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Now LinkedIn looks different! Get the most from social even when the rules change

Last month it was Facebook. By next week, it will be LinkedIn. Social platforms change so frequently, and seemingly arbitrarily, it’s tough to get a handle on how to get the most from each channel—much less measure the success as changes are made.

We’ve been conditioned to believe that Facebook is a platform for company culture posts, LinkedIn helps us make business connections, and Google+ and Twitter are for quick updates. While that still remains true to a certain extent, accepting these “ideals” as unconditional can breed mediocrity within your strategy. Lean in to the changes and build an ongoing social program that protects your time and content investments.

These changes are, essentially, a good thing

Beginning April 14, LinkedIn’s Product & Services tab on business profiles will be disappearing in favor of Company Updates and Showcase Pages. These recent LinkedIn changes signify a big shift in how the company wants its platform to be better utilized by both companies and those folks wanting to engage with them. The new business profile design is modeled after Facebook (complete with cover photo) and designed to encourage frequent interaction with company followers. In general, this move offers LinkedIn more opportunities to generate thoughtful conversations in both the B2B and B2C marketplaces and connects organizations to more frequent and (hopefully) relevant conversations about their business. The changes will definitely increase engagement, which up until now has been most frequent on LinkedIn within “groups.”

If you use LinkedIn now to cultivate business relationships, the new Company Updates page is going to better facilitate those conversations and the Showcase Page will allow you to highlight your product features. In addition, LinkedIn opened up its publishing platform effectively integrating posts into its app, Pulse, along with news and blog posts curated by a LinkedIn user’s industry and job title.

If you already have a good content management program in place, you’re in luck as these updates offer another rich distribution area for your company content.

Here’s the rub. LinkedIn was traditionally a more passive network.  You could still get some value from it even if you only posted reviews and searched for job prospects. If you are a business that relies mostly on reviews to generate credibility, or used it to only make connections, these changes mean a dynamic shift in your reliance on LinkedIn.

Act now to get the most from the new LinkedIn or risk losing valuable data   

Many companies rely on reviews for credibility. Those reviews will disappear from LinkedIn completely with this new design. If this applies to you, start migrating that content now to another site like your own website or another review site like Yelp. Don’t discount your ability to use LinkedIn after these changes.

Use this as an opportunity to road test your current social strategy.

Dust off your goals for social activity. Do you use LinkedIn to convert people to your site? Or, is it just for building credibility? Decide how to talk to people on the new Showcase page in a way that will direct them to the place you want. Rather than thinking of LinkedIn as just another social media channel, think of it as your own media outlet where you have the opportunity to drive the message that tells your company’s story.

Can you better-utilize other social networks to push people toward the social site that means the most to your business? Look at your engagement metric for the past few months. What kinds of content nets the best results?

Create a good content strategy and those likes and comments will turn into website visits which will then, hopefully, lead to better-informed conversations with more buyers.

The best defense is always a good offense. Keep up with the changes in every social network and make adjustments to your strategy based on new developments. Identify which elements of social engagement help you run your business (for example, customer reviews or recruitment campaigns) and protect those assets as you are making adjustments to your strategy.