The Business Value Of Social Networking

July 18, 2008

Great interview on Forbes,com with John McCrea, head of marketing for Plaxo, which manages 40 million online address books, to learn why entrepreneurs need to get into the game, how to do it and where this is all going.

John McCrea: There are a few phases to social networking. The first phase was Friendster, MySpace and clones and it was pretty frivolous. Everyone connected as a friend. Strangers came together online. The second phase was about who you knew, maintaining and enriching your relationships. It was a way not to lose touch with people as you changed jobs or moved. The latest phase is an online representation of real world activity. Small and midsize businesses were always people who spent money on their Rolodexes and then on database software. They survive and thrive based on the power of personal networks.

I’ll point to Plaxo as a network address book and “Pulse” as an online service as examples. Plaxo was a precursor to an Internet-based service and it’s composed of members keeping up their contact information on their “implied profile page.” Even then, many users would share birthdates and would get e-mails about who changed jobs, whose birthday it is, etc. It allowed people to connect and send flowers on a birthday or congratulate someone on a new job. It made networking stuff easier to do and made a smaller businessperson appear well organized and thoughtful. Pulse brings the address book to life. Users can connect up with different services on the Web. They can share postings on Flickr or a blog, where getting an audience can be hard.

Truly it is about starting a relationship first. Nothing is more annoying than the guy (or gal) who upon the first meeting immediately bombards you info about the latest and greatest network marking company etc… Get to know me first is my policy.

Getting to know your customers and/or potential customers is the fiirst step in discovering their needs and how you can best assist them, solve their problem or ease their pain.

The Business Value Of Social Networking –

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