LinkedIn is moving one step further into business-to-business and business-to-consumer marketing today with a new design for company pages and featured updates. The site made its new company page design available to select firms nearly a month ago and is now making the features available for free to more than two million companies that currently have LinkedIn profiles.
"We know that company pages are at the heart of the LinkedIn follower ecosystem. It's through these pages that companies reach and truly connect with their target audiences," Marc Bishop, director of global product marketing, noted in a blog post announcing the site-wide roll out. "It's our goal to provide an environment where brands have the proper tools and platform to cultivate meaningful relationships with our members."
LinkedIn's new featured update functionality gives brands the ability to more prominently display the updates they want to highlight above the fold in their update feed. The free feature enables firms to promote news and updates for up to 48 hours.
Philips, one of the first companies that got early access to the redesigned company page, experienced a 106 percent increase in engagement after it tested targeted status updates over a six-week period. The company targeted audiences in healthcare, engineering and creative design, depending on the content of each update.
"With social media, you want to tailor what your audiences see," Clive Roach, social media strategist for Philips Healthcare, noted in a case study about the six-week trial run. "When someone decides to become a follower of our LinkedIn company page, it's nice if we can target our messages so as not to take up their time with content that's not interesting to them."
Company updates are displayed front and center, and brands can showcase products, services or career opportunities more prominently on their page. Company pages are also now available on LinkedIn's iOS and Android apps.
The new look of the company pages has striking similarities to Facebook's timeline and Twitter's new timeline-like page image, particularly the new space for a larger image intended to make the pages more visually appealing. A LinkedIn spokesperson contended that this change is "different because it is set up in a professional context," but did not elaborate.
"This redesign offers marketers an enhanced brand presence so they can easily attract and engage customers across various devices. It also improves content relevance in the company feed, making it easier to drive engagement," the spokesperson added.
LinkedIn is positioning the new design and features as an equal opportunity for businesses and users to comment, like or share updates with their network. "While there is a strong business component, the redesigned company pages offer consumers the opportunity to better understand companies of interest from business news to job opportunities," the spokesperson noted.
The company pages are free, but LinkedIn has a suite of paid marketing products that are already available to brands as well. LinkedIn sells display ads, targeted status updates, recommendation ads, sponsorships, partner messages, text-based ads, analytics and research.
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Matt Kapko has been writing about mobile since 2006, before it became cool. Based in Long Beach, CA, he has covered mobile entertainment, digital media, marketing, and advertising for several business media outlets. A former editor and reporter for RCR Wireless News, paidContent, and iMedia Connection, Matt is a regular freelance reporter for ClickZ. You can follow Matt on Twitter at @MattKapko or drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
March 19, 2014