Social media statistics for energy sector don’t jibe

Troy Media Special Report

February 15, 2010

By Barb Deters
Troy Media

EDMONTON, AB, Feb. 15, 2010/Troy Media/ – Alberta is the energy capital of Canada – one of the top oil and gas producers, with one of the largest reserves in the world. How can it be that the province’s oil and gas sector is so sorely underrepresented on Linked:Energy, the largest energy group participating on LinkedIn?

Why isn’t an industry which is facing growing scrutiny from environmentalists and politicians not forging alliances with this growing energy network?

Othe 35,000-plus Linked: Energy members worldwide, only 379 from Alberta. Texas has 3,000.

Why isn’t Alberta’s oil and gas sector taking action?

Instead of burying its head in the sand, surely the oil and gas sector should be taking every advantage of the global reach of a social-media network specifically designed for businesses and professionals.

Linked: Energy is the brainchild of Olivier Taupin, who is the founder and CEO of Linked:Group, a high-tech social-media company. He and his partner Jean-Marie Slove own some of the world’s largest LinkedIn groups, including Linked:HR, with more than 200,000 members, Linked:Energy, Star:Candidate, Linked:Seattle, and Linked:Golfers. According to Taupin, Linked:Group advises many corporations on how to use social networking for “brand image development, lead generation, and talent acquisition.” The company recently secured funding to launch a new consulting firm focusing on business social networking that’s tailored to the needs of large corporations.

Strong experienced management

An integral aspect of Taupin’s online communities is the support that’s provided to manage, moderate and promote group members. For Linked:Energy, that responsibility falls to Michael Tingle, chief evangelist and the group’s manager. Based in Ontario, he has more than 19 years of business development experience in the renewable energy and energy management sectors, and is currently the director of corporate business development at ORTECH Consulting.

Tingle points out that Linked:Energy “includes all of the industries involved in the production and sale of energy, such as fuel extraction, manufacturing, refining and distribution, as well as the green or renewable energy sectors. The biggest discussions between our members always revolve around climate change. Besides discussions, jobs, events and networking make up the rest of the areas of value to our members.”

According to his web page, “LinkedIn limits the number of groups you can join, but you can join 50 subgroups,” which means “postings are far more specialized and targeted . . . and increase your networking capabilities.” Linked:Energy subgroups include executives, venture, oil and gas, energy efficiency, carbon capture and storage, bio-energy, and wind power, to name a few.

When asked why the Alberta energy sector should join Linked:Energy, Tingle was quick to respond: “Recently, I noticed a discussion about a request for a subgroup for Houston. They were calling themselves the ‘energy capital of the world.’ Being Canadian, I thought Alberta should vie for that title. Albertans should join our group because of the vast opportunities to learn, socialize and promote themselves and the great Province of Alberta. It is amazing how Alberta and Canada are viewed by our members.”

Tingle confirmed the dismal level of involvement by Alberta companies. “It is right-210 from Calgary, 41 from Edmonton, 28 from other areas. A sad number . . . but I am going to change that, with some effort. I am starting a campaign today directed at all the Albertan members to become larger than the 3,000 Texans that are in our group.”

Those efforts will be supplemented by Sales Visionaries Inc., an Edmonton-based company started by Kim Kerr. It is the sole Alberta distributor for Taupin’s ULP Networks, Inc., under which Linked:Group currently operates.

Kerr heads up a team of sales and marketing strategists. She created Linked Alberta, a social network for professionals, and the Linked Alberta Marketplace subgroup, where companies can introduce their products and services.

For Kerr, the relationship with Taupin’s networks is a natural progression: “Recently, when looking to connect with people in the energy industry, we were able to talk with members of Linked:Energy. Connecting with others who have similar interests is a ‘warm’ connection, and preferred by most over cold-calling.

“We are working with a local company that develops high-tech services for the energy industry, and they’re looking to us for market research and to assist with scoping out their most likely customers. We’re making solid connections on LinkedIn via the Linked:Energy groups and others.”

The gauntlet has been thrown into the ring. It’s time for Alberta’s energy sector to get on board and grow its virtual identity and reputation.

Channels: The Calgary Beacon, February 25, 2010

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