LinkedIn

There’s an ebb and flow when it comes to social media networks. What worked one day might not work the next, and platforms are constantly adapting to the needs of their users.

Now that the dust has settled from yesterday’s breaking news that Microsoft acquired LinkedIn for a cool $26.2 billion in cash, we’re ready to wrap our minds around what this business deal might mean for the future of LinkedIn.

From interns to college students to the most important CEOs, LinkedIn is a central hub for business people to connect, create relationships and nurture them.

As Microsoft and LinkedIn are both leaders in the professional network space, this means that there is certainly untapped potential waiting to come to the surface as a result of this deal.

For quite some time now, LinkedIn has almost been stagnant.

The newsfeed interface was flooded with articles shared by the user’s network. The articles cycled quickly, and what was on top one minute was quickly replaced with new content. For more of a personalized experience, a user could hop over to LinkedIn Pulse to tap into the minds of influencers and business professionals and thought leaders. Without a doubt, there’s a lot of informative content on the site, but while other social media platforms are constantly revitalizing the user experience, LinkedIn seems to be slow to the draw.

Just take Facebook and Google. Google changes its algorithm 500-600 times a year. Facebook is constantly adding algorithms of its own and implementing new products and features that are keeping people glued to the social site. For example, users are now able to use Facebook Live, and the network is gearing up for the addition of 360-degree images to their platform. They’re staying current, they’re listening to their users and they’re making changes to adapt – they’re malleable.

With these platforms being in a constant state of change, some big and apparent, others more subtle and harmonious, it was only a matter of time until LinkedIn followed suit and revitalized their platform.

Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn for $196 per share will give the tech giant access to a database that’s home to the identities of LinkedIn’s users – a goldmine of data. Now, we’re left to ponder – and wait until the end of the calendar year when this deal is set to go through – what this immense source of data will mean for Microsoft. How will they turn this raw info into something bigger, something better?

There’s a lot of speculation that this merger could elicit an integration of Microsoft Office 360 and Dynamics with LinkedIn. Other ideas that have been swirling around the industry within the last 24 hours are that this deal could also lead to the seamless integration of Outlook and LinkedIn. Either of these possibilities could be a viable resource for sales representatives and business development, as well as marketers.

As pieces of information continue to emerge, I want to offer my two cents on how I think that this merger will be beneficial to LinkedIn’s users. Have a look:

Users:

I think it’ll open the doors for a sharing of information between two large companies – one in the tech industry, the other in the social sphere. If the rumors are true, the joining of these two forces will give Microsoft platform users more of the information they yearn for – data about people. After all, people are what make social media just that – social. Furthermore, I think there will be a revitalization of LinkedIn and its capabilities as a means for business professionals to connect. We may soon see more multimedia capabilities on LinkedIn, or better ability for users to filter information from industry thought leaders.

Professionals:

Microsoft’s Dynamics platform offers not only CRM and ERP capabilities, but also significant marketing capabilities. If information is shared between LinkedIn profiles and Dynamics, marketing teams will have access to data on job histories, current roles and targeting – not to mention info on users’ personal business networks. Depending on how privacy policies are ironed out, the information that could be made available to marketers could be huge.

That’s not all; this merger could be a big play for Bing advertisers. I think the biggest sign of growth and potential is that advertisers can manage their campaigns on Bing Ads (search and display) with the Bing Ads Manager and LinkedIn targeting options. This can help advertisers target users on a more granular level. Essentially, I think that the sheer amount of data that will soon be available between both platforms is going to help revolutionize how advertisers and marketers target their audiences and refine their content to create relevant messaging.

The driving force of this acquisition still remains unclear. Could it be LinkedIn’s faltering number of users? Could it be the fact that LinkedIn’s sales and growth began to go south and this is Microsoft’s attempt at bailing out a slowly sinking ship that’s taking on too much water? Or is there just too much data available to pass up?

This is a lot of information to digest, a lot of speculation to take into consideration, and a whole lot of waiting until we see the fruits of this merger’s labor.

The world is waiting – what’s next?