LinkedIn links in

As 2009 draws to a close we are likely to see the usual sort of stock-taking with regard to social media, and also prognostications for how it is likely to develop as a marketing channel. It reminds me a lot of what was going on with email marketing at the beginning of the decade. Stand by for a blizzard of studies like this one showing that most businesses plan to increase their social media spend in 2010.

But a more significant step will be the greater ease of access that advancing technology offers for the use of social media in a business context. LinkedIn has just announced that its LinkedIn Platform, previously exclusive to select partners, is now available for developers anywhere to integrate into their business applications and Web sites. This means that users will be able to access all 50 million LinkedIn profiles and contacts directly via an embedded widget.

Experts predict all kinds of exciting developments to flow from this. For instance with regard to events and exhibitions blogger Stephen Hold enthuses about the opportunities for database development. ” Social media marketing will become more robust,” he says. ” Registration solutions will become the purchase opportunity for inbound marketing invitations.  Event organizers will have the opportunity to connect with online communities interested in the event brand.”

Even more exciting, adds Hold, is the integration of Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn as one common social media web.  TweetDeck, one of the best existing desktop clients, is about to launch the new LinkedIn platform to provide updates along with Twitter, Facebook and MySpace. Incidentally, the inclusion in this suite of connections of MySpace could stop it being totally overshadowed by Facebook, he suggests.

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