Goodbye Products & Services Pages, our old friend

11-12-2014

On April the 14th, LinkedIn will be officially dropping the Products & Services tab on Company Pages and introducing Showcase Pages, causing uproar from the professional Social Media community. What's happening?

Currently company pages have a tab available to users called 'Products & Services' which allows the business to feature several items, then get recommendations to those items. For instance, a company can state a service, tell the user about it, provide images and examples, then have LinkedIn users recommend it and give testimonials. That's a great and powerful thing.

LinkedIn, however, don't think so. They're dropping this tab and encouraging people to use Showcase Pages. These pages are essentially separate pages with their own URL, allowing 200 characters of text, a logo and banner image along with a website address. As with company pages, you can add status updates which can include links and images.

How are LinkedIn managing the transition?

In my opinion, very badly. The help pages state the best way to transfer all your content from Products & Services over to Showcase pages is... *drumroll* ...to copy and paste them into your own document then add them as updates in the new page. That's right, one of the fastest growing social media platform cannot even transfer basic text data from one place to another.

Is this a good or a bad thing?

In the opinion of most, very bad. The issues presenting themselves are:-

  • People have put considerable effort into updating these Products & Services pages, now they are being deleted
  • Recommendations have disappeared, and a lot of hard work has gone into getting users to make recommendations
  • Showcase pages have 'followers', meaning you'll need to start again in getting followers, and for each showcase in addition to the company
  • 200 characters is nowhere near enough information for a whole product or service
  • There's been no consultation, LinkedIn just implemented the change and aren't backing down - causing many disgruntled users

What should you do?

Right now our advice is to enter a 'soak' period, let the changes settle and for the features to become solid. Right now LinkedIn aren't even offering the ability to delete a Showcase page, so it feels a little like we're still in a beta stage. Once a month or so has been given, sadly the task of utilising Showcase pages will be the next step (I'll create a follow-up article to help you with this).

Overall this hasn't had a good impact at all and it will be interesting to see how the platform responds (if at all).