In case you missed it, Microsoft recently agreed to acquire LinkedIn for 26.2 billion dollars. If you are one of LinkedIn’s 433 million users, it is fair to be a little nervous for what potentially lies ahead for the popular professional social network. After all, this is not Microsoft’s first foray into the social media acquisition game (Ever heard of Yammer? Didn’t think so). Anytime an acquisition like this takes place there is certainly reason to worry.
But, the big question remains: What does this mean for those who use LinkedIn as a source for lead generation and developing new business relationships?
LinkedIn is often viewed as nothing more than a place to go to look for your next job. Certainly recruiters and human resource departments use it extensively in this regard. But to think of it in such simple terms does not do it justice – especially since LinkedIn has evolved into a key sales tool for many of us.
Following a recent presentation by Microsoft and LinkedIn executives there is reason to believe this unlikely duo could turn out to be quite the pair. With that in mind, we’ll take a look at a few ideas that could be coming to LinkedIn and what they mean for its future as a sales tool.
Professional Profile Integration
In the future, Microsoft and LinkedIn picture a LinkedIn profile as being something of a digital identification badge, where the right data will surface at the right time in an app, be it Outlook, Skype, Word, etc. A useful tool that will come in handy for a quick follow-up email or message.
Microsoft envisions a day when its digital assistant, Cortana, not only knows about you and your organization, but also knows about your entire professional network. Imagine the sweet voice of Cortana being able to prep you for an afternoon sales meeting: Hi Jen, you are meeting with Sam next. You and Sam both went to the University of Washington and you both know Cindy Smith. Good news, the Huskies won last night’s game. Do you want to look at Sam’s profile? Also, ok if I share the presentation for today with Sam?
LinkedIn’s newsfeed is quickly turning into a vast wasteland of useless status updates and playful memes, which is probably not what you are looking for from your business professional social network. In the future, LinkedIn is hoping its newsfeed becomes every professional’s go-to hub for industry-related news tailored to your profession, meaning your content is placed in front of the people it is meant for and not the random person you met one time at a networking event.
There is still a lot left to happen before we see any of these grand ideas come to pass, but no matter how you look at it, Microsoft and LinkedIn appear to be on track for a perfect marriage.
What do you think the future holds for LinkedIn? Do you use LinkedIn for sales or marketing purposes?