As of January 31st, LinkedIn will no longer offer LinkedIn Answers, their on-site, Quora-like community sourced Q&A resource. The change was announced in a brief message on the Answers homepage:
In another short message in their Support resources, LinkedIn explains, “As of January 31, 2013, the LinkedIn Answers feature will be retired from LinkedIn. We’ll be focusing our efforts on the development of new and more engaging ways to share and discuss professional topics across LinkedIn.”
LinkedIn Answers was a great place to quickly find information and expert advice from professionals. The real opportunity for companies, though, was that it was a fantastic way for individuals to showcase their own expertise and establish credibility. This has long been important for businesses large and small.
In the B2B (business-to-business) space especially, LinkedIn Answers offered a valuable venue for marketers to answer the questions of others, who might have included potential clients, industry influencers, suppliers or others.
The closing of LinkedIn Answers will affect some marketers more than others, though there are still plenty of places to connect across the platform.
The first is your own LinkedIn Company Page. Here, you can offer details about your products and services, share company news, pose questions to and share information with your following, and more. This is also the right place to offer contact information and share a link to your company’s website, making it simple for those who have found you on LinkedIn to connect in other ways.
LinkedIn Groups are another great place to connect and have conversations with people in your industry or those interested in learning more about it. There are currently more than a million LinkedIn Groups, many with over 100,000 members. Marketers might choose to join relevant groups and participate in the conversations there, with the emphasis on providing helpful information, not advertising. Another option is to establish a group of your own on LinkedIn, where you can more effectively drive conversations and establish a reputation as a thought leader.
LinkedIn Ads can then help drive targeted traffic to the Group, Company Page or an external website. In fact, social ads on this network can even target members of specific Groups.
Wherever you connect with LinkedIn members, be sure to offer high quality, engaging content, whether in video, visual or text format. Answer questions where appropriate, but also start conversations. Respond to questions or comments on your Page and in Groups to which you belong. Share content that offers value to the people with whom you want to connect: those who can help you achieve your business goals, whether in sales, brand building, exposure, or other areas.
See our How to Engage Your Audience on LinkedIn series for more helpful advice on using the professional network for maximum benefit.
Will you miss the LinkedIn Answers section of the social network? Share your thoughts about it in the comments.
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