by Ali Chambers | Content Strategist, CommuniGator | July 07, 2016 For many marketers, LinkedIn is a vital part of their online campaigns. The last few years have seen a real boom in the website’s popularity. Not just for B2B communications and outreach, but even as a social-media-self-advertising platform for individuals seeking professional work. As with all popular sites, LinkedIn has reached the point where bigger brands are seeing it as a lucrative opportunity. Microsoft’s plans to acquire the rising brand and company, which was announced recently, has got everyone asking the same question. What does this mean for LinkedIn marketers? The plans Microsoft’s own article points out the benefits of this new partnership. Although LinkedIn will report to its new mother company, its leadership will remain the same. Satya Nadella even said that together they can build on LinkedIn’s foundation of connecting the world’s professionals as they “seek to empower every person and organization on the planet.” . Sounds good, right? Seemingly, the results should only be excellence and innovation. Microsoft is hoping to bring together the benefits of both groups to improve the ways that businesses interact and connect with each other. Does the future really look that bright? A growing, popular business merging with an international one…what’s there to lose? Microsoft is one of the biggest companies in the world. With the partnerships it already has – as well as those it’s likely to gain in the future – the outreach of LinkedIn can only become more influential. There is also talk of integrating the LinkedIn newsfeed with Microsoft platforms, which some suggest will give greater exposure and advertisement opportunities. Cortana, Bing – relevant LinkedIn articles and profiles can be brought right to the top of the search. Imagine what that could do for your business as voice-activated AIs gain more and more popularity. Whilst some issues have been raised, it’s hard to see a downside. One main concern is with data privacy, and what this will mean for businesses and individuals who’ve shared their personal data with Microsoft as well as their business data with LinkedIn. This, however, is an issue with almost everything in our technological age. What’s good about this transaction is that if the two can integrate successfully, there is more reason to put money and focus on avoiding data privacy issues to avoid controversy. This would be hugely beneficial in the long run, and could result in producing an even stronger influence from the partnership thereafter. Should LinkedIn marketers be worried? Like I said, since LinkedIn’s growth in recent years, it has been a valuable source of lead generation and advertisement for companies all over the world. The ease with which B2B connections can come about is amazing, and all on a professional social platform. Until we see what happens, nobody can say for sure how this will end up and what will happen to LinkedIn. At this point, however, I would say the ratio of benefits to damages is looking pretty positive. Interested in social media? Become a professionally qualified social media expert with our Professional Certificate in Social Media.