My eyes are bleeding from all the posts about Facebook’s drop in organic reach (yes, I know, I, too, am guilty about having written about it). People seem shocked that Facebook would do something as crass and uncaring as charging people to reach their audiences, when we’ve been getting that lunch for free until now. What I don’t get is why people are surprised--Facebook has never been interested in what’s best and easiest for users, and they never will be--they care about one thing, and that’s making billions of dollars. That’s the breaks when you’re counting on reaching your customers for free on someone else’s platform--they get to make the rules.
And now I just learned that another great tool that’s been free up until now will be disappearing soon: LinkedIn page’s Products & Services tab. That’s right, if you’ve been using the Products & Services tab on your company’s LinkedIn page to showcase products and services and gather recommendations for those products and services, sadly you’ll have to kiss all that goodbye as of April 14 because they’ll be disappearing after that date. From the LinkedIn announcement:
Your Products & Services tab will be removed on April 14, 2014. Until then, you can edit existing products and services, but the ability to add new products and services will no longer be supported.
If you're a Company Page admin, you can save recommendations by copying them from the tab into your own document. You can also request a copy of the recommendations that were present as of March 4, 2014. The recommendations will be available through Customer Support until Friday, May 30, 2014. Note: If you want to use the recommendations in promotional or marketing materials you'll need to get permission from the individual who made the recommendation.
Where on my Company Page should I put this information now?
While Products & Services is going away, companies can get more visibility for their products and services by using Showcase Pages and Company Updates as an alternative for sharing content:
Showcase Pages allow you to extend your Company Page presence by creating a dedicated page for prominent products and services. A Showcase Page should be used for building long-term relationships with members who want to follow specific aspects of your business, and not for short-term marketing campaigns.
Company Updates are key to building relationships with your page followers. When your followers engage with your updates, it spreads your message to their networks and provides you even greater reach. Updates can be seen by your followers not just on your Company Page, but also on their newsfeed (across all devices including mobile).
So if you have been using that page to collect recommendations for your products and services, I guess you’re SOL. LinkedIn is generously giving you just over a month, though, to request a copy of those recommendations before they’re forever lost, so there’s that.
And because the best way to get you excited about new features is yanking away features you’ve been successfully using for years with barely any warning, LinkedIn is happy to offer new “Showcase Pages” to take the places of the existing Products & Services tab. They’re encouraging you to use these new pages to “build long-term relationships with members who want to follow specific areas of your business.” Hm, sound familiar...kind of like Facebook Fan pages a few years ago, maybe?
Nice to see another free social media site setting users up for the bait and switch to pay-to-play--anyone want to place a bet on how long “Showcase Pages” remain a free way to promote your company’s products or services? My advice before you invest a bunch of time and/or resources building our your company’s LinkedIn profile? Remember the Facebook organic reach outrage of spring 2014.