When Microsoft announced its $26.2 billion acquisition of LinkedIn, everyone in the business community perked an ear.
Suddenly, Microsoft was relevant for a reason other than to be a target for complaints about Windows 10 or jokes about how slow Internet Explorer really moved. But along with the interest came a little bit of anxiety and fear about what was coming for the more than 400 million users of LinkedIn, not to mention the marketers who relied on them to be reachable each and every day.
First of All, Remain Calm
When Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella was interviewed by the Wall Street Journal about the LinkedIn purchase, he was quick to point out that LinkedIn was to remain under the same control as before the purchase and would retain a great deal of autonomy.
This is great news for marketers whose efforts are already meeting with success—any changes that are coming will probably be coming slowly. We can expect to see more frequent integration of Microsoft Office products, as well as pushes from Microsoft to sell its flagship Office suite, but for marketers themselves, this will have little impact.
What’s changing about LinkedIn was changing before Microsoft ever took the reigns. Back in 2014, the company stated that their goal for the next decade was “to create a map of the digital economy, its participants, and every faucet of opportunity linking these nodes together.” The wheels were already in motion over at LinkedIn. You might even be taking advantage of some of their newest tools without really knowing it.
Three Vital Post-MS Tools for LinkedIn Marketers
Although these tools are already in play, many LinkedIn users haven’t noticed them yet or don’t realize how much they really can do.
That’s unfortunate, but it’s also what this blog is for. The Microsoft acquisition promises to breathe some new life into LinkedIn, so being ready and staying up to date on the latest tool releases are going to be really vital for success there.
Here are three current and upcoming releases to keep top of mind at all times if LinkedIn is part of your marketing strategy:
- Online Training. LinkedIn picked up Lynda.com, an online training site, in 2015 for a cool $1.5 billion. They got both the site and the existing catalog of courses in the deal. Even though there hasn’t been a lot of talk about Lynda just yet, LinkedIn has big plans for this connection in the near future.
A great deal of speculation in marketing circles is centered on using this site and its associated tools for uploading custom training courses for public or private consumption through the LinkedIn platform. Free and low-cost seminars are excellent opportunities to get your name out and establish your authority as an expert in your field.
- ProFinder Service. Earlier this year, LinkedIn launched its ProFinder service, a freelancer-for-hire type of system that can match customers looking for specific types of work with providers of said work.
Signing up for this service as a provider is crucial if you or your clients are any type of service company that could benefit from the extra traffic. LinkedIn’s not going to automatically do it for you, you have to stay on top of the tools it is creating for you.
- Improved Content Marketing. Content marketing through LinkedIn has always been a bit of a lackluster experience. Even the blog publishing tool felt under-powered and over-hyped. However, improvements to the platform now allow for embedding various media like podcasts, training videos and tweets, and the highest engaging pieces are rewarded with features in LinkedIn Pulse channels.
LinkedIn is set to experience some major changes, but if your strategy has been focused on providing quality content that hits home with your target audience, there’s little to fear from LinkedIn upgrades. Instead, you have a lot to gain, since the social media platform may become incredibly powerful as Microsoft adds functionality never before seen on the business social network.