IF A BUSINESS NETWORK like LinkedIn has real pulling power, its connectivity will help Irish social media maven Tom Raftery connect to employment in Spain. Tom has tapped into LinkedIn's power to test the waters in Spain, prior to moving from Ireland with his family. Although my immediate LinkedIn network has no Spanish nodes, I've a feeling that some positive energy will flow Tom's way now that he's probing the power of LinkedIn contacts. Like several others, I believe LinkedIn is an effective self-evolving Rolodex.
I've stayed with LinkedIn and encouraged fourth year creative students to join its business networking service. I've listened to people talking about the evolution of LinkedIn, most recently with Chip Griffin's podcast about the topic and like Bernard Lunn, I think LinkedIn has three paths to monetisation.
1. Push marketing. If you know how to mine LinkedIn, you can find the right contacts to avoid cold call. The primary limitation of this effect relates to the size of your network. You need to pull from a pool of at least 1000 names. I think push marketing via LinkedIn is a natural fit for event promotions. We're building a LinkedIn presence for Podcamp Ireland and we expect it will result in easier ways to follow up with our offline event connections. You cannot push yourself directly onto unfamiliar contacts. You need to have a short description on your profile that makes very clear how contact with you is a value proposition for the reader.
2. Pull marketing. Lunn recommends writing a good profile of yourself or your firm. This can lead to auto-discovery by people who are searching for new business opportunities.
3. Just-in-time expert advice for cash. This is what companies like Gerson Lehman Group have done for years and they have built a real business. Lunn points to consumer-oriented variants such as BitWine. I see the advice to questions paragraph every time I log into LinkedIn. I would pay to see a tagcloud that showed me "the best way for me to reach into a social media company based in Spain".
Now, it's back to my first-degree circle of friends, trying to see if anyone could affect a contact for Tom Raftery.