course, send emails to the members. (Not many marketers caught on and I expect to see the controls tightened on the ability to download email addresses.) 

I also expected for a long time that LinkedIn would launch functionality to enable the groups to interact via the site. The first thing they're launching is forums, which is an obvious idea, albeit nothing that new. What'll be revolutionary about it, I presume, is that when users post to different forums, their contacts will probably be notified via their feeds. LinkedIn Answers already does this, making it possible for people to tap the collective wisdom of their network and the wider linkedin network very quickly. (Answering questions is also a good promotional tool.) I bet their forums will be used more frequently and will draw in all kinds of conversations. 

Here's the official announcement from LinkedIn (from an email):

First, thank you for managing your group on LinkedIn. We sincerely appreciate the time and effort you devote to your members, and we know they value it. Together you have made Groups one of the top features on LinkedIn.

This Friday, we will be adding several much-requested features to your group:

  • Discussion forums: Simple discussion spaces for you and your members. (You can turn discussions off in your management control panel if you like.)
  • Enhanced roster: Searchable list of group members.
  • Digest emails: Daily or weekly digests of new discussion topics which your members may choose to receive. (We will be turning digests on for all current group members soon, and prompting them to set to their own preference.)
  • Group home page: A private space for your members on LinkedIn.

We're confident that these new features will spur communication, promote collaboration, and make your group more valuable to you and your members. We hope you can come by LinkedIn on Friday morning to check out the new functionality and get a group discussion going by posting a welcome message.

What do you think of the new move? About time? Implications?

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Topics: social networking, business networking, online business networking, linkedin

Help me with Homework: Writing a Post on 'Ways to Promote Your Blog Online'

Posted by Pete Caputa on Aug 18, 2008 10:01:00 AM

I'm preparing a post about ways to promote your blog in your sleep.

I'm testing a facebook application that lets people say which blogs they like.

If you like mine, please go over to this page on facebook and become a fan of my blog.

I recommend you do the same thing for your blog too.

I'm getting a lot more serious about using plaxo pulse too. Join me over there too.

I've been too focussed on LinkedIn. On my short list to investigate further are Twitter, StumbleUpon, BlitzTime, Plurck, Mybloglog, Google Reader, FriendFeed, and maybe Inquisix. There's also a lot of different ways to promote a feed on Facebook that I haven't fully explored yet either.

Connect with me on the services above if you use them.

Let me know if you think I should be covering other sites/services. Share any tips you have too.  

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Topics: social networking, business networking, blitztime, linkedin

Online Networking Seminar in Westborough, MA

Posted by Pete Caputa on Apr 29, 2008 11:23:00 AM

The Corridor Nine Chamber of Commerce has invited me to speak to the HYPE9 group, Helping Young Professionals Engage in Corridor 9. It's a great group designed to help younger (21-40 year old) professionals develop their networking skills.

I'm looking forward to doing my "online networking presentation" to this group as many are web natives. Most of the time I'm giving this presentation, I'm talking to people that grew up with a typewriter and rolodexes that sit on their [real] desktop, not online. Many in this group grew up with their "contact list" on facebook and AIM. 

My focus will be less on how to use the tools. More about leveraging the these tools to initiate new business.

If you fit in the demographics and are local enough, here's the registration page. If you're coming, make sure you do the homework listed on the registration page, assuming you want to walk out with referrals. 

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Topics: social networking, online networking, speaking, event, social media marketing

LinkedIn is My Social Network of Choice. But...

Posted by Pete Caputa on Feb 28, 2008 10:13:00 AM

Yesterday, I gave a talk about how to generate leads using linkedin and other online networking activities. 

This morning, it looks like LinkedIn has launched a nice redesign of their site. It took me a few minutes to get used to it. But, after clicking around, I think it really works. It's more intuitive, and organizes things a lot better. It seems that a lot more capabilities and information are easier to find now and are a few less clicks away. (Another fan of the new look.)

Yesterday, Dharmesh Shah, HubSpot Co-founder launched a group on LinkedIn called Internet Marketing Mavens. If you consider yourself an internet marketing maven or aspire to be one, you should request membership. 

Why You Should Join LinkedIn.
Unless your company primarily services teenagers or college students, more of your prospective clients and current clients are on LinkedIn than any other network [In the US atleast].  I'm not saying they're using it well [or are any more likely to respond to your email or take your phone call]. But, they are there. [Where else are there that many of your prospects in one place?] Some of them might be on Facebook or Myspace and I'm sure you could attend conferences where more of them are.

But, no matter what you sell or who you sell to, LinkedIn is the domain of people with buying power inside the home and inside the company. And it's 24/7 and tells you who knows who. (Still not convinced? Here's another good argument.) 

What I Wish LinkedIn Would Do Differently
Allow more unfettered comunication. Their business model is dependent on charging individuals for the privelege of communicating with their personal networks. Long term, this is not sustainable. It's the equivalent to a tax that discourages commerce.

LinkedIn (and us) would be better served if they enabled more communication and created other ways to add value. 

The greatest thing that LinkedIn did for allowing people to meet new people, was start their question/answer functionality.

Their group functionality needs a little work, though. It merely allows you to join a group. It's kinda like joining the chamber of commerce just to be in the business directory. Yeah. It's cheaper than the phonebook, but the real value of joining a group is that the group provides opportunities for people to meet new people through committees, volunteer opportunities and events. LinkedIn should, at a minimum, launch a premium group service that allows organizers to launch a forum, publish some events and send bulletins to members. The groups' page should also show network updates, job posts, question/answers that anyone in the group has published. 

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Topics: social networking, business networking, linkedin

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