LinkedIn is in constant flux and growth.

Showcase Pages Mean That LinkedIn Really Does Matter Now

By John Danenbarger,

LinkedIn’s new Showcase pages mark an important change for the site. They may also signal a vital change in the way that professional social media marketers work.

LinkedIn has always been highly specialized. It is a business platform, a place where jobseekers go to look for work and entrepreneurs go to maintain their networks. On LinkedIn, the relationships have always been more important than the content.

That may now change.

The Showcase pages allow businesses to create unique pages for each of their products. So instead of following Microsoft on the site, and receiving news about the Xbox and the Visual Studio and Enterprise Solutions and all sorts of other things that do not interest you, you can choose to follow the news about just the one product that affects your business.

It is a new service and only a few companies so far have Showcase pages, but a look at Microsoft’s Office showcase reveals just what a difference it can make.

At first glance, the page looks like something out of Facebook. The pictures are smaller, the content more technical than commercial, but the layout and the usage are familiar.

LinkedIn is positioning these pages directly opposite similar product pages on Facebook. They are hoping that businesses, particularly B2B businesses, will abandon the social site for a platform that is more professional.

The question that marketers will have to grapple with as Showcases rolls out is which platform will deliver better results? Will we need both pages? Can we recycle content from one page to the other? Or will we have to invest more time and money in unique content creation for each platform?

At the moment, it is too early to tell how Showcases will affect the work we do for clients. Microsoft has an Office page on Facebook and while the content overlaps in some places, it differs in others. The differences are not huge (and they may not even be deliberate) but they are there. While the Facebook page tries to win engagement with contests, interviews, and a hashtag campaign, the LinkedIn page tells us how a train company is using Office 365 to unite diversified workforce and offers a link to a recording of an event in which Telefonica and Helly Hansen explain how they are transforming their workplace.

That is the kind of business content that you would expect to find on LinkedIn.

Read the Comments

And the comments, too, tend to be more positive and contain more anecdotes and experience-sharing than the grumbles that turn up more often on Facebook.

As Showcase rolls out, we are going to have to set up separate pages for the different services and products created by our clients and companies. Initially, we will recycle some of the content we have already put on Facebook and blogs, and perhaps on Google Plus too. But we are then going to have to pay close attention to the comments we are receiving and who is posting them to make sure we are writing for the right audience on each platform.

We will then have to decide if Showcase is effective enough to change the way we work.

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