Tuesday, May 8, 2012

LinkedIn & Slideshare: Hit or Miss?

A fortnight ago I’d written about why LinkedIn should proactively acquire Branchout and now here’s news about it acquiring an Indian based presentation content sharing apps company – Slideshare. Now I’m not really certain whether this is a good acquisition or a bad, that’s something only time will tell. And since business dynamics can get pretty volatile and unpredictable, I reserve my biased opinion on the topic too, but when I heard of the news, I couldn’t help being just a little skeptical.

It left me scratching my head wondering why LinkedIn was willing to shell out all that money on an app that is already actively used on their platform and contributes to about 40% percent of the app subscriber base.

It was only after thorough research and retrospection that I managed to get a hold on some very interesting insights to this whole deal. I feel it  very necessary to share it with my fellow B2B marketers:
  • Combined together, LinkedIn and Slideshare, estimated 136 million monthly unique visitors now aligning 9 million content uploads with 161 million members; this incredibly exciting news opens up a whole new world of possibilities for B2B marketers.
  • This acquisition gets to the heart of the impact social media can bring into a business. And shows how the interaction of people and content makes professionals more productive and successful. As social media marketers often say, ‘content is king’.
  • Slideshare’s acquisition of Zipcast in February 2011 made it a good bid for LinkedIn to further enhance their social network with powerful collaborative and interactive features like web conferencing (Note that Web Conferencing is a fast emerging online media and is expected to grow into a US $4 billion industry by 2014 according to a report by Frost & Sullivan).
  • With new powerful collaborative features on LinkedIn like web conference and presentations, I can’t help but wonder if is also working towards video conferencing. This to me is a logical collaborative feature required by LinkedIn. It can add a whole new dimension to professional networking- just think about private online interviews and mini-conferences.
  • Slideshare puts LinkedIn into a Lead Management process. What makes Slideshare a hit amongst Marketers is its ability to allow a user to embed a form for collecting a prospective lead’s data. By acquiring Slideshare LinkedIn now has the ability to manage leads this way which otherwise was a complicated task for any social network to do.
  • It is only natural that LinkedIn covets SlideShare’s influence on the C-level. According to a recent DemandGen Report article, SlideShare gets 40% more traffic from C-level executives than LinkedIn. That kind of organic prestige is hard to buy – but LinkedIn just did.
Overall, I think this supernova acquisition in the social media universe- of a giant star pulling in a smaller power star into its gravitational pull- seems to be a natural fit that only time can tell has been a wise choice or not. But both SlideShare and LinkedIn share a common insight that has driven the growth of remarkable businesses, namely that people want to interact with each other through online content and discover new and professionally useful content by online networking.

Hit or flop, what do you think of this move? Do leave your comments here.

- By Viral Thaker, Founder & Director | TheSocialPeople
A seasoned HR & Marketing professional, Viral was one of the early adopters of social media. With over a decade of industry experience under his belt, his skills span corporate strategy, delivery management, customer relationship management, business development and operations management. Viral is a voracious reader, a travel enthusiast and enjoys adventure sports. Follow Viral on Twitter @vrlthaker 

Founder Speak is our weekly column by the founders of TheSocialPeople- Viral Thaker & Dr.Vikram Venkateswaran.

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