On April 14, the Products and Services tab was removed from all LinkedIn Company Pages. With the Products and Services tab gone, recommendations are no longer available. The recommendations feature has caused debate among attorneys in the past, some of whom believe it may be unethical to display recommendations on a firm’s Company Page.
LinkedIn announced the move in March, and it is allowing businesses who wish to save their recommendations to request copies from customer service until May 30, 2014. If you do choose to save your recommendations, LinkedIn emphasizes you must get explicit permission from the person who made the recommendation before using it in promotional materials.
With the retirement of the Products and Services tab, LinkedIn is now touting Showcase Pages as an alternative to — and in its opinion an improvement on — its former Company Page design. Showcase Pages allow a business to promote a specific product to a targeted segment of its audience. LinkedIn is encouraging businesses to use Showcase Pages to promote niche products and services and create more valuable connections with other LinkedIn members.
These changes are in line with LinkedIn’s stated desire to see businesses build more meaningful relationships with their customers. Allowing companies to direct communications to distinct buyer personas makes it more likely that updates will be well-received and generate engagement. Microsoft and Adobe have been early adopters of LinkedIn Showcase Pages, and on its own blog, LinkedIn uses Microsoft as an example of how a business can take advantage of the service. Microsoft has created pages for several of its services, with three of the most popular being Office, Dynamics and Lync. This allows Microsoft to easily segment its followers into self-chosen interest groups.
Showcase Pages are less robust than Company pages and their former Products and Services counterpart. There is no place to list careers or recommendations, and each page only serves to promote one aspect of the business. All Showcase Pages must link back to a single, centralized Company Page, and if your firm already has multiple Company Pages there is not currently an easy way to convert them to Showcase Pages. However, since the structure — one central Company Page and a network of Showcase Pages — lends itself to more user-friendly interaction and marketing opportunities, converting pages may be worth the extra work.
A LinkedIn user does not have to be a follower of your Company Page to receive updates updates specific to a Showcase Page; however he or she does have to have liked your Company Page. Once a person has liked a Company Page, he or she can then choose to follow specific Showcase Pages, and you can push distinct updates to followers of each Showcase Page.
Firms with diverse practice areas could set up Showcase Pages to publish relevant information for people with very different needs. The audience for a firm’s real estate law division will probably contain few members who are also interested in family law issues. These groups may intersect, but with Showcase Pages it is up to individuals to tell the firm what they want to know more about. Only those who are actually interested in multiple areas will receive multiple updates.
Push updates about a special needs planning seminar to one group and a talk an attorney is giving on private placements and PIPE offerings to another. You are more likely to hold people’s attention when they do not have to wade through a list of posts that do not speak to their needs.
LinkedIn allows 10 Showcase Pages per Company Page, although it claims it will work with large businesses that have a need for more.
To create a Showcase Page, select the Edit menu from the top left corner of your Company Page. Choose “Create a Showcase Page” from the drop down menu.
If you would like to boost the exposure of a specific Showcase Page, you can purchase Follower Ads with the goal of increasing the page’s follower total, or Sponsored Updates that will appear in the feeds of members who are not currently following the page. LinkedIn also provides separate analytics data for each Showcase Page, allowing you to track your reach among various follower groups.