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The Rise in Niche Networking in International Business Report (Assessment)

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Updated: Jun 23rd, 2022

Introduction

Networking is an exceptionally crucial factor in career growth and personal success. Cutlers et al. (2020) note that “the importance of relationships (…) is implicit in nearly all research on multinational corporations (MNCs)” (p. 715). During the 20th century, people utilized their networking skills in face-to-face communication during professional meetings, informal coffee meet-ups, and large-scale events. In 2021, however, social networking sites are the primary method of securing connections with people around the world. While Facebook has billions of active users, the rise of niche social networks such as LinkedIn, Behance, and Goodwall reflects the preferred vector of professional networking. The growth in popularity of such platforms is in direct correlation with the users’ increased number of career opportunities and benefits.

Vertical Networking: LinkedIn Dominance

The interest towards niche networking sites has become a phenomenon quite recently. A Forbes contributor, Ilker Koksal (2019), defines a vertical platform as “a specifically targeted social network that connects people with very specific interests, hobbies, and passions” (para. 3). Thus, it is easier for users to make the connections they specifically need as they log in to a website, which connects people from the same industry and passionate about the same things. Although there are various niche networking sites such as StackOverflow, Behance, and many others, LinkedIn emerges as a leader in terms of the opportunities for making useful connections it provides. Osman (2021) reports that out of all the LinkedIn user base, almost 40% visit the site daily, which amounts to over a billion monthly interactions. Moreover, statistics demonstrate that “122 million people received an interview through LinkedIn with 35.5 million having been hired by a person they connected with on the site” (Osman, 2021, para. 19). Therefore, it is apparent that vertical platforms such as LinkedIn are imperative for networking.

Niche Social Networks and International Business

While vertical platforms are useful by themselves even regionally, their true benefits lie in the ability to connect communities globally. It is rather impossible for a person to network with individuals abroad even if they work in relatively similar projects and follow the same trends. The logistics of making and maintaining such connections are burdensome. Thus, platforms such as LinkedIn are a perfect solution for professionals around the world to share advice, experience, resources, and expertise (Davis et al., 2020). According to the latest statistics, although the United States “has the most LinkedIn users at 176 million, over 75% of LinkedIn users are from outside the US” (Osman, 2021, para. 8). The rise of vertical platforms such as LinkedIn, Goodwall, or Behance led to a multitude of free opportunities for people from different countries and business environments to learn more about foreign ways of living, working, or producing content.

Benefits of Vertical Networks

Niche networking platforms can offer numerous advantages over global sites such as Facebook or Instagram. In terms of international business, the growth of such vertical media networks has resulted in numerous opportunities. Users can connect with other individuals from a certain nation, thus learning more about the country’s functioning of a particular industry or market, legislation, and regulations (Invest Northern Ireland, n.d.). Expanding one’s global network is associated with enhanced knowledge, competency, professional visibility, and favorable image, according to the research conducted by Davis et al. (2020).

Conclusion

In conclusion, it is apparent that networking has relocated online and is now primarily focused on such platforms as LinkedIn, Behance, Goidwall, and others. Particularly in regards to making international connections, people can find many benefits in using niche networking platforms. In particular, they can acquire new knowledge and critical global business insights from such connections abroad. Moreover, networking with people abroad might establish long-term business partnerships.

References

Cuypers, I. R. P., Ertug, G., Cantwell, J., Zaheer, A., & Kilduff, M. (2020). Making connections: Social networks in international business. Journal of International Business Studies, 51, 714–736. Web.

Davis, J., Wollf, H.-G., Forret, M. L., & Sullivan, S. E. (2020). Networking via LinkedIn: An examination of usage and career benefits. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 118. Web.

Invest Northern Ireland. (n.d.). NI Business Info. Web.

Koksal, I. (2019). Forbes. Web.

Osman, M. (2021). (2021). Kinsta. Web.

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