LinkedIn Groups vs. In House Forums

OR, “Why I’m bullish on LinkedIn”

LinkedIn welcomes you - Palo Alto office entrance
via – jerryluk

LinkedIn, well beyond an online cv storer, is the leading business networking website globally. No news there, and it’s peripheral services for building both a personal brand and to amplify your company brand are impressive.

Keeping up with their latest releases and to leverage them is an ongoing distraction. Forums and supportive technology for posting articles is well developed and will continue to develop, for LinkedIn Groups – one of their first release features.

One place I can see great future revenue for them is linkedin logins for member sites on B2B websites and company websites. Thus allowing professionals to keep one set of online info up to date. Hafting to re-enter this and maintain it separately is often annoying, and for may impossible to keep track of.
More about that here: linkedin-oauth

This does mean marketers will be tempted to start out on their own client forums in house, leveraging LinkedIn data, and collecting their own.

In-house

My main qualm with in-house forums is that it forces the client into another login, and another place to visit for web interactions.

Fish Where The Fish Are

It’s Sales and Marketing 101, that when there’s a source of members, technology, and a medium to promote you forum to a new user every second (latest stats), why would you hide your forum out of reach?

Sure, but what if it’s an ultra elite group, that you’ll never open to the public I hear you say.
Then does it warrant the huge IT commitment to keep that forum at a level of style and sophistication your CSUITE clients expect? Can you keep up with the developers at LinkedIn, do you also want to own that security risk?

And comparative analytics would be difficult. How do stats on users in my in-house forum compare, demographics, usage etc. This is something else a locked away community has difficulties with. Let alone it’s ability to re-purposed this data, or it’s value for reselling, one of FaceBook’s biggest future revenue streams.

A possible sore point is linking to sensitive docs and project calendars, something that needs to be addressed, possibly via linkedin-oauth?

What are your thoughts, does anyone have a great B2B forum running in their website or members area?

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I would love to hear your views!

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