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RIP LinkedIN Company Page, Products and Services Tab

The End is Near for Products and Services Tab

When I first heard that LinkedIn was retiring the products and services tab on the company page I thought here must be some mistake. Sadly not. On April 14th the tab will disappear along with any product information and recommendations that had lived on that page. Until then it will be possible to edit the information but not to add any new products.

linkedin-products

All together this seems like a rather rushed and ill thought through change. For several days after the announcement it was still possible to add products (I tried it) and the LinkedIn Help Centre was still showing instructions for how to add products with no mention of the impending retirement.

It seems that LinkedIn’s development strategy is increasingly driven by footfall and the truth is that the products and services tab has been under used. My own research on 100 local businesses last year found that 46% had no company page and of those that did 70% didn’t list any products and services – including one business that had over 6,000 followers!

For those businesses who have invested time in developing their company page and building up recommendations against specific products LinkedIn has promised to email a link to download those recommendations. However when I asked LinkedIn customer support about this they added, less reassuringly, to let them know if I didn’t receive the email.

What Will Replace the Tab?

Actually there is no direct replacement. Instead LinkedIn suggest we use a combination of company updates and the recently introduced Showcase Pages.

In my opinion these are a poor substitute.

According to LinkedIn’s own research if a company posts 20 updates per week at least one will be seen by 60% of your followers. Put another way 95% won’t be seen.

Because many smaller businesses find it difficult to build a significant company page following this has meant that the Products and Services tab has been a more important feature.

Showcase Pages were introduced in November 2013 as a place where larger businesses could promote individual brands and to give a platform to individual business units which might otherwise be invisible on the main company page. For example I have a client who manufactures parts for the automotive industry they are part of a very large group in which every other business is in the construction industry.

However with a little imagination Showcase Pages can also work well for smaller businesses. I have used one to highlight my LinkedIn Tip of the Month here is another Showcase Page for a design company.

Pros and Cons of Showcase Pages

The limitations of Showcase Pages compared to the Products Tab are:

  • No ability to add recommendations
  • Description field is limited to 200 characters (that’s only just more than a tweet)
  • No ability to add a contact person
  • Limited to a maximum of 10

On the plus side some of the benefits of Showcase Pages include:

  • Being connected to main company page but searchable in their own right by Google
  • Bigger visual impact
  • An opportunity to tailor messages to specific audiences
  • Can drive traffic to website
  • Each page has its own followers
  • Ability to run sponsored update promotions
  • Each page has its own analytics

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