LinkedIn’s Integration into Microsoft Office 2013 Creates Opportunity for BtoB Marketers

LinkedIn revealed the exciting news last week that their platform will be integrated into the new Microsoft Office in 2013. Users will be able to seamlessly and effortlessly incorporate LinkedIn networking activities into their Microsoft Outlook email experience. They simply have to sign into their LinkedIn account via Outlook one time and the accounts will be linked moving forward, showing LinkedIn profile data details, photos and status updates for any connection that sends you an email. This integration will make the daily professional lives of Office 2013 users richer, more productive, and more interactive. It will make business networking and job searching more streamlined, and it will act as a real-time industry news source, providing a peak into what conversations are trending among users’ connections. Fortunately for marketers, it will also increase the opportunity to deliver relevant B2B messages to precise targets via the growing LinkedIn platform.

Some Background on LinkedIn:

Since its beginning as a small startup company in 2003, LinkedIn has experienced tremendous growth and established significant credibility, especially in the past couple of years. In May of 2011, the company went public as one of the very first social media IPOs. In May of 2012, they acquired Slide Share, a company that hosts presentation slides for professional reference. In early summer of 2012, they revamped their homepage, making it more of a personalized and relevant experience for each member. And now, they will be integrated into Microsoft Office 2013. It’s no wonder the network is already up to 161 million International registered users, with $522 million in revenue last year.

LinkedIn and B2B Advertising:

LinkedIn is already an ideal platform for B2B marketing. The level of information that users offer upon signup allow for precise targeting (geo, industry, company, job title, job function, etc…) that eliminates wasted ad impressions. Furthermore, the destination is focused on professional topics, allowing the B2B marketer to reach their target when they are in the right frame of mind to respond. In 2013, the integration into Microsoft office will inevitably increase engagement on the LinkedIn platform among existing users. For marketers, this means even more opportunity to engage in conversations—paid and earned—with their target audience as LinkedIn networking is incorporated into daily email activities. Additionally, with its heightened visibility on Outlook, LinkedIn’s user base will undoubtedly increase, drawing in those individuals who have not signed up yet due to lack of awareness, time, or persuasion. With this dramatic increase in users, the base for targeted advertising will also increase. This is especially great news for marketers trying to get at niche groups of professionals (e.g., chemical manufacturers, mining engineers) in the B2B realm.

LinkedIn is the smaller of the three major social platforms in the digital space—the other two being Facebook (950MM+ users) and Twitter (500MM+ users)—but it has done the most to prove itself as a credible platform for business communication. From a marketing perspective, Facebook is more appropriate for B2C messaging due to its non-professional environment. While Twitter’s information sharing based model makes it a suitable fit for B2B marketing, the platform is also cluttered with peer to peer and pop culture messaging. LinkedIn is the only one of the three that is focused predominantly on building professional relationships. This new partnership with Outlook will undoubtedly push their existing growth and success along even further, providing increased business opportunities for both professional users and marketers across the platform.

Written by Danielle Wortman, Digital Planner at Clear Blue