Microsoft and professional social networking: the future for LinkedIn

Last week brought news that Microsoft has bought professional social networking site, LinkedIn, for a grand total of $26.2 billion. The technology giant has pledged to maintain the LinkedIn brand, allowing the platform and its 433 million users to continue independently.

LinkedIn has long been a valuable sales and networking tool across many of the industries and sectors that Propaganda operates in. It’s exciting to see how the all-powerful Microsoft might transform what LinkedIn is capable of, and how we can use it.

For Better

The strength and scale of Microsoft’s offering is set to power up LinkedIn’s connectivity. Office and Outlook programmes could integrate with the networking site, making it easier to create relevant, up-to-date documents, and access accurate information. Microsoft’s huge list of business contacts – which stretches right across the world and into almost every sector imaginable – could also make it easier for LinkedIn to drive meaningful relationships and connections.

For Worse

Some might say that Microsoft’s past will doom its future with this latest acquisition. Back in 2012, the company bought start-up business networking tool, Yammer, for over a billion dollars. Despite the potential for a really productive collaboration, Microsoft was painfully slow to integrate Yammer into its products and services, and the whole thing is now little-talked-about. The question is whether Microsoft will learn from past mistakes, and listen to the demands of a grown-up social networking audience, which now relies on cloud-based, online tools for professional and business development

For Business

Here at Propaganda, an integrated, joined-up approach is at the heart of how we work. With what we do covering everything from consultancy to idea generation, and market insight to creative output, this new move for LinkedIn could be the start of a networking tool that reflects our thinking. Under new ownership, the site has potential to provide enhanced ways of connecting users and businesses, with tools to expand communications visually, verbally and virtually.

However, many of LinkedIn’s almost half a billion users still aren’t using the platform to full potential. The tool is at its most useful when used to closely match audience and message, and that idea is one that should always be front-of-mind. If Microsoft doesn’t waste any time combining its existing services with the comprehensive database of companies and workers that LinkedIn has to offer, it could mean a better way of doing business: a way that gives everyone a voice, in the way that’s best for them.