- Got a website? Check box.
- Are you represented on LinkedIn? (The online white pages of Business today.) Check.
- Are you posting stuff on your Facebook page? Check
Ahhhh, but do you have a custom professional network -- a hub that's exclusive to your own members..? Thought not; few companies do. The global association of 100 Women in Hedge Funds Foundation, however, does, and it's called Connect, http://connect.100whf.org/
Why did they head along this route? Why add yet another networking tool to the ever lengthening laundry list of one's professional and Social Media responsibilities?
"We looked at both Facebook and LinkedIn. But Facebook seemed too social - best used for connecting with family and friends - and LinkedIn seemed flat," remarked Mindy Posoff of the influential professional body for women in hedge funds a.k.a 100 Women in Hedge Funds (actually make that 10,000 women worldwide).
Rapid global expansion drove this association to ponder how best to formalize and nurture the relationships between their members and create a professional networking forum representative of their diverse activities.
In a typical week, these activities might range from:
- hosting a financial affairs summit in Toronto,
- to distributing a webcast interview with a hedge fund superstar,
- or encouraging participation in one of the Foundations many philanthropic activities.
As Posoff explained, they wanted a Facebook-like experience whereby they could keep members informed, involved and share their professional know-how.
Of their 10k membership, 3000 have to date joined this social ampitheater. Joining has been deliberately layered; "we didn't want the website crashing before we'd tested it out, said Posoff. All roads lead to Connect though; look for 100 Women in Hedge Funds on Facebook, LinkedIn and you'll find big red arrows directing you to join their organization and the connect network -- that is, if you meet the professional criteria.
How well patronized is this networking hub?
"We know we have a lot of members who use the site for content and connections. But our membership is pretty cautious about expressing their opinions in online forums as this is a professional association. We know there's lots of activity though...One woman was attending a conference in another city and she wanted to organize an important meeting there. She didn't know the city that well and so she posted a query asking other members for advice. Several women jumped in and offered suggestions, based on their first-hand experience. We also use an analytics tool to find out what our members are most interested in. The content, the event and the jobs section are extremely active. We know as we continue to have ongoing unique visitors to those areas on the site.”
For more information on 100 Women in Hedge Funds go to http://www.100womeninhedgefunds.org/ To find out more about the Ning social networking platform, (catchy name, not...), hop over to http://www.ning.com/
Posted by Claire