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Already, just days after the announcement of Microsoft buying LinkedIn, much has been written about this acquisition. Analysts, social media bloggers, LinkedIn enthusiasts and social selling experts have shared their varied opinions and hopeful enthusiasm.

In short, the more I think about it and understand it, the more I consider it a smart move. LinkedIn, with Microsoft’s resources, will no longer be Cinderella. And, finally and hopefully, LinkedIn will emerge as the business tool we describe rather than another social media channel.

Yes, LinkedIn will socialize Microsoft Office but make no mistake, the point is to increase the professional and economic currency for all working professionals and organizations, globally.

There is no going back. And, for every CEO, owner, company president, and managing director who says they don’t need LinkedIn, think again.

Are you willing to come up as a faceless person within your customers’ Outlook inbox?

Are you okay with your employees’ profiles looking lifeless and dull with no company description or value proposition?

Are you satisfied with incomplete employee profiles that are nothing more than online resumes that only position your employees for their next job, and not their next customer?

If not, read on.

15 ways to prepare for the Microsoft/LinkedIn acquisition:

And, by the way, if it doesn’t go through (highly doubtful) you, your employees and your organization will still benefit from this focus and approach.

  1. Review your mission, vision, and values. If you don’t have any of these, consider working on these business fundamentals. Even if you are a business of one, you still need these.
  1. Review every one of your value propositions for each persona. Make sure your value propositions are relevant.
  1. Know your key differentiators. Write them out if you have not done so already.
  1. Consider your employment and marketing branding messages.
  1. Is your website up-to-date? Where on your site will you direct people?
  1. Do you have content? If you have put original content on the back burner or not considered the role it should have for demonstrating your industry perspective, thought leadership or employment brand, now is the time to rethink, your strategy.  
  1. Craft your LinkedIn strategy.
  1. Educate, educate, educate. Talk and work with LinkedIn specialists whose sole purpose is to train, coach and consult on LinkedIn. More than ever, you need a specialist who is less of a social media expert and more focused on social selling, recruiting and messaging.
  1. Explain to your employees that there is a new expectation regarding how they use LinkedIn and Outlook. They will need to review how skilled they are with Microsoft’s productivity suite (Office) and potentially Microsoft Dynamics, as well as LinkedIn.
  1. Determine employee expectations and KPIs and weave these into their job descriptions, reviews, and assessments.
  1. Make sure you assess employees’ LinkedIn profiles, skills, and activities.
  1. View and discern leadership, marketing, sales and recruiting profiles with a particularly keen eye and work to ensure that they are up to “code” quickly.
  1. Begin to determine how your company looks via your LinkedIn Company Page and what you will post to create a more active presence moving forward.
  1. Encourage your employees to connect with the right people and expand their networks, so you and your organization gain more visibility and relevance in a greater number of networks.
  1. Don’t assume your marketing department can manage this alone. Moving forward, your LinkedIn profile, network and activity will provide a highly transparent business advantage or a glaring example of dating your business. LinkedIn will be a business tool that needs a strategy and ongoing assessment.
  1. Determine premium memberships for key members of your organization.
  1. Review your current customer relationship management platform. Is your team really using it? If you don’t have one, consider Microsoft Dynamics.

LinkedIn is not a sprint; it’s a marathon that only the most committed and disciplined will win. Begin to master it now and you will be well positioned for the dawning of a new LinkedIn experience, viewed through the lens of Microsoft.

Resources to further understand how to best maximize LinkedIn:

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