LinkedIn showcase pages - are you ready for April 14th?

In my current digital communications training session there is a slide which talks about how fast the digital world changes and how businesses, if they want to remain successful across social channels, have no option but to adapt quickly. A prime example of the relative speed businesses are now required to move at is illustrated through LinkedIn’s recent announcement of the switching off of the Products and Services pages on April 14th. The Products and Services tab on a company's LinkedIn page has for some time been a key point of focus for marketers, providing an effective platform to profile what the business offers, who the most relevant contacts are for that offering, alongside recommendations left by clients for those products and services. With the often complex nature of financial service websites this was a nice, simple and clean overview that aided cross selling, lead generation, and in some cases, SEO benefits.

What is a showcase page?

LinkedIn introduced showcase pages at the end of last year as part of their move to become more of a publishing platform, encouraging more in the way of rich, regular content. Products and Services were often fairly static and gave a user no reason to return multiple times. A showcase page is structured in almost exactly the same way as the main company page and can be accessed via its own URL or on the right hand column of your company page.

What are the key elements of a showcase page?

Initially, they allow you to add a large attention grabbing banner across the top of the page, a short introduction and a URL to lead visitors to the most relevant section of your website.

From there it is all about content, content, content as you are provided with the ability to add an endless scrolling feed of posts.

What has been lost from the Products and Services pages?

Firstly, there is no way of profiling key contacts or running promotions like you could before. There is also no way of migrating the recommendations that you have earned on the current Products and Services pages. This has caused a fair amount of discontent and uproar among the LinkedIn community who feel largely that this is change for change sake and that they are losing valuable digital real estate - not to mention the time and money they have invested in getting those pages set up.

Ten days left

As of the 14th April, unless you embrace the change and start to implement showcase pages, your LinkedIn company page will lose any reference to your current products and services.

What I would say initially though, is that this should not be rushed. Showcase pages should only be set up for areas where you have enough commitment to producing enough engaging content to post on a regular basis. They are not a direct replacement for your Products and Services pages. They require a different approach and some strategic thinking to get it right.

I have seen Products and Services overview pages with 30 or more individual items within them. Setting up and maintaining 30+ showcase pages isn’t practical, and I don’t believe it would add any value. You need to focus on the dynamic areas of your business where the teams produce a lot of content, attend a lot of events and where you can find a lot of relevant material across news sites that you can aggregate and introduce as useful reading.

Why are they doing this?

In my opinion LinkedIn does not want your company profile page to be a static summary of your website, they want it to be a go-to source of information in its own right, a place where people converse, share and post collaboratively. Whether this is because they want to sell more advertising, or because they want brands to provide better content to the existing audience, that’s up for debate. Ultimately they want you to stay on the website for as long as they can keep you there.

What I am sure of however, is that this is not a change you can afford to ignore. If you want to talk about how we can help you, or if you just want to connect, feel free to add me on LinkedIn.