The Institute of Management Accountants has created a social network that has attracted over 2,300 members since it launched about a month ago.

LinkUp IMA, which premiered at the institute’s 90th Annual Conference, offers discussions, a blog, event calendars, a searchable library, member interest groups and an international job board. IMA members have already formed 95 interest groups on the network.

“We see it as a way that we can facilitate another level of community for the members,” said IMA chief marketing officer Maureen Walsh.

The network works similarly to other social networks such as Facebook and LinkedIn, and is based on member profiles. Members can talk with each other on the discussion forums and threads. On the blog, they can read postings from IMA senior management and various subject matter experts. The job board is private to keep away postings from recruiters, a problem that emerged on an earlier job board that the IMA once launched on LinkedIn.

“It’s member-to-member recruiting and it’s international,” said Walsh. “One of the most important things about building this community is outreach to international members.” The IMA has 15 chapters outside the U.S., and the first 30 days of LinkUp IMA saw a significant amount of international activity.

The searchable library on the network contains IMA content as well as documents provided by IMA members, such as articles about best practices. The discussion groups range across a variety of topics, from professional to personal.

“The young members have told us they absolutely move in social networks,” said Walsh. “It provides them with a place to gather. They can chat about challenges on the job or about their golf game.”

The IMA began developing the network in October, working with an outside vendor using proprietary technology. The institute also maintains a presence on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

“We sometimes use those public social networks to drive people toward our community or our Web site for further information,” said Walsh. “We do believe in and support those public social networks. They become a source of leads for us.”

However, by creating its own social network, the IMA is able to provide a new benefit for members and lessen the likelihood that outside vendors and recruiters will overrun the community.

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