Microsoft recently bought LinkedIn and the business world is abuzz, but for marketers, this simply isn’t big news. Nothing to see here. Move along.
So why am I writing about it? It’s not because I can’t even begin to fathom what $26.2 billion actually looks like, or because LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner is going to remain at the site’s helm. I’m not going to bait and switch you and show you the “real marketing takeaway” of this business transaction, either.
Actually, it’s because while this particular headline really will not have any major, direct impact on social media marketing, it juxtaposes what marketers need to prioritize when scouring the news for updates and changes that could impact our work. No matter what Microsoft attempts to do with LinkedIn down the line (if anything at all), marketers will adapt. We will learn the ropes of the new updates, we will talk about and develop the most lucrative ways to use any new features, and we will carve out best practices that reflect the new changes.
Marketers are basically Darwin’s dream creatures – we can adapt to any environment, to any new changes that come our way. We are constantly looking for new ways to use the tools at our disposal. We are hungry and want to devour the latest updates and shifts in our space so we can do something different and cut through the noise. When those devices change, we will not panic – we will simply relearn how to use them.
Well, some marketers might panic for a while, but eventually they’ll come around too. Just think back to any time a social network has redesigned their site or introduced new features (looking at you, Facebook). Push back is inevitable, but it’s those who see change as an opportunity to do more, to try something new who are the most successful.
What should marketers pay attention to when it comes to social media news, if not major announcements from the execs? How about actual changes being made to the site, the UX, the algorithms and anything else that actually affects the content you’re sharing there and the way you do it. That’s how you begin to shift your focus, to redirect your strategies and to find new routes to find (and be found by) your audience. As of right now, LinkedIn is not going to change overnight, but with new owners backing the site and the fact that social networks update and adapt all the time, you can probably expect the site won’t look that same as it does today a month, a year or five years from now.
If LinkedIn suddenly brings back the hashtags it banned in 2013 or Twitter lets you directly message people who don’t follow you or SnapChat moves away from the ephemeral content model, these are things you should be watching for. This kind of news can have a real, tangible impact on your content marketing strategy. Go ahead and read about how this is the biggest purchase Microsoft has ever made, dream about what it’d be like to have that kind of money at your disposal, but don’t lose sleep over whether it’s going to throw your social media efforts out of sync.