"On April 14th, we'll be removing the Products & Services tab from all Company Pages."
- Statement on the LinkedIn website
You didn't see this? Many organizations haven't either. LinkedIn announced this several weeks ago through an email sent out to their members. Many ignored it. Many didn't understand the ramifications of the move. Still others have been caught flat-footed.
I work with clients who have built up amazing Products & Services sections of their LinkedIn Company Pages, and we've used them for marketing, attracting new customers and driving traffic to their websites.
This change - in my opinion probably the most important one on LinkedIn in the last year - will affect ALL LinkedIn Company Pages - and right away!
Here's what you need to know if you own, or administer - a LinkedIn Company Page:
1. The Products & Services Tab is being "replaced" by Showcase Pages
Usually when I say this to clients/colleagues the first reaction is: "What's a Showcase Page?"
LinkedIn rolled out Showcase pages last year (yes, last year). According to the LinkedIn FAQ on Showcase Pages:
Showcase Pages allow you to extend your Company Page presence by creating a dedicated child page for those aspects of your business. Interested members can then follow your Showcase Page as they follow any Company Page.
Translation? With the removal of Products & Services - you will now need to create a Showcase Page for each one.
2. The Content you developed for your Products & Services Tab is going away.
Not, "it's in another place you can access" going away - but being removed from your Company Page.
LinkedIn has offered a link to Customer Service where you can gain access to the information you created - but it will take a while to get that information to you.
SO, unless you backed up the Products & Services information - it will have to be recreated as an individual Showcase Page.
3. Recommendations on your Products & Services Page will be gone on April 14.
In the past, LinkedIn members could "recommend" a product or service on an organization's Company Page. With the removal of the Products & Services tab, these recommendations will be removed as well.
While not a critical problem, it does affect organizations who have worked hard to garner interest and promote their brand.
Of course, once you build/rebulild these pages as Showcase Pages, you can reconnect with your promoters - again!
4. While the switch to Showcase Pages is a good thing, in the short term LinkedIn has inadvertently created a lot of work for Company Page owners/administrators.
It's been said that change is inevitable. In the case of social media platforms it's constant.
According to LinkedIn: "We're constantly evaluating how features are being used and exploring new ways to enhance the content experience on LinkedIn. 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."
I don't necessarily disagree with this statement, and I definitely see the value of Showcase Pages and the move to a richer content experience on LinkedIn (the fact that I'm blogging directly on LinkedIn is a great example).
That being said, Company Page owners/admins have their work cut out for them. Many - if not most - are just hearing about this change and are scrambling to grab their Products & Services content to create new Showcase Pages.
And while change may be inevitable - sometimes it's hard too. This is both.
Over the next several weeks I'll be working with many organizations and help them through this significant change. As a LinkedIn Sherpa it's what I enjoy doing most.
Change is coming to LinkedIn. How can I be of service to you?
Chuck Hester is the Chief Communications Officer for Big Think Innovation, a business architect consultancy that helps companies plan, grow and build their futures. He is also a LinkedIn trainer and speaker, helping businesses get the most out of LinkedIn, while teaching them how to communicate effectively. Contact him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Need help with LinkedIn? Feel free to message Chuck and ask about one-on-one and group LinkedIn Executive Training.