In an attempt to make LinkedIn more engaging as a platform, the company is constantly introducing new updates and tweaking its offering for Company Pages. Most recently, LinkedIn announced that as of April 14th, it will remove the Products & Services tab from all Company Pages. This tab was initially introduced to help businesses feature their top products and services, and as well as direct recommendations from clients. LinkedIn determined it was best to remove the tab in favor of shifting attention to newer features such as Showcase Pages, and to encourage increased use of Company Updates.
In its official announcement, LinkedIn didn’t elaborate on the reasons behind this decision. One guess is that even though the tab provided a great opportunity to highlight a brands’ offering, it never offered much in the sense of engagement. The feature was very brand rather than customer-oriented, focused more on selling then providing customer solutions, and apart from recommendations, left no room for users to share their questions, feedback or concerns.
Keep in mind that the removal of the Products & Services tab will not impact your Company Page or followers, and all status updates and contact details will remain intact. However, as of April 14th, any information you have under Products & Services Pages, including descriptions and client recommendations, will be removed. LinkedIn has offered to archive recommendations until May 30th; which you can receive a copy of by contacting their customer support. Given the lack of an option to export the information, the safest best is manually copy and paste all the information and recommendations in a separate document for future use.
What are some alternatives to the Products & Services tabs?
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LinkedIn launched Showcase Pages towards the end of 2013, as a way to let companies create dedicated pages for unique business units, brands, products, or even communities. They are featured on the right-hand side of the Company Page, and provide the option to engage in ongoing, real-time conversations with followers about a very particular brand or product.
Showcase Pages are similar to Product & Services Pages, but they don’t yet offer the same functionality and flexibility. For example, you are limited to 200 characters to describe a product or service, as well as one image. In addition, Showcase Pages currently do not allow you to publish client recommendations. Following considerable frustration over this issue from LinkedIn members, the company may eventually reconsider this, and possibly add recommendations as more and more companies launch and use Showcase Pages.
Creating a constant stream of status updates lets companies to provide followers with real-time information across any devices they use, directly in their feeds. Unlike Products & Services Pages, followers of a page can interact with updates, such as ask questions, leave comments, like and share. Also, once a follower “engages” with an update, the content is shared with all of that person’s LinkedIn connections, which helps to boost brand awareness across the network.
Status updates can be used for any business or marketing objective, including sharing original or cuated content, uploading YouTube/Vimeo videos, SlideShare presentations or customized images, directing users to customized landing pages, or promoting an offer or event. On a side note, LinkedIn lets you like and comment as your company, so you can interact with other users and brands as a company, and reply to comments on your Page in the same manner.
This past February, in an effort to increase the platform’s appeal, LinkedIn decided to open up its publishing platform to members. Although this option is not a direct way to promote a company’s products and services, it does provide an alternative to increasing a brand’s online social presence, and grow its thought leadership.
As content marketing an increasingly vital role in shaping the opinions of B2B prospects, LinkedIn’s publishing platform lets members share their thoughts, opinions and valuable advice (as part of a brand), rather than solely information on particular products and services. Posts published through this tool will appear on your individual profiles, and LinkedIn will leverage its insight of users’ industry and interests to ensure the content reaches the right audiences.