LinkedIn’s great ingenuity falls flat on Product & Services Pages
We have all seen it. Occasionally a Product Manager strikes a spark of genius that persuades their leaders and strategic customers to buy into a grandiose idea that will surely drive revenue and brand recognition through the roof. Resources are thrown into it, marketing is consumed with it, and customers love it.
Then a few years go by, with hundreds of thousands of customers using the product, when all of a sudden you get the, “This product will soon vanish from our portfolio line of support,” message. This is exactly what happened to the LinkedIn company profile “Product & Services” page.
As you may know, LinkedIn will soon retire—no, DELETE—all their customers’ content and recommendations earned through the Product & Services page.
Disappointing, to say the least. Masses of speculations are rummaging all over blogs (hint-hint, right here), LinkedIn Groups, and around the water cooler in the office. No one outside LinkedIn really knows the facts. However, it’s my speculation that when LinkedIn releases such a statement—and there have been dozens of them in the last 7 years—it means the performance of the feature is significantly poor in site-wide adoption and/or there are too many technical problems with the product for them to continue supporting it. I personally can count over 20 trouble tickets I have reported to LinkedIn due to their “buggy” Product & Services page features in the past 3 years.
Unfortunately, this particular spark of genius, which helps companies promote their products and services, has now created a wildfire on the wrong side of the hill.
When we experience a wildfire burning out of control, it’s not commonly due to human-induced actions, but nature itself—dry weather, strong winds, etc. Unfortunately for LinkedIn, they induced a wildfire on their own by offering less than 30 days notice to the administrators of LinkedIn company pages, with no alternative to keeping their earned recommendations. Some large corporations could care less about the recommendations. However, there are hundreds of thousands of small to medium size businesses that have poured a significant amount of personnel and financial resources to build up their recommendations, and LinkedIn’s lack of a direct solution to recognize those hard earned recommendations has caused a massive wildfire of complaints and dissatisfaction. Don’t just take my word for it, just look at one of your group discussions surrounding this very topic.
The Burn Out
As we all know, every wildfire eventually burns out. In our lifetime, we have never experienced a global wildfire that spelled the end of the world. This is what LinkedIn is leaning on. They realize the discontent and complaints will all fizzle and burn out after the fact, and by May, the LinkedIn company page administrators will realize that resistance and complaining was futile.
After a time of destruction and heartbreak, we spoiled humans get over it and understand it’s time to restructure and rebuild. Hence, the new feature called LinkedIn Showcase Pages.
LinkedIn claims this new page feature will help company page administrators post relevant content that is more targeted towards their followers. It has a large hero banner image at the top of the page to captivate and enhance the user experience and structures postings that is similar in nature to other common social media channels, ie., Facebook, Google+, etc.
Granted, this new Showcase page does allow companies to streamline content to target audiences better than the current company homepage. However, there are some fundamental features that many small to medium size businesses will miss out on by not having the Products & Services pages after April 14th.
- There is no means to show WHO specifically to contact for information.
- There is no means of quantifying the recommendations from our biggest fans.
- Currently LinkedIn’s API is does not include the Showcase pages, so page administrators cannot manage via 3rd party apps. LinkedIn’s mobile app is certainly not compatible.
Anyone in Mountain View listening here?
Ok, enough of my soapbox spill.
I am actively working on a strategy on how best to incorporate products and services content into the Showcase page, so stay tuned. In the meantime, here is a good blog on how to build a Showcase page if you wish to get started right away.
About the Author
William Blackmon is founder and CEO of Apogee Social Media Group. His knowledge and experience specific to the LinkedIn platform, has made him one of the most sought after trainers and consultants for individuals, companies, and universities in the area. William is an entrepreneur and open networker willing to accept your invitation to connect if you personalize your message stating how you found his name and what he can do to assist you. Click on picture to send invite.