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Find local angles to the LinkedIn IPO


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By Flickr user Dean Meyers

With shares of the newly public LinkedIn expected to start trading today, the business world will be buzzing about the social media site’s massive $4 billion IPO.

We don’t all have a social networking site headquartered in our backyard, but still, the stock debut offers a couple of ways for financial writers to ride the coattails by finding local angles.

For one, you can take a look at how companies in your area may be using social media to boost revenue, profits or jobs.  As MarketWatch points out, LinkedIn derives revenue from premium subscribers and ‘hiring solutions’ services; you might look for local companies who’ve used the services to find job candidates and generate a recruiting, HR or how-to-get-hired piece.

This fascinating report, for example, dubs Facebook a “jobs engine” and says the social networking site is driving tens of thousands of IT and other jobs for apps developers, game designers and others piggybacking on Facebook.

This quote is particularly interesting:

“Since July 2009 – two years after Facebook released its API to third-party developers – job openings that have “Facebook” has a keyword have grown by 245% on job posting aggregator SimplyHired. The site lists 11,000 Facebook developer positions and 20,000 non-engineering Facebook jobs. That’s 31,000 jobs openings in total, few of them at the Palo, Alto, Calif.-based company.”

Note the use of the keyword search to quantify the impact of Facebook on jobs markets; you could use that technique and a geographic descriptor like city, state or ZIP code to find local examples, though a sample search did turn up a lot of Facebook references that were merely pointers to the hiring company’s own social network presence.  Still, it’s worth a shot; profiles of local apps and games developers are timely and interesting.

The National Retail Federation’s Shop.org e-commerce unit earlier this month released a new report, created with Forrester Research, about the State of Retailing Online. Among other findings, more than 70 percent of merchants plan to boost social media investment this  year and that’s another angle you can take to assess the local financial effect of these networking sites.

Meanwhile, you also can use the LinkedIn news to do an update on the IPO scene in your region.  After a recession-induced lull, initial public offering activity in 2011 is on the upswing, according to this Ernst & Young report.

A number of other resources can help if you’re trying it identify upcoming IPOs in your region; among them are Hoover’s, the private-company research firm, which has an IPO Central portal, and the IPO calendar operated by Renaissance Capital.  You can search the Securities and Exchange Commission website for S-1 registration filings and of course monitor sites like the New York Times’ Dealbook.

Checking out the peformannce of past IPOs in your region is also the good basis for a story; again, Hoover’s has a performance tracker and you might find data of interest at this real-time database that ranks the best and worst performers.