Visualizing social networks to better understand our customers

Written by Victoria Louise Crump-Haill – Digital Strategist/Account Director‏

Earlier this year LinkedIn launched InMaps, an experimental project that creates a rather lovely visualization of the connections within your network. We think it’s pretty cool.

InMaps runs through all of your connections and detects the relationships between them, and groups them into different network clusters – which are pretty enlightening. LinkedIn separated my networks into eight clusters, including my social media contacts, work network, client network, previous employer network and contacts I’ve met through cycling. The colour-coded networks make it easier for you to see the depth and breadth of your connections in one interactive tool. You can check out mine here.

The visualization provides an insight into who the major connections, bridges and influencers are in your network; people with bigger dots and their names in larger fonts have more connections (and typically more sway) in specific clusters.

InMaps also includes a few options for sharing. It creates a landing page with your LinkedIn InMap (you can check mine out as an example) and provides Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn share buttons so you can spread your map to the rest of your network.

At first sight this might appear to be a gimmick, but understanding our business’s network, connections and influencers is already a major part of what we do each day to provide insights into our customers and how best to support, serve and engage with them; visualisation tools such as InMaps give us an intuitive platform to help us in this process.

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