LinkedIn is accomplishing something in China which no other social media site has been able. They are growing and remaining unblocked! But how long can this last? I think that depends on LinkedIn and their strategy going forward.
Whereas 5 million may seem like a low number, it is large considering its short history. If Linkedin’s last quarter growth is annualized we see triple digits this year and for the foreseeable future as long as it avoids being blocked. One of the primary reasons that Linkedin has remained off the China government radar is its focus on B2B relationships. China government’s main concern about social media has always been its lightening rod quality for social opinion. Linkedin has historically been fairly clean of social gossip and focused exclusively on building professional business relationships. However, this may not be the case going forward.
Linkedin has made significant changes to its layout and with those changes have come changes in message type and tone. Linkedin has better integrated itself with posting services like Hootsuite and Buffer which allow people to publish to multiple platforms at once. The result is that people are less discriminating on what they post where often opting for a “post everywhere” approach so content is becoming more homogenous across social media sites. Additionally, some of the biggest changes have come to the business pages themselves. LinkedIn has done away with the easy to use and maintain tabs and replaced them with cumbersome, difficult to set up, impossible to maintain, questionable purpose showcase pages. When I searched for “LinkedIn showcase pages” on Google the 3rd result was www.SocialMediaToday.com article on why NOT to open Showcase pages. I think they summarize my opinions well.
Showcase Pages are similar to Company Pages in that you need to build a following from scratch. (Yes, you will start out with zero followers).
Showcase Pages, as designed, are separate from Company Pages so you’ll have to do distinct updates to both, which means double the time investment on LinkedIn. The idea is that you’d build a community and relationships with people following that particular business unit or product. But, if you have over 100 people you can target, then why wouldn’t you just use the targeting feature on your Company Page?
Showcase Pages have distinct URLs and are not connected to your main Company page, so you’ll be forced to add two LinkedIn logos/links to your website. But if you’re big enough to have a Showcase Page, then chance are you probably already have multiple websites or sub-domains.
As LinkedIn continues to move to a more mainstream look and feel for it site they will continue to invite a looser category of content. With this comes a distraction from the core purpose and greater attention from scrutinising parties. My advice to businesses and those that choose to use LinkedIn as a business source to display discipline in your posts and actions. Be cautious not to mix work and play and this will assist you in making and making the most of business opportunities on LinkedIn.