- 50 million professionals worldwide (25 US, 11 EU)
- Affluent (Average Income $89K, 24% have Portfolios of $250K+)
- Highly Educated (95% College Educated, 37% Post-Grads)
- Own more electronic gadgets than users of any other network
- Decision Makers (Business, IT, Consulting, Marketing, Travel, etc.)
- Interested in Gambling (12%, against average 7%)
If LinkedIn introduces a virtual currency model, it can allow Users to purchase or win “Credits”, while Businesses can make deals with LinkedIn to run surveys, campaigns, and quizzes (gasp!) to enable users to win credits. Here are some ways how it can be beneficial for LinkedIn, its users, and businesses:
- Get Product Roadmap Feedback: It has become a trend to gather user feedback to prioritize new features and help define the product roadmap. But seriously, how many times have you offered feedback for a product you don’t use in the first place? This strategy doesn’t help to increase your market share and attract users who don’t use your product.
On LinkedIn, businesses can offer credits to users at a nominal cost for giving feedback on product feature set and roadmap.
- Increase LinkedIn Ad Revenue: LinkedIn users spend an average of 6 minutes on the site. LinkedIn launched its own advertising network last year, but it’s still not effective. Now imagine a LinkedIn with quizzes and polls where you earn credits in return.
Credits will incentivize users to spend more time on LinkedIn, thus increasing the efficacy of its overall advertising.
- Direct Access to Crowd-Sourced Wisdom: Want to know Android market penetration in the US by mid next year? Windows 7 adoption in enterprises by Q2 2010? Today, you need to purchase expensive forecast reports by analysts that often contradict each other. If you ask LinkedIn users in a poll, you won’t need that analyst report, further accelerating the death of the middleman.
Businesses get direct access to crowd-sourced wisdom if LinkedIn users are incentivized with credits.
- Know Your Users & Target Market: Whenever LinkedIn users opt to participate in a poll or survey, their profile information can be shared anonymously. Age, Sex, Professional Experience, Industry, etc. can be vital feedback to marketers for branding, positioning, and advertising.
Marketing can get access to user and market demographics if LinkedIn users are incentivized with credits.
- Event and Conference Planning & Feedback: Through surveys and polls, users interested in attending a conference can vote on venues, agenda, content, etc. Quiz winners can win free tickets to the event. Feedback from conference attendees is usually minimal due to lack of incentive, another area where LinkedIn users can help improve the quality of the next event.
You can have focused Events & better Conferences by availing LinkedIn user feedback.
- Value Added Features for Elite Users: Currently, LinkedIn offers paid accounts meant for businesses, staffing agencies, and search firms. The problem? Features like Profile Organizer remain largely underutilized even if they may be extremely useful for individual professionals not willing to shell out $25 or more for paid accounts.
”Elite Users” with sufficient credits can access premium features of the site, thereby increasing its value to users and further increasing engagement.
- Enhance LinkedIn Question & Answers: The LinkedIn Answers feature promotes you as an “Expert” if you provide best answers to questions. If users were incentivized with credits for becoming Experts, many more users will engage with this LinkedIn feature.
If Experts are rewarded with credits, more users will answer questions, and the overall efficacy of the feature will improve.
These are just some of the examples of why it makes sense for LinkedIn to introduce a virtual currency. Share your thoughts in the comments!