Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Financial Times launches social networking initiatives with FT executive forum and FT.com Facebook application

The Financial Times have launched social networking initiatives on 2 different levels. The first is through the Financial Tiimes conferences division and targets media and technology executives. The FT are also targeting students through a Facebook group that offers discounted subscriptions and free FT content.

The FT executive forum entails payment of a 12-month standard membership fee of £1,700 plus VAT. According to Brand Republic 'members will be able to search and contact fellow members using the online networking tool and will have complimentary passes for any conference from the FT's Global Conferences and Events portfolio, access all FT conferences' speaker presentations and podcasts, access to face-to-face members' networking events and a subscription to FT.com.'

This is apparently the first of a number of forums that the FT are planning. They are looking at similar initiatives for luxury goods and property sectors later this year.

The FT are also looking to recruit future subscribers to ft.com by offering free student subscriptions through Facebook. They are offering an FT.com Facebook application to student users that will give a PIN code that can be used to gain a premium 12 month subscription to FT.com. Facebook users who install the application will be able to share it with friends and the FT.com Facebook application will also add a badge to users Facebook profiles and will publish items in users Newsfeeds.

There are widespread predictions that the future of social networking will be based around smaller, niche communities and with these initiatives the FT are well placed to tap into this.

The executive forum is not necessarily a replacement for LinkedIn but enhances the FT conference offering and gives value to the users in terms of access to both presentations and attendees. The FT.com Facebook application also shows that the FT have a good understanding of how people are interacting online and is a clever way of engaging with potential future subscribers.

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