Over the last week or so we have seen the disappearance of even more features on LinkedIn, which makes me wonder what they are going to remove next. During my workshops and speaking gigs, I talk about “Not building your land on other people's property” and LinkedIn has just proven again why this is such an important topic. You can not rely on the features of LinkedIn. Use them while we have them but please do no build a business structure around LinkedIn as we simply do not know if these features will still be here in the next twelve months.
What feature is no longer there this week? – “How we met.”
During my LinkedIn workshops, I teach delegates how to use the relationship area. The relationship area is one of the best features of LinkedIn, and I always receive an “oh…. I didn't know you could do that” moment from the people in the workshop. The relationship area is still there, although it has reduced in size. The tab that said “where we met” has now vanished. I am a big networker, and this function was part of my connection routine. I would connect with them and then add a note to say where I had met them. Then if they called me six months later, then information was at my fingertips. For those of you who do not use a CRM system, then the LinkedIn relationship area is pure genius as nearly everyone you meet has a LinkedIn profile. But this little part of the mini CRM has now been removed. Why? I have no idea! It was there one day and gone the next!
No longer can you edit contact details.
I also noticed that the ability to edit contact information for an individual profile (your version of their profile) has also been removed. If you had an alternative telephone number, or perhaps a personal email rather than a work email, then you could easily add this information to the account. This feature has now gone! What has happened to all the additional numbers and emails that I have added to people's profiles over the years… vanished!
I perhaps wouldn't mind as much if they replaced the features with new and exciting widgets and gadgets, but that rarely happens.
The removal of LinkedIn features is not new.
I made a quick list of features that they have removed in the last few years that I miss as a small business owner.
When I owned my Recruitment agency I was an avid networker, and I ran some networking groups for local business owners. Being able to add an event onto LinkedIn and then with a click of a button you could share it to your connections. I totally replied on this process for a number of years, and so did the people who received the weekly invitation. When this feature was removed (with no notice) it was a complete nightmare. I then had to learn how to use Eventbrite, export my connections from LinkedIn and email the same information this way instead. Rumours were saying that LinkedIn would re-introduce this feature as a paid for service at a later date, but that never happened.
LinkedIn signal search – bring this feature back, please!
Oh, how I miss Signal search! I have no idea why they removed Signal Search it was the best feature ever, and I would tell the whole world about it! Signal search was an easy way of searching the whole of linkedIn for relevant status updates. Visit www.linkedIn.com/services and type in the keyword that you were looking for, click enter and hey presto, anyone who had said these words in their status update would appear in the feed. You then had the ability to comment on that post, even if you were not connected to them. This was a brilliant sales tool, especially for recruiters. Another nail in the LinkedIn coffin.
LinkedIn Answers – remember those?
There were some people who spent way too much time on LinkedIn answers, but if you wanted to appear as an expert in your field, then this was a great way to achieve that goal. Nowadays people tend to venture over to Quora to answer questions and appear as an expert in their field instead of LinkedIn.
Products and services on company pages.
The removal of products and services on Company pages was probably the one feature that caused me the most pain. As a business model, we would collect company testimonials on the Green Umbrella company page on LinkedIn, rather than on individual profiles. As a process, it worked an absolute dream. My staff would be encouraged to send testimonial links to the company page rather than individual profiles, therefore building up an excellent company asset in the process. We had received 112 recommendations on our company page when LinkedIn wrote to us and said that this feature would no longer exist in the next five days. They did give us the option to have the data emailed to us in the form of a spreadsheet, which certainly helped, but I was totally gutted that these recommendations would not be showcased on our company profile. They then introduced showcase pages, which are just naff if you ask me. Who has time to manage multiple pages? It is only a matter of time before these are also removed and then all that time and effort that you put into building your showcase pages would have been wasted.
Introduce a friend – why would you take this function away?
This feature was a unique way of being introduced to someone you don't know – this is what a networking platform should provide. I have absolutely no idea why this particular feature no longer exists. This is the heart of LinkedIn – finding people to connect with. Why would a social networking site remove this function? Perhaps LinkedIn no longer wish to be a social networking site?
Linkedin – please do not become like Google Plus. If you continue to remove features, then we lose confidence in using and relying on your products.
What features do you miss on LinkedIn or any other social media platform?