Social networking business flow

There are a couple of good articles worth a read today on social media and trends between online and offline. Mashable have an article on ‘Startups that Came Back from the Dead‘, looking at social networking platforms from LinkedIn to Friendster and Pluck as examples of businesses that used a range of strategies to investigate their markets and reinvent themselves for their users. I wonder also whether some of these applications just needed time for the inherent value of the product to be understood by the target market. I noticed in a study currently being conducted on Facebook by the Social Network Analysis group that almost everyone who had completed the survey had a LinkedIn profile. Yet when I joined in 2004/5 (I can’t remember when exactly) it was used by very few people, and seemed nothing more than a fad. Now LinkedIn is used as a major resource for discovering new talent and head hunting (I’ve even used it myself to check up on applicants for roles I have advertised and cold-contacted people I found on LinkedIn based ontheir skills set). Of course there is an inherent bias in LinkedIn toward technology based industries. But increasingly it is being used as a professional face and resource for a professional profile. It’s just been a very slow starter of an application. Just goes to show, you sometimes need to be rather patient in the world of social media!

There’s also an article on odd trends of online advertising. Or at least that’s how it’s profiled on Mashable and even in the tone of the Harvard Business Review source article. What has been found is that online advertising has more of an impact on offline sales than on online sales. Actually I don’t see this as surprising at all. Online advertising works best where its matched with the targeted interests of netizens – and most particularly, social networking users. When they are online, they don’t necessarily want to be distracted from what they are doing online, but they are often ready to take ideas in to account for later consideration. In particular, where online advertising involves coupons, or is advertising an offline event or is in any way complex, then users may take note for later checking offline, generally when they are (mentally) framed for purchasing. To me, this trend is indicative of evels of trust of online messages. Online is a place where things are observed and considered; offline is where they impact. That may change over time but right now that’s the flow of business online. And to be honest, as a business leader who is dependent on advertising income from technology products, I’m pretty comfortable with that.

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