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Microsoft's LinkedIn acquisition underscores potential in enterprise social media

Microsoft has purchased LinkedIn, which is experiencing strong mobile growth following an application revamp, underscoring the software company's aspirations to be a big player in enterprise social networking even as the future growth of such digital hubs remains uncertain. 

Enterprise social networking remains questionable as a stable source of consumer use, but LinkedIn has seen continued growth with a 19 percent year-over-year increase and 45 to 60 percent increase on mobile. However, the networking platform has been criticized with many claiming it has evolved into more of a personal social network or filled with too much spam posting, meaning Microsoft might have some difficulty in continuing the upward growth. 

"LinkedIn is the Facebook of business to business social media," said Michael Becker, managing partner at mCordis. "It is the ideal social platform for business to business marketing and sales. This acquisition handled correctly, is a game changer.

"The acquisition will help Microsoft tap into and operationalize the LinkedIn community throughout all its products and service offerings and its partner offerings," he said "Properly integrated, it has the potential to create understanding, create new opportunities for engagement, and reduce market friction."

Linking social networks

But Microsoft might have an uphill battle in becoming the in enterprise social networking platform it hopes to be, as many critics have commented on the evolution of LinkedIn into a spam-centric social platform that resembles a lesser Facebook. Many users have taken to LinkedIn to share personal content, viral posts or posts that are overtly pitchy. 

The networking site also sees 45 billion quarterly member page views and 105 million unique visiting members per month. The deal is likely to close by the end of this year. 

Linked into mobile users 
Marriott International appealed to job seekers on Instagram this week by promoting career site LinkedIn?s nationwide tour on the social network as well as a mobile-optimized site (see more). 

Microsoft also partnered with Best Buy for a campaign to spread promotion of the benefits of Microsoft Office through a user-generated campaign that tries to maintain control and prevent rogue content from being distributed (see more). 

"Leveraging its artificial intelligence capabilities I foresee a world where Microsoft, and its partners, will be able to begin to understand the preferences and intent of each and every LinkedIn community member and begin to be of service to each and every member, individually, on the member?s terms, at scale," Mr. Becker said. "The key to success with this acquisition will not be in ideating on the possibilities but on executing effectively in a way that brings value for the members of LinkedIN and the industry at large, not from them."