Startup seeks to make online networking more efficient
As professionals who live in an era where everything is social, where most things we do matter only if they are liked, shared or reposted, it is no longer a cliché to say that “it’s all about who you know.” Regardless of the profession we chose for ourselves, or the industry we want to master, we all learn at one point or another that personal networking is a crucial element in the process of expanding our business presence and reputation. The real question is simply how to make the networking process more efficient.
Take, for instance, the world of communications and PR – a world that is near and dear to my heart. Everyone from large brands to small startups wants to get their names out there, and social media has made that process easier than ever before. Yet, we still travel the world to meet people, to attend conferences, to chit-chat and build connections. Why is this real-world connection still so important considering the power of social media and other technologies?
The answer is because even in our digital age, real-world meetings help us build strong relationships with the right people, something that’s still incredibly hard to do using online tools alone. When I’m at a conference, I rely on my current network of people to introduce me to more relevant people. Then I can take advantage of face-to-face meetings to cut down the time it takes to build trust, to develop a meaningful connection, and to recognize whether there is real potential in the relationship. Though at the end of the day, I ask myself, is there not a digital tool that can achieve something similar?
Building personalized relationships in a way LinkedIn can’t
Made by VideoVivo, Inc. (disclosure: they’re my client), PEER is a new networking service that’s taking a different approach. Instead of relying on mostly text-based communication, PEER centers around real-time video conversations. It helps you find other users that are relevant for your networking purposes and guides you to start a video conversation with them.
To keep the quality high, the platform is not open to everyone. PEER requires you connect via your LinkedIn profile and it requires that you have sufficient real connections and experience.
PEER is aiming at the two main challenges of networking that are currently solved by real-world meetings: Finding the right people and building a strong connection with them. LinkedIn is a great network for finding relevant people, but it’s not so strong at building closer, more personalized relationships. Video-platforms on the other hand, are much more personalized, but they get bogged down with inappropriate content and don’t help you find the right targets. PEER blends the two together in a unique online networking recipe.
It’s an interesting take on online networking. Whether you’re looking for new customers or new potential business partners, you will come up against the problems PEER is trying to solve. One way to solve it is by hopping from one event to the next, but PEER is trying to offer an alternative that will let you find and develop new business relationships just by using your iPhone.
As a professional who is working with startups from all over the world, I understand that there’s more than one way to make a connection. PEER is taking an approach that combines existing networking ideals with a new and potentially disruptive strategy.Ayelet Noff is a partner in insidesocialmedia.com and founder and Co-CEO of Blonde 2.0, an award winning digital PR agency with branches in Boston and Tel Aviv. Contact Ayelet via The Blonde 2.0 website , email, or follow her on Twitter and Google Plus.