Three Big Changes Social Marketers will see after LinkedIn’s Merger with Microsoft

“I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.” 

It’s one of the most recognizable phrases on the internet, and its meaning is about to change. Microsoft acquired LinkedIn for $26 Billion, and they plan to closely connect the social network’s huge user base to their Office software and Windows operating system.

Here are three big changes you can expect to see—and may not be able to avoid in social marketing...

Windows Notifications for LinkedIn

LinkedIn will now be part of the notification system built in to Windows, meaning that you will receive notifications from the network in the same way you would receive notice, for example, that you need to restart to update your operating system. Marketers could quickly find ways to take advantage of this feature by utilizing LinkedIn influencers - users with a large following - to post sponsored content.  

You will also be able to use LinkedIn for cloud applications like Office 365, creating even more data collection and sharing opportunities.

Better data and formats for advertising

Previously, LinkedIn’s ad offerings have been somewhat limited.  Now, with Microsoft’s data engineering and vast trove of knowledge, advertisers looking to reach LinkedIn’s 450 million users (and the billions of job listings, professional affiliations, and personal connections that define them) will have many more options in their arsenal. 

Once LinkedIn begins to truly unlock the capabilities of its data, users will have a new universe of opportunities. “Based on career histories and professional details, LinkedIn will be able to take your interests and talents and show you your ideal career path, based on actual data from those working in the field,” writes Andrew Hutchinson of Social Media Today. LinkedIn will also be able to suggest the skills and education you need to advance, presenting opportunities for advertisers in education, apps, and more.

A Big Change in Business News

LinkedIn serves as a valuable resource for professionals looking for news and networking opportunities within their field.  With Microsoft’s content ecosystem, including MSN.com, there will be an opportunity to build out more robust products that could make LinkedIn a go-to spot for business and technology news.  And more of that news could come from automated algorithms. 

Like on other social networks, LinkedIn users agree to give the company nearly complete access to their data, which could be aggregated into trend stories shared across the world.  New additions to your resume or new skills you list may find their way into pieces analyzing developments in your industry or profession.  This, in turn, will offer advertisers better opportunities for targeting their content. 

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No matter how you look at it, Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn is big news. Unlike Yahoo’s acquisition of Tumblr or News Corp’s acquisition of MySpace, the fit between these two companies is very natural, with potential applications across all of their business.  Social marketers will need to be prepared for the changes.

New Yorker Cartoon modifications by Frank Chimero.