LinkedIn has announced that in just about a month, the Products & Services tab will disappear from company pages.
The Products & Services tab is the place on your company page where you can describe what your company has to offer. Or could. It was also an easy place to request recommendations. For companies, it was one of the most valuable parts of LinkedIn.
However, LinkedIn didn’t find it so valuable. They are recommending that you grab the content you put there and save it before it disappears, which is good advice. They also suggest that you use it in Showcase Pages — more about that later.
The most important takeaway here is that you don’t own your LinkedIn page — nor your Facebook, G+, or any other space you rent on the web. If the owner of that space decides to remove your stuff, change the rules, or shut down their service, you have nothing.
Still think you don’t need a website?
Back to the Products & Services tab. Here’s what they look like:
Saving the text will be simple, but since your Products & Services pages can also include images, videos, links, and recommendations, you’ll need to devote a bit of time to the project if you have many pages.
Showcase Pages can be created from the Edit menu of your company LinkedIn page.
There is a limit of 10 Showcase Pages per Company Page. If you have more than 10 products and services, as many of our clients do, you’ll need to reorganize and rewrite your text as well. Showcase Pages are designed to use “hero images” — large header photos. You will therefore need to create or acquire some of those when you create your Showcase Pages.
In other words, this won’t be a simple move from one tab to another.
Here’s an example of a Showcase Page — the Microsoft example which everyone is using because, frankly, I couldn’t find another quickly enough. As we build these ourselves and encounter others, I’ll provide more examples (and please feel free to link to yours in the comments).
Why did LinkedIn decide to do this? There is no real answer on the page at LinkedIn where many people are protesting. The official explanation is that LinkedIn wants to create a simple and efficient experience, so they sometimes make changes.
Often, decisions like this are based on misuse of the feature — witness Google’s continual reactions to attempts to game their system. I don’t see that with Products & Services pages (I could totally get it with Groups, which at LinkedIn are often nothing but self-promotion).
Sometimes, though, the goal is to sculpt the content at the site. LinkedIn is recommending a change from the mild-mannered Products & Services Pages to the flashier Showcase Pages, with a secondary suggestion that companies simply use updates to share their products and services. They’re also offering a reminder that Showcase Pages are not intended for short-term promotions. If companies will in fact build permanent Showcase Pages and create more updates, LinkedIn will look better as a website.
Many protesters are saying they won’t make the effort. If you put in hours on your Products & Services Pages and are now losing them, putting in further hours on Showcase Pages may not be an appealing idea. Small business owners are complaining that Showcase Pages are out of their reach, and it’s true that many small businesses won’t have the skills in-house to create great Showcase Pages. At this point, just a week or two after the introduction of the option, very few companies have them, large or small.
Are you going to invest in Showcase Pages? Share your thoughts in the comments, please.