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The Whole Social Identity is Greater than the Sum of It’s Parts

By Katie Keenan | Posted on May 13, 2011

Are you a member of Dogster, the social network for dog lovers? How about FarmersOnly, the social network for dating and friendship in rural communities?

Me neither.

But, with such a wide variety of social networks, it’s easy to see how individuals have segmented their identities and interests. Even the largest social networks face this challenge: Facebook is where most people stay connected to friends and close family. Twitter is where we share breaking news and live event experiences. LinkedIn is for professional networking and relationships.

Segmenting identity by network works well for users – when they log in to one of these social networks, they can stay focused on their task. When it’s time to look at a friend’s vacation photos on their Facebook page, they won’t be distracted by any pesky updates on the big business deal they’re working on – because that content is on LinkedIn.

However, it’s not so great for marketers. It means that there is no unified network where we can truly understand all the facets of an individual. Targeting and personalization can only be taken so far when the touch points are limited to one network.

Janrain Engage’s account mapping functionality helps to solve that problem. Account mapping allows users to link multiple social network identities to a single account on your site. Every time a user logs in with a new social network identity, they give you permission to access their profile data from that network. As a result, you are able to build a comprehensive set of profile information on your members. This, in turn, gives you the ability to personalize your interactions with them in multi-faceted ways.

Consider the possibilities of knowing Facebook information, like a favorite TV show, and also LinkedIn data, like job title and company information. You can offer very different personalization if someone likes Friday Night Lights, and is a high school teacher, an NFL coach, or a casting agent. Offers, messaging, content, and even copy should be tailored for each of these users.

Even better, the next time that user logs in, all of their social data will be updated automatically. So, you’ll find out about new Friday Night Lights fans instantly.

It’s very simple to integrate multiple accounts. Connecting multiple networks can easily be integrated into your existing registration flow. Or, consider adding a section to your user’s profile page. offers a user profile section called “My Networks,” which lists other accounts that can be unified.

nationalpost example

No single social network will ever be able to provide that level of detail on an individual user. But, that’s the power of Janrain Engage: you can build those profiles regardless of which network a user prefers. And that puts the marketer in control of the customer relationship.

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About the author

Katie Keenan

Interactive Marketing Manager

A true geek at heart, Katie works behind the scenes on Janrain's website and social media strategy as the interactive marketing manager. Katie has more than 10 years of experience building websites and managing online communities in media, retail, technology, law and the nonprofit sector. Her passion: to get rid of the clutter and help to improve efficiencies across the web to spark online engagement.

View all posts by Katie Keenan