Facebook and LinkedIn Race to Stay in Place

All things considered, it’s hard to top the success of social media powerhouses LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD) and Facebook (NASDAQ:FB). Their nearly ubiquitous use on the Web has only increased since each company’s IPO. Yet it’s been clear that they would need to upgrade their mobile platforms to maintain top positions. Will their latest moves deliver that result?

For Facebook, the move amounted to going mobile with Open Graph, allowing users to get their sharing in without logging on to the site. According to ZDNet, the company’s apps are overwhelmingly supported by both Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android an Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS. That means they’re going to get continued exposure from the two top-selling phones worldwide. Of course, with Facebook Home, the social media mainstay has even bigger plans up its sleeve.

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LinkedIn’s upgrades were considered a more general makeover tailored for enhanced mobile capabilities. Following a year where jobs were scarce and employers pickier than ever about new hires, social media’s professional site cranked out unprecedented business. The tremendous performance of LinkedIn stock over the past year would attest to its profile in the industry (since April 2012, it has gained over 66 percent in value). The revenue reports were on a similar page. LinkedIn’s earnings skyrocketed 86 percent in 2012 compared to the previous year. Yet the company believes it has room to grow…

“We think we have a tremendous amount of headroom to reinvent the way people hire,” said Parker Barrile, who is a senior product developer for LinkedIn. CEO Jeff Weiner has hinted of even more hiring in store for the company, which added over 1,300 jobs in 2012 and plans to expand overseas. While some investors remain skeptical about the long-term viability of a social media company, it’s difficult to argue with any of the returns so far.

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As for Facebook, a stabilizing trend appears to be taking place. The roller coaster-ride of the past year has given way to an even keel. Facebook Home reviews are mixed, but the constant effort to take the platform in new directions has to encourage investors for the long term. Nonetheless, shares dropped 6 percent for the week, closing at $25. 73 at Friday’s bell.

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