Earlier this fall, LinkedIn announced a new look for its Company Pages. This release came about as a way to offer brands that use LinkedIn a better experience as well as enhancing the opportunities and information that individual users can access on the professional social network. The new look and content linking of these revised Company Pages offer brands on LinkedIn new marketing opportunities.
When news of the update first broke, LinkedIn handled the release in a manner similar to how the move to Fb’s Timeline came about: selected brands were given beta access, we could all ooh and ahh, and then about a month or so later mass access was released. So if you’re a brand and you’re on LinkedIn with old profile – you now have the chance to update and upgrade!
Afraid of the change? Or unsure of what the big deal is? I’ve been beefing up on my own LinkedIn knowledge quite a bit recently and I’m here to share some of the most important tid bits with you. I read the great ebook that Hubspot published on the new pages, I scoured the web reading all kinds of social media news sites and blogs.
The changes have been made to help grease the social wheels of LinkedIn’s massive network of professional connections. Which, according to stats in the Hubspot ebook, is quite profound: “With over 161 million registered users in over 200 countries and territories, more than two million companies with Linkedin company pages, and professionals signing
up at a rate of approximately two new members per second, Linkedin is the world’s
largest professional social network.”
161 Million users!
More than two million companies with pages!
Two new professional members signing up each second!
These are huge stats that really help put the LinkedIn network into serious perspective. 161 million is a lot of prospective employees, potential customers, or leads that can find their way to your profile with just a few clicks. If you’ve been slacking on your LinkedIn social media campaigning, sit on the sidelines no more. You need to get in there and make the most out of this massive network, ripe with option and opportunities to promote your brand’s business.
The LinkedIn Possibilities
Unlike other social networks that cater to the individual user and his or her friends and personal relationships, LinkedIn is focused on work and business. Employees can link up to the company they work for, past employees can post their former employer’s link as well. Businesses that share an industry and pull employees from similar talent pools will be readily linked to one another through their overlapping networks and commonalities.
Updated Company Pages have been designed with this click-through networking in mind. Users are able to learn more about companies, and now brands have more options for how they express who they are to the users that will check them out on LinkedIn. “For members, this means easier access to the information you want about the companies you care about. For companies, this means a more powerful way to build relationships with your target audience on LinkedIn.” (LinkedIn Blog, Mike Grishaver, 2012).
The main point of the update was a visual facelift on the look and feel of Company Pages. Much like Fb Timeline and the new Twitter headers, now LinkedIn has the option for a big cover image at the top of your brand’s profile page. This large image is like a billboard and greeting card, all in one, using a large and powerful image to greet users that browse over to you through LinkedIn’s network. The LinkedIn blog explains, “this image helps companies establish their identity on LinkedIn.”
After rolling out the new format to some select brands, in October LinkedIn upgraded access to all Company Pages using the social networking site (LinkedIn Blog, 2012). LinkedIn also has released a big package of updates to user profiles, with the intention of bolstering sharing and social connections developed through the site and the tools its users have access to within the LinkedIn network. An October article on AdWeek explained, “the changes to LinkedIn’s profiles include several new photo, biography, and editing options. But overall, the biggest difference in profile pages are a series of new features LinkedIn hopes will encourage users to share a whole lot more content,” (AdWeek, 2012).
The Overview Section
In the overview section, you can post updates like you would on Facebook or Twitter, about what your brand has been doing recently. The way you share content, the update box, now features prompts that help Business Page users know how to effectively use this tool and post content to share with your followers.
Now, when you post those updates, you can target who you share with by choosing a “targeted audience” or “all followers.” If you choose to target, you’ll have the option to narrow down the audience based on qualifiers like company size, industry, function, seniority, and geography.
When you post a link into the update box, a link preview will populate the same way Fb works when posting a link; you can opt to share the accompanied preview photo with the link or to remove it.
You can describe your brand in more detail. Although the location for the description has moved to the bottom of the page (emphasizing the need for a really engaging cover image to keep users on your profile on reading, scrolling) – the chance to express more about your business is now there. With an increased opportunity to post more about who you are, you can promote yourself in greater detail, educating users about your brand even more than you previously could.
The Newsfeed also got a makeover. The stylization of the newsfeed has taken the dull and humdrum vibe of the previous version and replaced it with a well-designed look that makes reading the updates easier to do as well. Perhaps now with a visual emphasis put on accessing the content users post, more people will pay attention to what’s actually being discussed.
The Career Section is essentially a job board that prospective employees can check out to learn about your company. There aren’t any major changes here – but the user experience has been enhanced with new tools, and more ways to highlight and show connections between like-minded users; thus, the chances of prospective co-workers, leads, clients and more finding your profile are higher.
Insights have been expanded to include more details. In the social media world, we’re obsessed with metrics. Our need for numerical data is being heard loud and clear at LinkedIn, and now you can check out stats on the users that are visting your page in greater depth. Follower Insights help you analyze the engagement your profile is accruing: follower demographics, company update impressions, follower progress, member growth. This is section provides metrics all about the users who are visiting your page.
Products / Services
The products or services section (you can choose which you’d like to feature for your specific brand’s needs) is where you really have a great place to display your company’s specificities. This is the section where you can explain what your brand has to offer and drive traffic back to your website. LinkedIn users have the option to share links to this section of a brand’s page – and that’s a great form of promotion, too. Your users, your employees, your past and present contacts all have ways to link to your page and promote your brand to their connections.
A notable change is within the products and services page’s right sidebar. The view now highlights the names, job titles, companies, and profile images of LinkedIn users in the visitor’s network who have recommended particular products / services on your page. We all know that word of mouth advertising is one of the best forms of promotion. The social media revolution has also opened our collective eyes to just how valuable user-generated content can be when friends recommend a brand to one another. If a user is able to see that their trusted family and friends have good things to say about your brand, or some kind of link to it – that is a huge form of word of mouth promotion.
LinkedIn has recognized this phenomenon and the needs of businesses to help bring out such personal endorsements. “70% of people follow links posted by friends and family,” (Hubspot, 47 Handy Facebook Stats And Charts, 2012). Hence the highlighting of this feature. By expanding your network to new users, you’re increasing your potential promotional outreach exponentially.
Overall Experience of LinkedIn
In addition to those profile changes, there are features that are already part of LinkedIn that you can use to best manage your Business Page. By keeping an updated page and posting new content continually, you’re enhancing your own SEO efforts. “LinkedIn Jobs appear in search results and on Twitter,” (Hubspot ebook).
With these changes up and running, using LinkedIn to your brand’s advantage is easier than ever. As brands can embody a greater sense of creative expression there is also the opportunity to enhance connections, endorsement, and marketing efforts. Using LinkedIn effectively can improve your SEO and drive in new leads from a variety of perspectives. The power of social media is no longer a myth or something that only savvy and cutting edge businesses are cashing in on – social media is a massive tools that’s a necessity in today’s marketplace. So make the most out of your opportunities, and get your brand’s profile up to date on LinkedIn.
For questions about marketing with social media or protecting your brand’s reputation online – you can always reach out to us here at ICUC. In the ever-expanding social space, we remain a global leader in managing successful campaigns for some of the world’s biggest brands.