Before I get into this post about the latest LinkedIn update I want to make it perfectly clear that I do not use LinkedIn to its utmost. Of the three ‘majors’ (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn) the social networking choice of professionals finishes a distant third in order of importance to me personally. I am not saying that this is the way to go I am just telling you this is how I approach things.
That said, the announcement of LinkedIn’s new Company Pages (which replaces the Company Profiles of the past) has me a little confused. Here is what LinkedIn has to say about this in a press release entitled “LinkedIn Launches Powerful New Tool to Help Businesses Drive Growth Using Professional Recommendations”
LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network with more than 80 million members worldwide, today announced the launch of Company Pages to help businesses of all sizes attract new customers using trusted, professional product and service recommendations.
Company Pages help bring a brand to life by showcasing standout products and services on LinkedIn, an environment where millions of professionals turn to their networks for help making critical business decisions every day. By making it easy for customers and employees to become brand ambassadors, Company Pages help grow a company’s business virally through word-of-mouth, the most trusted form of advertising. At the same time, business professionals can write and share such endorsements to build out their personal brands, highlight their expertise in a given field and provide additional value to their connections.
Here’s a look at part of a new Company Page from Samsung
OK, that sounds nice. I have looked through this new offering and honestly I am a little underwhelmed. Maybe I don’t see the application because I am not a LinkedIn power user (or whatever you might call a LinkedIn fanatic). Essentially, there is a chance to follow a company (very Twitteresque) then you can recommend the company and its products to your network (very Facebookesque). What is missing is the ability to air a grievance about a company.
Recently, LinkedIn purchased ChoiceVendor which was really a talent acquisition. ChoiceVendor is a business review service and the idea of being able to review a business in LinkedIn was quite interesting to me because that seemed to a step at painting a real picture of businesses and professionals. Of course, it will also be a place that will be abused and gamed to death so you have to proceed with caution.
This new offer really is just a way to gather up numbers of recommenders which turns into a quantity play since all you can do is recommend something. This is another area to be gamed as well but what isn’t online?
Some big companies have been rolled out with this free service being available to all businesses over the next week or so. Interestingly enough this Place Page of sorts uses the Google map service to give a map of the location but does not connect to the Google Place Page for obvious reasons.
I have to admit that this battle for the ideal Place Page is interesting but how much room is there for several players? Will there be enough differentiation to make one offering better than the others? Of course, LinkedIn’s information is for LinkedIn users and not the general searching public at large (unless these results start showing up in SERP’s).
I don’t know what else to say. Instead I would like to get your opinion. Have I missed something here? What do you think about the myriad services that are trying to give business information to anyone and everyone? Will there be an ultimate winner of one dominant service or will each have its place? Is there real value in providing only the chance to push a positive result across your network or will it ring hollow?