Everybody knows about LinkedIn, but some companies haven’t yet caught on that it’s a tool to market businesses, not just individuals. As of early 2012, there were more than 150 million individual profiles on LinkedIn – but just 2 million company pages. Part of this limited adoption pattern may be the fact that the LinkedIn home page doesn’t emphasize – or even MENTION – the ability to create an account for your company. You have to go searching for it; the company account creation page is here. If you don’t already have a company page you will need to create one using a person’s profile as the owner. Then you can create a company page and begin populating it with your company’s information.
Even those companies that do stake their claim to a bit of LinkedIn company page real estate may not realize how many choices and options they have in building out that company page. Many company pages consist of just the Overview tab (and that tab is essentially a reprint of the company web site); however, there are three other public tabs you can work with and each has a lot of marketing potential.
The Employees tab is an outstanding locus for building your firm’s credibility. This tab presents aggregate information about your employees and associates – who, of course, have their own LinkedIn pages already (right?) – automatically. When prospective customers or clients visit this page, they are getting a raw look at the talent behind your firm. Encourage your staff to make their profiles shine, and include every possible scrap of educational and professional attainment. It all shows up in the aggregates, and your prospects should come away from this tab saying “wow”.
The Careers tab (which requires a paid account) also lets you build credibility (and boost your HR effort). High standards, exciting job descriptions, solidly professional copy – all this increases the prospective’s inclination to assign your company a high trust value.
The real meat, however, is on the Products and Services tab. There’s almost no limit to what you can put here – and you should put EVERY product and service your company focuses on here. Each and every product or service you list on this tab can have:
- The product name
- A small image
- Up to 2000 characters of text description
- A list of up to 8 key product features
- Your company’s URL
- Contact information for the sales lead or contact point for this product
- A promotional offer
- A YouTube video link
On top of the vast informational content you can put up for each product, you also have the ability to create a brand identifier for your entire portfolio – letting you add three more banner ads, an overview of your offerings, and another YouTube video. Even better, you can define Custom Views of your product listings – by defining the criteria for who sees
Once you have all that up on LinkedIn, don’t forget to cross-promote it! You can add “Request Recommendation” buttons to each product or service description, asking your existing client base to endorse your offerings. You can also include “Follow Company” buttons, which automatically links your site to the requester’s profile so that they always see what you’re up to. what Custom View (things like the viewer’s company size, industry category, organizational level, geographical location, etc.) you can create a subset of up to five products tailored for that particular market. Anyone who doesn’t fit into one of your custom profiles will see the default view.
Like many social media tools for businesses, LinkedIn offers an incredible range of services and free or nearly-free promotional opportunities – but you have to do the groundwork first. It’s well worth it.