Can ApnaCircle be the next LinkedIn?

ApnaCircle founder Yogesh Bansal talks about how the company has invested heavily in marketing to help it take on market leader LinkedIn.

e4m by Gopal Sathe
Updated: May 31, 2011 9:13 AM
Can ApnaCircle be the next LinkedIn?

Viadeo wants to be the company which can take on LinkedIn (which recently had a highly successful IPO), and their strategy has been to acquire local professional networking sites. Viadeo claims that this makes it a leader in India, China and Brazil. In India, Viadeo has merged with ApnaCircle.com.

Yogesh Bansal, Founder and CEO, ApnaCircle.com, feels that the network offers value even while LinkedIn has surged ahead in the number of users, with nearly 10 million registered users.

Bansal said, “Unlike other networks, ApnaCircle is the only network which is prevalent across the length and breadth of the country. A user from a metropolitan city to small town professional is on ApnaCircle.com. ApnaCircle is the only network evolving the culture of online networking in the country with its diligent online and offline initiatives, especially in the small towns of the country, while educating them about the social media.”

He added, “Being a global entity, ApnaCircle-Viadeo-Tianji is now world’s second largest professional networking site. The target audiences are the same but ApnaCircle-Viadeo-Tianji has the benefit of having local websites for specific regions which enables a good grip of the market and its conditions.”

At the same time, he also noted that there was no reason why the success of LinkedIn would affect ApnaCircle, or vice versa. He said, “Stopping at a Facebook profile to catch up with friends is possible, but stopping at one professional network to brand yourself is not the case. An individual on ApnaCircle might and can be on other professional networks and vice versa. However, the difference lies in the fact that if an Indian would like to network with professionals or expand their businesses in China and Europe, they would go to ApnaCircle.com and find the right audiences and people which he might not find on other such networks.”

Talking about the brand's marketing strategy, Bansal said that they are going to be implementing a full spectrum of activities, including digital and traditional media, events and promotions. He said, “We have been involved with corporate imaging since our inception, and plan to start doing journals and industry white papers. Regular advertising is also done online and in print for a larger impact. We have made huge investments in marketing.”

He added, “We are focusing on both digital as well as offline marketing. Both play an important role in marketing and branding. With an increase of the internet penetration in India the impact of digital marketing cannot be overlooked. It is one of the easiest ways to reach an intelligent audience. Ample investments have been and are being made in terms of digital marketing. A dedicated team is working on the SEM & SEO of the website.”

“The traditional media plays a very important role as the masses are still dependent on it for all kinds of news. We are focusing on both equally as each one has its own benefits. The traditional media has a huge terrestrial grasp; therefore the number of audience would be huge. Hence it helps in creating more awareness through the length and breadth of the country,” he added.

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