LinkedIn Angers Businesses With Feature RemovalBy: Chris Crum - April 11, 2014
As recently reported, LinkedIn is killing the Products & Services tab on Company pages. It turns out that some businesses aren’t a fan of this move.
Do you use the Products & Services tab? Do you find it to be a necessary feature of the LinkedIn experience or are the alternatives better? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Back in November LinkedIn launched its new Showcase Pages, which enable companies to show off specific brands and products. Users can follow these pages just as they can other pages on LinkedIn. So, if you have multiple products, you can set up these pages for each one, and users can follow the products they’re most interested in. If you have multiple brands, they can follow the brands they like. Obviously they can still follow your Company Page as well.
For example, Microsoft has a Showcase Page for Microsoft Office. Users may not be interested in everything that the corporation is up to, but they use Office all the time, so they want to follow that. You get the idea.
LinkedIn apparently wants companies to use these pages more, so it’s ditching the Products & Services tab. The tab will be gone on April 14th. Until then, you can edit your content from the tab as you like. You won’t be able to add anything new.
“We’re constantly evaluating how features are being used and exploring new ways to enhance the content experience on LinkedIn,” the company says. “We do this to ensure that we’re creating a platform where companies can deliver timely, engaging content to our members. Sometimes, this means we need to remove a feature to focus on areas of the product that most benefit both companies and our members.”
Showcase Pages are one alternative LinkedIn recommends. Another is to simply use Company Status Updates (or both).
The updates show up on your Company Page as well as in your followers’ feeds (on every device). You can even use them to show videos that play directly in the feed, and/or direct users to customized landing pages.
“The real-time nature of updates makes them perfect for sharing news about your offerings, so your content feels relevant and timely,” LinkedIn says.
LinkedIn also says that Showcase Pages make it easy to build dedicated communities on LinkedIn, and start conversations about products and brands. Showcase Page updates work just like Company Updates, so they have the same visibility benefits. They also appear in search results and on your Company Page.
Believe it or not, not everyone is happy with LinkedIn’s decision to shut down the Products & Services tab. Many have taken to its help forum to complain. John Bernardi is particularly angered by the move, and started a lot of discussion about it there. He wrote (via MarketingLand):
LinkedIn does it again. They’ve made an arbitrary decision to remove content previously entered by its subscribers. On April 14 all the hard work done by subscribers who created product and services pages will be sent to the trash bin by LinkedIn. I have a number of clients who paid to have their products and services pages created for them. LinkedIn has decided that their investment means nothing.
This decision is even more obtuse than the one made by LinkedIn to remove the section where people saved and shared the books they had read.
I will never trust LinkedIn with a mission critical application for my business. They make too many arbitrary decisions that are non customer centric.
One user calls the move “insane”. Another says LinkedIn is afraid of lawsuits like those Yelp has been involved in, and doesn’t “have the spine for it”.
Crystal Thies writes:
I am extremely upset with this. Managing a Showcase Page for every product or service is unrealistic. There are no options for recommendations currently in the Showcase Pages, so will that change?
The target market views that LinkedIn created for the products and services tab was brilliant and there is nothing else like it out there. Anytime I fully explained the capabilities of the tab, I landed a company hiring me to build out their Company Page and target that page to their verticals. There is nothing else like in in social media.
However, LinkedIn has done a very poor job of informing people of the true magic behind the Company Page so no one knows to do anything with it. This was also the main way to tie your company page to your website with the Recommendations plugin.
If they continue to remove it, it will be an enormous loss to small business owners across LinkedIn and will lower LinkedIn to Facebook level. It will be all about blasting your message out to people and that’s not what LinkedIn is really about. You need those recommendations and validation to build credibility for your company, your products and services. Would you remove Recommendations from the Profile? That’s essentially what you’re doing to the businesses.
To the point about “blasting your message out to people” not being what LinkedIn’s about, the company did recently announce that it is opening up its publishing platform to everyone, so that kind of is what LinkedIn is all about now. Or at least partially about.
There are eleven pages on that one thread in LinkedIn’s forum, and it’s pretty much just angry comment after angry comment. Will LinkedIn listen?
Do you think LinkedIn should keep the Products & Services tab? Is this all just overreaction or legitimate concern? Share your thoughts in the comments.