Learn about the pros and cautions (there are 14 of them), before setting up a LinkedIn company page.
Good news! LinkedIn is becoming more like Facebook (in a good way).
A LinkedIn Company Page administrator can now add status updates. This makes creating a LinkedIn Company Page much more valuable. Why? Before a LinkedIn Company Page was much more useful and valuable to recruiters and job seekers who could go to a Company Page and immediately see who they might know at the company or who someone in their network knew at the company.
That feature is still available on LinkedIn Company Pages but now there’s more opportunity to share news and relevant information through status updates. And that makes it a greater benefit to follow a company on LinkedIn and for you as a business marketer to post interesting news and status updates.
As with Facebook, it’s free to create a Company Page on LinkedIn. Now there’s just a much better marketing benefit to do so.
As with Facebook, people can comment on and “like” status updates made on your Company Page. That means you’ll need to monitor that page closely.
Some cautions about LinkedIn Company Pages
1. Company Pages on LinkedIn seem to have been set up for the benefit of recruiters and people looking for jobs with a company, not for marketing purposes to promote a company.
The “home page” of your Company Page on LinkedIn features most prominently who works there, not marketing or promotional information about the company. Someone has to see and click on the tab “products and services”. Most people don’t/won’t do that.
The status updates now appear where the company description used to.
The summary of what the company does comes next and then the photos and information about who you are connected to at the company. That information is useful for people hiring and also for business development and sales when you’re looking for someone who knows someone at a company you want to sell into.
2. You’ll need to post status updates for your company as another social media task and monitor any comments.
It worked before that you could set up your Company Page to show posts from Twitter. Those now don’t appear. Blog posts do if you set up your page for that.
3. LinkedIn cautions, “Keep in mind your status updates can be up to 500 characters long and can support URLs with multimedia as well.”
4. A link to your company website is hard to find.
It’s located on a box on the right hand column way down the page. This is probably done on purpose because LinkedIn wants people to stay on their site so they can make money showing ads. But remember, LinkedIn doesn’t charge to create a Company Page.
5. When someone does a Google search for your company, your LinkedIn Company Page will show up on page one of results.
If you have just a few employees, your company won’t look very impressive. Your Company Page on LinkedIn won’t be the best way to market yourself if you’re a small company. The first thing someone will see is how many (or few) employees you have. And who those people are and their photos (if they have LinkedIn personal profiles). You want people going to your website or blog or Twitter.
6. When your company employees change jobs or get promoted, those show up on the Company Page quite prominently. This is because these Company Pages are designed to help recruiters and HR people identify people who work at a company or who have changed jobs. Knowing this information can help you for new business leads if you follow a company.
7. You can’t customize or “brand” the look of your Company Page in any significant way so all the company pages look pretty much the same (undifferentiated)
8. If you buy ads on LinkedIn you’ll need to decide if you link people to your site or your company page.
Our advice: Link them to your site or blog. The company pages on LinkedIn are more useful for finding people who work at a company and who the new hires are than for sharing relevant information and updates with customers or prospects who follow your company.
9. If you don’t set up a Company Page, then another company can take it.
10. LinkedIn may have set up a default Company Page for you.
If any of your employees are LinkedIn members with valid e-mail addresses under your company domain, you have a Company Page.
11. Until you set up someone as the Administrator for your Company Page, any employee with a valid e-mail address linked to your company domain can modify your Company Page. Yikes!
Know this: We’ve just covered a lot of reasons not to set up a LinkedIn Company page along with a risk if you don’t do this (someone else can grab your company page space if they have a similar named company).
Go look at the Company pages for businesses of your size to really understand how this works to evaluate if this is a good move for your small business. Consider the implications for making it easy for your competitors to know who works at your company and how to find them to offer them a job.
12. LinkedIn offers instructions and code so that you can add a follow button to your website or blog and some people use that in their email signature. If that’s too complicated, you can add a link to your company page URL that’s part of your email signature that says something like “follow our company on LinkedIn”.
From our experience: It’s much better for a customer or prospect (and for you!) if you direct them to visit your Company website and/or blog. There you are in complete control of what information you present. It is valuable to include a link to your personal LinkedIn profile if you are selling professional services and want to be seen as an expert.
13. You now have to remember to post something on your Company Page status update at least once a month or more frequently. You don’t want people seeing “old news” when they visit your company page.
14. Is this a way for LinkedIn to sell more advertising? Now that the Company Pages on LinkedIn allow status updates, they’re more valuable for marketing. But, like with Facebook, you may have to invest in advertising to “attract fans” to your Company Page to make it worthwhile.
Why is LinkedIn offering free company pages?
Here’s a clue from a job description for a position within LinkedIn as “Gateway Marketing Manager, SMB” (SMB stands for small and medium business). The success metrics include adoption of Company Pages by small and medium businesses as a gateway product to adoption of other LinkedIn products.
Other ways to promote your company on LinkedIn
Consider creating your own LinkedIn group
Starting your own group gives you control over the discussion topics. It’s also work to maintain and keep the group going so if you decide to do this, realize you are making an ongoing commitment.
You can choose to open the group only to people you know, or—if doing so is appropriate and you have the time—you can open it up to a much larger audience.
Start the conversation. Engage others. Demonstrate your expertise and showcase theirs.
You’ll want to establish and publish rules about what can and can’t be posted. And enforce those rules. If not you, someone will need to act as a moderator, and to remind group members of the rules and what is and isn’t allowed. If you don’t remove abusive or obvious spam or sales pitches, your group loses value to everyone else.
By joining a group, everyone in the group becomes a connection. Anyone else who is also a member can see the group logo in your profile.
Know this: Creating an active group on LinkedIn involves time and work. Most people on LinkedIn join groups and then don’t engage unless they want to post something to share.
How to Market Yourself & Your Company on LinkedIn is a comprehensive how-to guide on marketing using LinkedIn. Learn all about all the ways you can use LinkedIn besides setting up a Company Page.
Advertise on LinkedIn
You may have to do this to get people to follow your Company Page.
LinkedIn sells text and display advertising. Running ads may be a better way to attract people to visit your website and/or personal profile page than driving them to become fans of your Company Page.
Encourage your “brand fans” to make recommendations on their status updates.
Ask your fans to post something in their status update.
How to set up a Company Page on LinkedIn
To set up a LinkedIn Company Page (it’s free), you need to have an email address with your company domain name like email@example.com, not firstname.lastname@example.org
Your company email address must be listed on your profile. If your email address is through gmail, hotmail, Comcast, AOL, etc. you won’t be able to set up a Company Page.
Your employees also need to list their company email address to show up.
Set up the product recommendations options for the LinkedIn company page. This allows people to go to the LinkedIn company page and write positive reviews about your products or services. When these are posted, they can share the post with their network which is the best free advertising you can get!
Add the recommendation button to your company’s product page on the company website. This allows people to click on the recommendation button, and share with their network that they suggest purchasing your product or services.
TIP: You can receive recommendations from your personal professional network on your individual profile but those aren’t posted on the Company page because they’re recommending an individual, not the company. You might want to ask clients/customers to visit your Company page where they can provide a recommendation for a specific service or product. That will be saved on the Company page (not in anywhere that’s particularly easy to find or see, but it will be there).
You can set up a video on your product/service Company page
It’s free to do that but how many people will actually look at it?
May be good for recruiting prospective employees but not so much for marketing. Better to send people to your website or blog.
If you do this, remember to keep it updated!
Analytics on LinkedIn Company Pages
LinkedIn has a tab that Company Page administrators can see that gives data on monthly:
- Page views to the Company Page
- Unique visitors
- Number of people who have clicked on the products/services tab
- Number of members following the company on LinkedIn
- Visits by industry, function and company
Now remember to post something on your Company Page status update at least once a month or more frequently. You don’t want people seeing “old news” when they visit your company page.
Search implications of LinkedIn Company Pages
LinkedIn is a good, quality site to get a link from. Links into your site can increase your search engine popularity and therefore improve your ranking.
If your organization has, say 100 employees, and 40 of them have LinkedIn accounts, then why not send out a company-wide email requesting a link back to the company website? If only 20 staff members add a link, you’re still up 20 free, quality, possibly relevant links, simply by sending an email. And remember – each account on LinkedIn has space for 3 links with whatever anchor text you like.
In order to make the link viewable to search engines, it is important to add the “show website” feature to each profile that will link to your site. This can be done in each account by clicking on “Edit My Public Profile,” make sure “Full View” is checked, and that also “Websites” are checked. This will make the website link (and anything else you check here) public.
Again, you can also respond to service requests and other questions in LinkedIn “Answers,” in which you can post a link to your website as a reference. Many “Answers” pages are also indexed in search engine results pages.
LinkedIn FAQs on Company Pages