Why Are LinkedIn and Staples Working Together?

Office supply chain Staples (NASDAQ:SPLS) and the professional social network LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD) may seem like an unlikely duo, but they have developed a partnership that will give both companies better access to the small business community.

In a press release, Tuesday, Staples and LinkedIn announced the launch of their online forum, Succeed: Small Business Network, which is aimed at providing networking, industry expert profiles, targeted events, and question-and-answer sessions for small-business professionals.

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“The group gives small business professionals the opportunity to network and discuss important issues, as well as share success stories and professional hurdles in an online forum created especially for them,” read the statement.

Jonathan Lister, LinkedIn’s Vice President of North American Sales and Marketing Solutions, noted that the platform would enable users to be “more productive and successful within the digital and social context that is most relevant to them,” which is what the service could also provide for the network. As Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) has encroached upon its territory by launching the Social Jobs Partnership in conjunction with the U.S Department of Labor, LinkedIn must be more productive and successful as well. The partnership with Staples and the creation of a small-business focused online forum could help the company differentiate itself from its rival.

For Staples, the deal’s benefits are more palpable and perhaps more immediate; Staples branding will be visible “throughout the group’s page,” stated the press release. The advertising will include a “Powered by Staples” tag and “four areas of branded content on the right rail.”

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