In 2010 when LinkedIn finally launched company pages, I wrote a breakdown of all the things you could do with your page in the column, "Set Up Your New LinkedIn Company Page." A lot has changed since then and the list of free and paid marketing and media opportunities on LinkedIn has grown significantly.
So with the help of Sarah Mitus (one of our agency's social media specialists who helped with the research and images for this column) we are going to share an update and breakdown of all the things we think you can do to promote your business or brand on LinkedIn. Of course if we left something out please comment and let us know! We have broken down the tactics and features into free and paid categories that businesses (or their advocates) can use to promote their brands, products, and services.
Free LinkedIn Features for Businesses and Brands
1. Create your profile: Consider your LinkedIn page as a sort of Facebook fan page for your company on LinkedIn. To start your company page, go to LinkedIn.com/company/add/show. Once you have admin access to your company page, begin by filling in the appropriate information on the Overview tab. Incorporate SEO keywords as often as possible in the written description and specialties section of the tab.
2. Set up a Products/Services tab: The Products and Services tab on LinkedIn allows a business to showcase what it provides to its customers. Besides creating a full list of products and services, including an image, description, key features, product URL, company contact, and video, a company can create a featured products and services list to highlight its core products. The Products and Services tab has a few purely visual elements, too, including three images to feature at the top of the page, and a YouTube video on the bottom right. To learn more, visit Marketing.LinkedIn.com/get-started.
3. Encourage people to recommend your products: A great feature of the Products and Services tab brings peer recommendations to the forefront. When on a company's Products and Services tab, users see any recommendations a product/service has, beginning with recommendations from people in the user's extended network. Much as reviews would influence shoppers on an e-commerce site, users are likely to express more interest in this product or service from knowing one of their connections endorses it.
4. Check out your page's analytics: As an admin of a company page, you're able to see analytics behind the number of visits and the people who visit your page. Analytics include numbers for your company for page views, unique visitors, clicks on the Products and Services tab, members following your page, and the types of people who visit your page. Learn more at Marketing.LinkedIn.com/deepen-relationships.
5. Alter Products/Services pages by demographics: After you create a generic Products and Services tab, consider creating alternative pages for different demographics. LinkedIn gives company page admins the ability to show targeted Products and Services pages to specific user/industry segments. These segments can be chosen by job function, industry, seniority, and/or geography.
For example, our agency shows a different Product or Services tab to someone who is in the marketing field than someone who is not. This enables a business to specifically target a user based on a defining characteristic, proving relevant as soon as the user clicks on the tab, much like a landing page does in a search campaign.
6. Post status updates: These updates appear in users' feeds on LinkedIn if they are following a company. Updates provide a way for users to interact with a company, and for a company to potentially gain exposure within its followers' friends' feeds.
This is important. Status updates, when updated at least once a day, provide a potential place for paths to cross between a LinkedIn user and a company. If a company does not post status updates, the likelihood of a follower visiting your page frequently is low to nonexistent. Post status updates to ensure you're top of mind with your LinkedIn followers. For more information, visit here.
LinkedIn recently announced that all companies will soon be able to target their status updates title, industry, or company size. For information, visit here.
7. Add a LinkedIn share button to site content: Encourage users who visit your site and/or blog to share what they read on LinkedIn. Adding a share button, much as a company would a "Like," "Tweet," or "+1" button enables users to easily share from your site.
8. Add a LinkedIn follow company button to your site: On February 27, LinkedIn released a "Follow Company" button to put on your site. This gives users the ability to follow a company directly from its site if they are logged in to LinkedIn. The button can include the number of followers the company has, or just the follow button itself. Learn how to install a LinkedIn follow company button to your site here.
9. Promote your page on other social channels: Encourage users on other social sites to become a part of your LinkedIn community. Post status updates and tweets encouraging users to follow you on LinkedIn as well.
10. Promote your page in an email: Much as you would any other social network, promote your LinkedIn page in an email to encourage people who already have an interest in your company to follow you for more company and industry news.
Free Opportunities for Individual Business Advocates and Employees
Employees and advocates of brands help bring a face to the company on social media platforms. There are some things companies cannot do on LinkedIn, but individuals can do as a representative of a company.
11. Encourage employees and advocates to follow your page: As part of your community, employees and advocates should be in tune with your company news and social media efforts, LinkedIn included. Employees and advocates should follow your company on LinkedIn not only to stay on top of company news, events, and webinars, but so that they can easily share this information with their network.
12. Set up and manage groups: Individuals can create and manage groups about specific topics relevant to a business in order to establish each individual as a thought leader, and to provide additional exposure for the company. Learn more here.
13. Join groups: Because companies cannot join groups, it is wise to have individuals from your company join groups about your company and industry. When employees and brand advocates participate in groups, posting discussions and questions, they further increase the reach of your company.
14. Create a poll within groups: Creating an easy-to-answer poll within a group provides a way to receive quick engagement with a question. This question can be used strictly for engagement, to gather information about group members, or to learn what the group would like to discuss.
15. See group analytics: Whether you are a member or owner of a group, you can view analytics to better understand the demographics of your group members and the growth and activity happening in the group.
16. Recommend products: Employees, brand advocates, and even clients can recommend your company's products and services on LinkedIn. When this occurs, users in these brand evangelists' extended networks will see a relevant recommendation when they visit the Products and Services tab of your LinkedIn company page.
17. Post a question: Users are able to ask questions of their networks and ultimately the entire LinkedIn network by visiting LinkedIn.com/answers. Again, this brings more exposure to your company when an individual of your company is seen on the Questions page.
18. Answer a question: In addition to asking questions, employees and advocates should also answer them. This will establish the individual as a thought leader and bring other LinkedIn users to your company page should a user click on the employee answering the question.
Paid LinkedIn Opportunities
A business is able to increase the exposure of its brand and company page by using LinkedIn's paid features. Paid features include the Careers tab and LinkedIn Marketing Solutions, which enable a brand to bring ads to its target audience by targeting by profession, seniority, industry, company size, geography, and/or education.
19. Post jobs: Because many people use LinkedIn to search for jobs and prospective companies to work for, a company may use paid features to enable the Careers tab. Posting a job on LinkedIn creates a generic Careers tab displaying all LinkedIn job posts created by that company. Each LinkedIn job post incurs a fee, but the cost varies based on location and amount of posts purchased. In order to post a job, click on the Jobs tab directly from your LinkedIn home page or learn more here.
20. Careers page: Another more costly feature is a personalized Careers page, a $10,000 or $20,000 expenditure, for a customized look. For some examples, check out Microsoft, Google, Fidelity Investments, and Louis Vuitton to understand what this Careers page looks like, and the value that it brings in acquiring new employees. If you're interested in doing this for your company, or if you would like more information, visit here or contact a LinkedIn representative who can explain the benefits and costs associated with each option more in depth.
21. Display ads: Display ads on LinkedIn may appear in multiple shapes and sizes, and much like display ads on other networks, help to increase brand awareness. Display ads can appear on the side of a LinkedIn page in a square or column, or on the bottom as a row.
22. Text links: Text links appear at the top of each page, underneath the navigation bar. They tend to blend into the surroundings and can appear to be part of the site, sometimes appearing as a recommendation from LinkedIn. Start a text ad campaign by visiting LinkedIn.com/ads/start.
23. Content ads: Content ads allow you to stream multiple content types through a customized, tabbed module. Through this advertisement type, a business can deliver multiple types of timely, engaging content, such as a video, Twitter, or RSS feed, in one streamlined unit. For more information on what you can accomplish through a content ad, visit here.
24. Social ads: Social ads are advertisements that encourage users to interact with your brand on LinkedIn. Social ads include options to encourage users to follow your company, leverage recommendations, or join a group. Learn more about social ads as part of LinkedIn's marketing solutions here.
25. Sponsored polls: Receive interactive and relevant feedback from industry leaders. As a company, you can create customized, brand-relevant questions and conversations and use this information not only to engage with the LinkedIn community, but also to learn more about your target consumer.
26. Featured Questions: Ignite conversation in answer categories by utilizing Featured Questions. Get answers and gain exposure with your target audience of knowledgeable and active professionals. Learn more here.
27. Event sponsorships: Drive awareness and attention to an event posted on LinkedIn by using this marketing solution. Increase attendance by helping relevant LinkedIn users in your geographical area and industry find your event. Learn more by viewing LinkedIn.com/events.
If you want to get started on some of these tactics, a good place to start is on LinkedIn's FAQ page. To learn more about its paid opportunities, visit its Marketing Solutions page. I hope you found this breakdown of LinkedIn opportunities helpful! Again, if we missed anything please post it in the comments sections.
This column was originally published on April 24, 2012.
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As founder and CEO of Overdrive, Harry Gold is the architect and conductor behind the company's ROI-driven programs. His primary mission is to create innovative marketing programs based on real-world success and to ensure the marketing and technology practices that drive those successes are continually institutionalized into the culture and methods of the agency. What excites him is the knowledge that Overdrive's collaborative environment has created a company of online media, SEM, and online behavioral experts who drive success for the clients and companies they serve. Overdrive serves a diverse base of B2B and B2C clients that demand a high level of accountability and ROI from their online programs and campaigns.
Harry started his career in 1995 when he founded online marketing firm Interactive Promotions, serving such clients as Microsoft, "The Financial Times," the Hard Rock Cafe, and the City of Boston. Since then, he has been at the forefront of online branding and channel creation, developing successful Web and search engine-based marketing programs for various agencies and Fortune 500 companies.
Harry is a frequent lecturer on SEM and online media for The New England Direct Marketing Association; Ad Club; the University of Massachusetts, Boston; Harvard University; and Boston University.