If you work in the business world, odds are that you have a LinkedIn profile. If you don’t, you should finish reading this post, and then create one. In today’s world of shifting jobs and careers, LinkedIn is your digital business card. It serves as your online resume, professional profile, and a catalog of your career accomplishments. It is the dominant platform through which we make professional connections in the digital world.
I will be the first to admit that not all of my LinkedIn “connections” are particularly strong. But, I would say the same about my hundreds of “friends” on Facebook. LinkedIn is the primary vehicle through which I research potential sales leads, strategic partners, media professionals, and industry thought leaders. I want to be discovered in a similar manner.
In the same way that a company must have a website to be seen as legitimate, I believe that a business professional must have a LinkedIn profile. And, the profile must have meat to it. When a person’s LinkedIn profile looks like a ghost town, it makes me question his digital knowledge. Right or wrong, a person’s LinkedIn profile should serve as a primer on who he is as a professional. Thanks to this, LinkedIn has an enormous amount of data that can be mined and analyzed to strengthen business relationships and personal connections.
It’s easy to see LinkedIn’s strength as a talent solutions tool. It is a go-to resource for recruiters, headhunters, talent acquisition managers, and HR professionals. The segment represents two-thirds of the company’s $3 Billion in revenue.
In an age where people are more comfortable changing jobs and having greater control over their careers, I believe a platform like LinkedIn becomes even more valuable. With the rise in freelancers and remote workers, LinkedIn becomes a person’s de facto calling card. I predict that LinkedIn will continue to add users in the coming years.
Sharing similarities to Facebook’s publishing and content aspirations, LinkedIn has fostered a richer news feed for its users to consume. More people are publishing articles and posts directly on LinkedIn rather than their own sites. With a greater focus on content discovery and overall curation on the platform, LinkedIn is becoming a go-to-resource for industry-specific articles.
Matching LinkedIn with Microsoft’s increasing focus on business software will strengthen the latter’s core products. Applying machine learning and artificial intelligence to the mountains of data that LinkedIn holds within its professional connections, personal profiles, and business pages will yield incredible insights that Microsoft can leverage to improve its products. Adding more robust social selling features to its core CRM product, Dynamics, will invariably help Microsoft better challenge Salesforce.
I haven’t even touched on the opportunities in professional learning and development, business-to-business advertising, workforce productivity, and business communications. A Microsoft-owned LinkedIn is a business that we will all be connected to, in one way or another.