Many users have relegated LinkedIn company pages (or ‘pages’ as LinkedIn calls them) to the ‘Maybe Someday Never’ file but there’s mounting evidence that ‘Never’ is fast becoming ‘Now’.
LinkedIn made significant changes to pages in 2018, has talked since about how to make better use of them and now, when you invite someone to connect, by default you are invited to follow their page.
With all this going on – and hints that more changes to pages are on their way – at Word Wizard we are starting to use them more in our own and our clients’ marketing. And we believe there are 5 key reasons why it makes great sense to start using pages.
1. CHANGES TO LINKEDIN COMPANY PAGES
LinkedIn has been dropping hints for some time that it is working on more changes to pages. And often when LinkedIn launches a new publishing-related feature, it changes the algorithm to give a boost to members using that new feature. For instance, early adopters of new post formats are rewarded with many more views (the algorithm delivers it to more newsfeeds) than those who wait until the trend is well established.
2. BENEFITS OF USING LINKEDIN COMPANY PAGES
LinkedIn says that once company pages gain 150 followers their opportunity for growth becomes exponential. If your business is in growth mode, it makes sense to be active on a social media platform dedicated to business, that is itself growing AND is free. Further through this article I’ll discuss ways to increase your followers.
LinkedIn company pages allow you to educate potential customers about how your business can help solve their problems – in a low key, value-added way through informative, useful content. Buyers no longer want to be sold to, they base their decisions on information they have uncovered and social proof that indicates your product or service meets their needs. Along that journey they want to get to know, like and trust you, which takes patience and perseverance on your part.
The newsfeed is filled with posts from members’ profiles. Posts from company pages are much rarer, so they stand out. Particularly if they are not sponsored (which amounts to advertising) and instead deliver good old-fashioned value. At present, LinkedIn provides free organic reach – your page posts will be delivered to the newsfeeds of your followers (remembering of course that it doesn’t deliver all your profile posts to all your connections). Facebook used to offer this too, but now that is a service which is paid for in order to get any real reach. It is unlikely that LinkedIn would see value in charging for this, certainly at present, so it’s a great form of free marketing that directly targets potential clients.
As mentioned above, when you accept a connection invite, you are immediately offered an opportunity to follow their company page. The same with your invites. This is a great opportunity to gain followers so don’t waste it by having a poor, or worse, no company page.
Barriers to Using LinkedIn Pages
There are many reasons why pages have had bad press and are not used as much as their potential value suggests. For one, they take time to set up and manage. For another, they require a constant source of new content. Inexperience with using LinkedIn and a lack of understanding why it is such an important platform for businesses are further reasons. Let’s address them and look at some solutions.
Lack of resources is the most common barrier to full use of pages. Generally, time is the resource in least supply: no one in the team has the time to devote to devising and implementing a content strategy. In 2019, going into 2020, an organisation without a social media presence on any of the available platforms will struggle. Businesses are found, learned about and begun to trust by providing quality content and social proof. Businesses without followers, fans or any of the other monikers given to a platform’s users tend to lack searchable reviews which these days is a red flag.
Having a cohesive, platform-personalised social media plan is not a want-to-have; it’s a must-have whether we, as business owners, like it or not. This means having a dedicated social media person who understands the platforms your business has a presence on and knows how best to use them. For instance, it’s not best practice on LinkedIn to cut and paste a link to an external video, podcast or web page without accompanying text. It simply won’t get the engagement and therefore reach that is the goal of every LinkedIn interaction. If you have a staff member who knows, likes and understands the social media platforms you use, and who is great at sourcing and writing content – offer them the job of social media manager immediately! If you don’t have a social media guru among your staff, outsource the work. Experts on each platform can be easily found.
Company posts don’t get the same reach as profile posts and this is often used as a reason not to expend energy on pages. Especially if follower numbers are low. And, to a certain extent, that is true. However, like any problem – there are solutions. One of those may be your staff. By allowing, even expecting, staff to engage with posts, the reach of those posts will increase exponentially. This might mean publishing to a particular schedule so staff know when to engage, or it might be better to message staff when a post goes up so they can like and comment on it.
How to use LinkedIn company pages to best effect
Post regularly. Often even. Perhaps even more than you post to your profile. Various experts say once a week is insufficient. I’d agree. It’s not enough to get you seen and noticed. Better by far to be more frequent. With the proviso, of course, that your content is always useful and seldom promotional. Posts of company events or awards designed to show how brilliant you are just turns off other LinkedIn members.
Have a company page that is complete, well written, error-free and clearly explains what you do, for whom and the benefits. Like a personal profile, an incomplete page just lets the side down. It doesn’t show you in the best possible light. It doesn’t tell your story or enhance your brand. Oddly perhaps, although this may be something that’s being fixed, on a page you don’t have the same facility to add media that can accompany your profile’s About. That seems odd because it’s possible to add video and other media to posts, just not to the page Overview. Whatever the constraints, you need your logo, a brand-centric header image and a clear description of your business for your page to be considered complete.
Have all staff follow your page. All they need to do is go to their Experience section in their profile, go to your company name and in edit mode retype it until your logo appears. Once they click and save, they’ll be following your page and will be listed as an employee. Regrettably, that’s very easy for anyone to do so check that all the people currently listed as employees actually work for you. If they don’t, your options for getting rid of them are limited. I’ve found the best way is to find the person on LinkedIn and approach them directly. It’s entirely possible they don’t even know they have connected with the wrong company. However, you have no control over who says they work for you. With luck, this will be one of the changes to pages that LinkedIn is working on.
How to increase followers
Like much to do with LinkedIn, this takes time. Do not expect miracles, although by all means hope for them.
While your new connections will be invited by default to follow your page, don’t pin your hopes on this. You are new to this person and they will not necessarily understand the value of following. So, don’t push it by messaging, “Hey thanks for connecting. Please follow my company page.” That isn’t going to work and will do more harm than good. Show value first, ask for the follow later.
However, here’s who you can ask to follow your page:
✅ Clients – current and previous with whom you are on good terms. ✅ Friends – the real kind, not the social media kind. ✅ Suppliers – if your relationship with them allows for this. ✅ Staff – make it part of your social media policy to follow the company page (you do have a social media policy for staff, right?), although as discussed above ideally you want engagement from them, too. ✅ Networking buddies – if you belong to a networking group such as BNI, ask other members to follow your page. Offer to reciprocate. ✅ LinkedIn connections – if you are in regular communication with particular members and you feel your relationship is strong enough to warrant it, ask those connections. Make sure you offer reciprocation, however. ✅ Anyone else you feel would be receptive to your request.
Your first goal with followers is the 150 that LinkedIn stipulates as being the tipping point.
What to post
Similar to posts from profiles, posts from pages can be formatted as text only, image, video and document. All the last three can (and should) also contain text. At the very least, add three hashtags.
We’ve established that posts need to add value rather than be promotional which leaves the field wide open for any variety of topics. And the industry you are in will largely determine the subject matter. But here are some post structures that may help those creative juices begin to flow. (These all derive from a great list of post prompts that I found online and opnely admit I copied – I just wish I could recall the author in order to give appropriate credit.)
? Case study – if you include a quote from a happy customer, this is exceptional third-party recommendation material.
? List – easy to read and absorb, lists can be use time and again as the basis of a post.
? How to – people are always keen to learn new skills so share information that helps them to do a particular task.
? Problem-solution – choose a problem your customers commonly struggle with and provide a solution, preferably generic, but one that your company provides.
? FAQs – what questions do customers ask? Answer them through page posts.
? Research – what’s the latest research in your industry? Share it, people love to know what’s new.
? Checklist – similar to lists, checklists are a simple, easy to follow way to provide information on what customers to need to know about a particular topic or task.
? Definition – explain some of the more difficult concepts in your industry so your followers have a better understanding. Informed potential customers become good paying customers.
? Stats – if your business lends itself to this, sharing statistics of various kinds can be helpful and will resonate with those who are interested in numbers.
? Tips – what information can you share that people will struggle to find elsewhere. This is a great way to encourage people to follow your page in the hope that they will learn more from you.
? Series – when a topic deserves more than a short video or 1300 characters, turn it into a series of posts which you upload over a period of time. You might prefer to make them sequential so the people interested can easily follow them, or add one per week or so and reference the earlier ones.
Pulling it all together
The fortunes of LinkedIn company pages are on the rise, and if you want to be ahead of the curve thinking about how to use them to better effect is a no-brainer. There are plenty of reasons to have an active company page, solutions to the barriers, many options for increasing followers and an almost endless range of post structures that can be used within the four formats available.