LinkedIn retires Answers, encourages content sharing via Groups

Published on
by Brafton Editorial
LinkedIn started off the new year by retiring its Answers feature.

LinkedIn kicked off the new year with flying colors, announcing it had surpassed the 200 million monthly active user mark. This milestone represented the professional platform’s enormous and steady growth over the past few years, and the service spent much of 2012 introducing new features for its members. However, LinkedIn started 2013 by discontinuing its Answers option as of January 31, 2013, MarketingLand reports.

The Answer section of the site saw engagement rates declining, and in a recent email sent to members, LinkedIn indicated it will focus on discovering more engaging ways to share across the network. While Answers saw its engagement decline, marketers still generated a lot of buzz through LinkedIn, but through features like Groups and multimedia posts.

As the email highlights, members already hold discussions with questions and answers in Groups. This trend led more users to join active forums on the site, rather than pose independent questions themselves. In addition, Polls and standard status updates also make questions and answers visible on LinkedIn.

For social media marketing professionals using Answers to generate buzz on LinkedIn, strategies must be refined. The Groups function can help brands engage with audiences more efficiently, and marketers may want to focus and distribute social media content in active forums to capitalize on the growing network’s influence in the marketplace.

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  • http://www.dangerstudio.com/ Ilan

    I have noticed that the majority of questions are from users who aren’t accustomed to knowledge bases, articles, FAQ, etc. They come on LI Q/A and ask questions about how to customize, use and improve their accounts (whether it be basic or premium). With Linked In removing Q/A, do you think that LI will be able to handle the thousands of questions from users that are helped by other community members? Will customer service be an issue? Quality of service perhaps?

    I know most of you will say, there’s groups for that; but the Q/A pool was the most effective way. Groups are often loaded with spam, marketing and other junk. Q/A is personable, it leads the user to believe that focused attention to his/her need is available.

    I’m understanding frustrated users eventually abandon their account, they will leave it registered but never login again. To accommodate the millions of questions users have, especially not those savvy enough to find solutions on their own; why would they completely shut down Q/A and not rebuild it to accommodate the consumer? Whereas groups can be used for professional grade discussions but as for help, Q/A is best.

    LI better have a great plan for customer support, live chats, interactive FAQ and more otherwise all those people out there will create registrations and abandon their accounts shortly after realizing they aren’t getting anywhere. This happened with YouTube previously, since than they had dramatically revised their customer service to videos, etc.

    Response to some of the messages I received; the Help Center is a joke. I am sorry to say but answers found in the help center only lead to more questions, without the use of follow-up question links, screenshots and such it will be nearly impossible for newbies to find help. You have to drill down just to find the help center, it became as hidden as the Q/A link.

    Interactive one-on-one does not get better than Q/A. Groups are also not as nearly efficient as they can be, sometimes it feels as if Linked In was a “Click next to complete” installation and that’s it, it’s over and is barely maintained by none other than the users. For a turnkey solution, with no evolution none-so-ever, the pizzaz this place once had is diminishing.

    Removing Q/A all together as opposed to downgrading it is a HUGE mistake and just one less way for users to interact.

    • TedKarczewski

      Hi Ilan –

      First of all, thank you for reading and offering up this great talking point. I don’t disagree that Q&A had a unique significance on LinkedIn and that users will certainly miss the feature, but LinkedIn hasn’t said it’s not coming out with a new function to handle similar responsibilities moving forward. In fact, the statement acknowledged the importance of Q&A, noting that the company works hard to improve the overall experience, especially when it comes to sharing and discussing professional content. Here’s an excerpt from the email below:

      “Instead, we’re focusing our efforts on developing new and more engaging ways to share and discuss professional topics across LinkedIn.”

      We will have to wait and see what feature or series of features LinkedIn has in store of us, but here’s to hoping they’re improvements!

      All the best,

      Ted Karczewski