There is no question that LinkedIn is one of the most powerful networking platforms around. It connects, credentializes, and recruits. It provides a glimpse into the professional lives of those we know, and those we don’t.
But it has been providing less, and less, and less. Consider the following:
- LinkedIn answers – gone
- LinkedIn polls – gone
- LinkedIn company page “product and services” tab – gone
LinkedIn isn’t alone. Google is one of the great financial success stories, but they have been slimming down:
- Google Reader – gone
- Google Wave – gone
- iGoogle – gone
The question of why these sites (and others) are on a diet shouldn’t surprise. Removing features reduces costs, while simultaneously focusing users on the features that generate revenue. And those features that remain are sprouting a price tag.
- LinkedIn groups, jobs tab: the tab still exists, but posting has a price tag.
- Facebook page posts: At one time all people saw your posts; today, almost no one will… unless you ‘boost’ the post for a fee.
As high-traffic sites become more and more indispensable, expect pay-to-play to become the norm.
As many non-prime social media sites are now discovering, without a steady flow of income, eventually they will be forced to shut down. This has already happened to Booktour, Vizify, Amplicate, Hellotxt, Timely, Retagr, Gowalla, Skribit, and many more. (More: Social Media Going Out of Business.)
This week’s action item: Is your social media strategy based on public social media sites? If so, plan now for a world that may cost a lot more to participate. Review your social ad spend budget, and either hike it, or look at changing your strategy.
Marketing insight: It’s not just an issue of cost. What happens with a strategy built on a public social media site, when key functionality is turned off? Consider a law firm or a professional association whose strategy included the now-defunct LinkedIn Answers? Not only would their responses be lost, but also the names of those who were part of the conversation. Mitigate these risks by considering hosting part of the conversation on your site, and capturing social media relationships into your own systems.