2008 will be the year of the personalized social business network

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Look, I don’t really think that the mySpaces and Facebooks of the world are that important for the typical small business as they stand today. There may be very practical business reasons for some to actually use these and other social networks, like LinkedIn, for business gain, but most people that have jumped on the social network bandwagon have found themselves left with a “is this all there is” kind of feeling.

To those I say this, the value of the current public social networks for business folks is not what you can get out of them for gain today, but what you can learn by using them for practical gain tomorrow. That’s why SpacebookedIn makes sense for you now

The Facebooks of the world are busy teaching millions and millions of business folks how social networks work, how social networking works, how shared applications can be viral and ever-present. The real payoff in my opinion is that the wave to come after the Facebook bubble bursts is the “personalized business network.” Once everyone of your customers and prospects knows how to use what are easily replicatable social networking tools, like building profiles, sharing video and connecting based on mutual interests, your job of building your own social business network around your own very specific community of niche will get a whole lot easier.

2008 will be the year of the personalized social business network – that’s my prediction!

Think of mySpace, LinkedIn and Facebook as your labs – get in there and experiment for the future. then start planning your own personalized social business network.


The WorkBench

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  1. Pingback: Acorn Creative
  2. I don’t know if you know about it, but ning.com is already providing customizable (slightly limited) social networks. It’s a great opportunity to get on that personalized social network craze early.

  3. To be honest, there is every reason to believe small business (SMBs really) to now be looking at it. It is still an unknown entity. Actually, recent reports show that only 26% of B2B respondents expect to raise SMM budgets next year (compared to Search at 62%).

    As with many branding exercises, there is no readily available measurements that show it as a viable short term marketing investment. That is the crux of the issue, ROI. Larger companies have such branding activity budgets, SMBs do not.

    SMM marketers still need to establish value. This was (and is to a certain extent) the problems faced by SEO people… so I have to say adoption of SMM will still be slow in 2008….


  4. theGypsy

    I agree it will be slow, and those who move now must be willing to do a lot with perhaps little return, but that’s exactly what blogging was 3-4 years ago.

    Spread the word!

  5. Yes, social technology will enter the business space all over in 2008. We experienced this with approximately 4,000 Beta Customers in Xeequa, a network that will launch in Q1-2008 – exclusively for business! No head hunting, no advertising, no music distribution, but business introductions, joint sales calls, project sharing, group building and more all across company boundaries. BUT it may take some years for many SMBs to explore, adopt and finally leverage social technologies.

  6. Being fairly new to the world of invention and innovation, I had a very difficult time finding all of the resources I needed. When I found a new community for inventors, it made a world of difference! Although the site is still in its early stages, it will eventually be a virtual trade show for inventors! Social business networks such as these are going to open doors for so many people who would not have access to these resources otherwise. The entrepreneurial face is certainly going to diversify!
    (this is my first shot at this. I hope I made some kinda sense)

  7. i think you’re right on the money John. I made a similar prediction for 2008(in much less detail) in this Predictions for 2008 in Digital Marketing Q&A – see point 2.

    I think the bigger companies will champion the cause in 2008 with a few forward thinking SME’s testing the water. Dell have already started this train of social media marketing through corporate communities.

  8. I agree. I think that with the backlash against Facebook, you’ll see more forays–and money poured–into the development of alternate social networks.

    Wouldn’t be surprised if you’re right, John.

  9. It’s a good idea to get on the bandwagon (small business use of social media) now, and spend some time experimenting. And just be ready when this comes into its own. I haven’t been totally comfortable with that position, but this post reminds me that I need to get there. And soon.

  10. You make some excellent points. However, let us not forget that the average small business person doesn’t have the knowledge or time to plow through the morass of information in either venue. There still will be aplace for counselors and mentors of these small businesses.
    Thanks for the post

  11. The use of social media by small businesses appears to be growing. It is much easier to reach someone by sending a message on Ning or Facebook than by email many times. We must continue to educate by example to get more people on the bandwagon.

  12. Stark:

    I would venture to disagree – Social media is word of mouth marketing on steroids. As we move forward from the early adopters to the mainstream, the uses for the technology will emerge. The triangle of adaptation is clear, it starts at universities (Facebook) then moves to entrepreneurs (Ning) then main stream (?)

  13. I think OpenID and the Data Portability Workgroup will erode the monopoly sites like MySpace, Facebook and even LinkedIn have on profile data and conversations. Profiles will become liquid and niche conversation aggregators will rise. My thoughts.

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