Big happenings in the social media world today as a giant star collided with a smaller, but powerful, cousin. LinkedIn has decided to purchase SlideShare for $119 million in cash and stock.
It’s not a deal I can say I saw coming, but it makes total sense. For those of you uninitiated with SlideShare, it’s a platform where you can upload and spread professional presentations. Or what I like to call, the backbone of buying and selling these days.
If you’re scratching your head on just why LinkedIn would spend all that dough on SlideShare, let me offer five big reasons.
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1. It’s Like Pinterest for Business
We’re all hearing about Pinterest lately, the visually sticky social network for sharing your favorite links to things like wedding plans, Etsy projects and, yes, even content marketing. What makes Pinterest compelling is the way it strips sharing down to visuals.
Well, SlideShare is kind of like Pinterest for business. You can’t narrate your slides when you upload them so you have to lean on your ability to speak through imagery and a conservative amount of text. It forces professionals to get a message across in a highly visual way, and as a result it’s grabbed about 29 million unique visitors. Those are decent stats for PowerPoint presentations.
2. It Makes LinkedIn More Engaging
While LinkedIn started out essentially as the combo of an online resume and rolodex, it’s tried a variety of tactics to make the site itself more sticky by getting people to share content. LinkedIn would love nothing more than to have its members treat it like the Facebook of career-related content.
(Pop quiz: How often do you check your Facebook newsfeed? Now, how often do you check your LinkedIn “newsfeed”?)
SlideShare gives LinkedIn an incredible content-sharing platform. We’ll have to watch how the two products get integrated, but I bet LinkedIn finds a way to get people to spend more time on site as a result of this acquisition.
3. The C-Level Loves It
LinkedIn not only likes to talk about the number of members it has (161 million, by the way), but also the make-up of that membership. Nearly all the companies listed on the Fortune 500 are represented.
So it’s 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.
4. It Inserts LinkedIn Into the Lead Management Process
LinkedIn has won over the hearts and minds of recruiters and job-seekers, but embedding social into the lead management process is more complicated. But for businesses, especially for B2B marketing, SlideShare is a natural tool for delivering leads.
SlideShare’s lead capturing product, which allows users to embed forms for collecting a lead’s data, brings a well-established method for capturing prospect data to LinkedIn. Combined with LinkedIn social sign-on, the SlideShare purchase could increase LinkedIn’s presence in the sales and marketing lead management process.
5. It Fits Right In with the Rapportive Buy
Just over a month ago, LinkedIn bought Rapportive, a startup that created a Gmail plug-in that ties a person’s email address to their social accounts. So if you email me on Gmail, I can see your LinkedIn profile name, Facebook name and Twitter handle and ask to connect all without leaving my email.
Buying SlideShare fits right in with this strategy. LinkedIn can effectively extends its reach to all the other accounts, including email, associated with a professional’s social identity. Content is shared today through a variety of means, it’s shared on social channels (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter), it’s found through search (SlideShare is great for this) and we still send it through email. LinkedIn is finding a way to stretch itself across all these platforms.
What do you think of the move? A natural fit or do you doubt it will work? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Disclaimer: LinkedIn is an Eloqua customer. But, no, the company doesn’t consult with me on strategy or anything.