Unsurprisingly, businesses face this confusion when managing their profile on LinkedIn. Here it is.
Attention Businesses, if you are using LinkedIn Profiles for the purposes of LinkedIn Marketing, you are shooting yourselves in the foot. Haven't you heard about LinkedIn Company Pages ?
One fine day, as I went about my usual LinkedIn routine of making status updates, establishing connections and research; I received an unsolicited "Invitation to Connect" request. Just to digress a little, from a LinkedIn best practice point, it is considered impolite to send unsolicited "Invitation to Connect" requests. This connection request that I received was not just downright impolite, it was strange. Very strange. It was not sent by a natural person or a human. It was sent by a company. Self goal - Twice. Sorry, your LinkedIn Marketing effort just failed even before take off. LinkedIn is the World's largest professional networking platform. Professionals across countries are on LinkedIn for jobs, business deals, corporate insights and intelligent discussions.
So if you are a business considering presence on LinkedIn for recruitment, B2B Lead Generation, LinkedIn Marketing and Sales, do not commit the mistake of creating a LinkedIn Profile. The professionals who are on LinkedIn for business are savvy users. And a faux pas like this, will most certainly jeopardize your LinkedIn Marketing prospects. Put your best foot forward with LinkedIn Company Pages.
Get this and get this Fast - LinkedIn Profile is for natural persons whereas LinkedIn Company Pages are for Companies that are looking for a presence on LinkedIn. If you are a Company and creating a LinkedIn Profile, you are violating the User Agreement of LinkedIn.
LinkedIn Company Pages
Unlike LinkedIn Profiles, LinkedIn Company Pages are designed to cater to the requirements of Businesses. In addition to Company overview, information on products and contact details can also be provided. With a little research, businesses can use LinkedIn Company Pages to obtain customer recommendations, showcase videos and target their market. LinkedIn Company pages are a powerful LinkedIn Marketing tool for businesses - big and small. So, how can your business stand out by leveraging and optimizing this New LinkedIn Company Page?
We look at three such features of the New LinkedIn Company Pages that could give fillip to a company's overall Inbound Marketing approach.
#1 Attention Grabbing "Cover Image" Masthead
Similar to Facebook and Google Plus business pages, LinkedIn has introduced the "Cover Image" feature. So now businesses, can upload a 646 X 220 "Cover Image" to engage their visitors. Unlike Facebook and Google Plus business pages, the "Cover Image" is positioned a trifle below the top margin of new LinkedIn company pages. This obtuse positioning pleasantly ensures that Visitors notice and register this "Cover Image". To take advantage, it is recommended that businesses create a "Cover Image" with a Call to Action (CTA). Businesses can also use this feature to express their brand values.
#2 Featured or Most Recommended Product or Service
Before the New LinkedIn Company Pages roll out, if visitors had to check out a Company's products, they had to click on the "Products and Services" tab - a two step process. But now, the moment visitors land on the New LinkedIn Company Pages they immediately get to see the Top Products and Services. The product that gets displayed on the landing page is usually a "Featured Product" and / or "Most Recommended Product."
In April 2014, LinkedIn retired the Products and Services tab from the Company Pages marketing tool. And this is what we had written about it, back then.
It was coming. When Showcase Pages was launched in 2013, it was a prelude to this initiative. When I received the email from LinkedIn, funnily on the 1st of April, at first, I almost dismissed it. But, I could not dismiss the regular beaming message on the Inbound Mantra LinkedIn Company Page.
What should we do, now and going forward?
First things first. If you have created a strong and powerful "products and services" content tab for your company and clients, take a manual backup of all the content. It should primarily include product / service descriptions and recommendations.
Should LinkedIn have retired this?
The LinkedIn announcement provided some solid business reasons, why they are retiring "products and services" from LinkedIn Company Pages. The reasons are not unsurprising. What perhaps, has not been openly discussed, is the poor performance of the "products and services" tab. Having managed LinkedIn Company Pages for Inbound Mantra and its clients, our team has seen less than 5% visits on Products and Services compared to overall visits. No doubt, LinkedIn is better off focusing energies on other LinkedIn marketing features.
What I would miss? - Creating Different Personas
A very powerful, but underutilized feature under "products and services" was creating different personas of the "products and services" tab depending on the profile of the visitor. It allowed companies to present a customized call to action and also to promote offers.
The Final Analysis - My Take
LinkedIn has strongly recommended "Showcase Pages" and "Company Updates" as better alternatives. My sense is that LinkedIn could have taken a phased approach to this eventuality. LinkedIn could have experimented with an improved User Interface (UI) for LinkedIn company pages. An improved UI giving more real estate to a company's products and services could have engaged and converted serious traffic.
All is well that ends well.
#3 Featured "Status Update"
As in Facebook, for all LinkedIn Status Updates you can now "Feature this Update" . This helps businesses showcase their most important message by moving it to the top, in this New LinkedIn Company pages update.