Yes dear reader you read correctly, LinkedIn quietly shut down a vital feature for B2B event marketers, the Events App. Now what?
Remember, remember the 5th of November. No, Guy Fawkes has nothing to do with this and no fireworks either. Today I am bringing you bad news in a date that some will remember.
I was watching lol cats videos on Facebook over the weekend when I stumbled upon a re-share from a person I value in the event industry, Dave Lutz, on LinkedIn shutting down Events. Rumor has it that an email is being sent to the user base informing of the upcoming closure.
I did investigate a bit and other than random tweets, nothing was out. No TechCrunch death pool post, no ReadWriteWeb deathwatch.
I did a bit of research and here is the only piece of information from the company I was able to find.
You can read it yourself on their help page.
Therefore it appears to be official indeed. LinkedIn Events will cease to exist in less than a month.
A Major Blow to the Event Industry
B2B event marketers relied on LinkedIn Events to build awareness and generate revenue for their conference or meeting.
LinkedIn Events has been a platform that never convinced me. Nonetheless the audience of the social network made it special.
In fact it is very hard to reach business profiles when marketing events to professionals.
In previous conversations with large event planning firms, I gathered that LinkedIn events was one of the most adopted social media tactics (for some a whole strategy) in the sector.
It is easy to see how this news will blow out the strategy of those who put all eggs in one basket.
A Major Blow to Event Marketing Dashboards
It is funny to see how I covered this subject just recently in my post 5 Event Marketing Dashboards for #eventprofs, and I quote:
The successful but mostly unresponsive social network is a goldmine for wise event marketers, specially high calibre conferences and meetings.
The first dashboard who will obtain LinkedIn integration will gain substantial competitive advantage. To a certain extent I believe the lack of such integration will make dashboards also fail.
LinkedIn integration failed a few startups and this is now a topic on the agenda of the guys working with these dashboards.
Effectively there won't be any integration in the future. Possibly the arena now becomes groups (where an API is available) but let's be quick before LinkedIn shuts down that as well.
What to Do Now?
If LinkedIn is an important part of your social media tactics not everything is lost. You can still leverage on one-to-one introductions and LinkedIn Ads.
The company suggests to use the sharing features, but to heavy Events App users that may come as an insult.
Unfortunately LinkedIn let go a pretty unique service due to the audience it managed to captivate. Therefore finding a real alternative may be difficult.
In fact publishing a high profile conference on Facebook or Google+ may make it look like a sweet sixteen party. The cited platforms do not offer a business events solution and are quite focussed on pictures rather than offering proper event marketing tools.
My love and hate relationship with LinkedIn is more inclined to the latter after this announcement. I am not a heavy user of their Events App platform but I know of a great deal of event professionals who are. These guys will now have to face a quite tough situation.
With all things social, relying too much on one platform is risky. Today we have the confirmation. Having your own assets and channels of communication, together with a sound social marketing strategy may save you from such risks.
Yet again a listed company such as LinkedIn cannot afford to have poor performing products, even when the guilt of such poor performance is to be found nowhere but in the company itself.
My coverage of the launch in 2008 closed with this statement:
On the other hand, I am simply getting tired of Linkedin not getting in touch with its user base. I expected they got in touch with our/their community of almost 4000 event professionals to get feedback on how to develop the service.
That community is now almost 100,000 members, yet nobody has ever asked for feedback on the platform. I hope the lesson is learned.