FirstTake: Extend LinkedIn’s Community To Your Website

I was briefed as an analyst by Adam Nash, LinkedIn’s Vice President, Search & Platform Products to learn about today’s announcement around opening their network as a platform.

Announcement: Access LinkedIn Data From Other Locations Using The LinkedIn Platform
Starting today, developers worldwide can integrate LinkedIn into their business applications and Web sites. They’ve announced that OAuth os now available at Developer.linkedin.com.  Like Facebook Connect, this means that any website or any web application can allow users to login from their LinkedIn account on a third party site, and even publish information back to their LinkedIn profile and network from that third party site.

What It Means To Business:

Connect the Affluent, Educated, and Active Community To Your Site
The stats are obvious, they have a network of 52mm (a sixth of the size of Facebook’s 300mm+) engaged individuals that represent decision makers and those that aspire to be upwardly mobile in their career, view the stats page to learn more. In fact, over 51% earn more than $100k+ a year, and 23% earn more than $150K+ annually. Over 77% of community members have a college degree, making this an educated bunch, yet It’s not just about quality of community, their is an apparent degree of site activity, LinkedIn’s site rivals that of Forbes, and even the WSJ.com, according to Compete.

Your Business Applications And Website Should Never Be “Alone”
If your company is in B2B or trying to reach business professionals, chances are you have an application for them to use.  Now, as you launch them, you can quickly integrate with the LinkedIn platform, this way personal data is already populated.    This also goes for your corporate website, provide your users the ability to see which one of their LinkedIn contacts has been there, and encourage them to interact with your site and trigger messages back to their LinkedIn news page –fostering word of mouth.

LinkedIn Data To Be Pervasive
CIOs must wake up and realize the value of social networks, even last week, LinkedIn announced a partnership with Microsoft Oulook, extending it’s profile information to legacy email systems.  Data will get pre-populated, meaning your contacts can be viewable within the context of your existing emails, empowering you to know more about who you’re meeting even though you’ve never met.  We should expect in the future that existing Intranet networks will connect their LDAP to the LinkedIn profile.

And yes, if you haven’t noticed yet, the speed on innovation on the social web is increasing at a rapid pace, things are happening faster than ever. To get a good sense of the evolution of LinkedIn, I’ve created this matrix which shows it’s evolution and some predictions of where things are to head.

Web Strategy Matrix: Evolution of LinkedIn

LinkedIn Evolution Example Status
Destination Social Network LinkedIn is a destination social network, users to there, login and only communicate within the confines of the domain. Since it’s inception in 2003, this is how it’s been.
Application Platform Allows third parties to build applications that sit on the LI domain and interact much like Facebook’s Platform In Oct 2008, A small hand-selected group of companies like Box were allowed to do this, it’s not currently rolled out to others.
Portable Data Third party websites can allow users to login using LinkedIn identity, see which friends are also present, then spread information back to LinkedIn.com. This is today’s announcement, Nov 2009
Personalized Experiences on Third Party Sites Third party websites can provide personalized content to first time users by recognizing their LinkedIn profile. Prediction: Mid 2010
Social CRM LinkedIn partners with SalesForce, SAP, Oracle, Microsoft, to allow data in LinkedIn to quickly be exported to CRM systems. As customers have queries or support issues, the CRM systems will trigger notifications to brand managers. Prediction: Late 2010
Augmented Reality Using mobile devices, users can quickly hold a device up a cell phone in front of a peer to see their LinkedIn data –without even having a conversation. Prediction: 2011