One of the most common questions I receive from small-to-mid sized business owners and entrepreneurs about LinkedIn is, “Should I create a LinkedIn Company page in addition to having an individual profile?”
I always give the same reply: “Think about it this way – would you rather do business with a logo or a real person?”
Given a choice, I’m always going to recommend 1-on-1, personalized marketing and lead generation using LinkedIn or any other platform.
With that caveat aside, there’s still some significant value available if you understand how to utilize LinkedIn’s Company Pages the correct way.
Let’s jump in.
LinkedIn Tips: Who Should Use Company Pages?
Now, if you’re Nike, Google or Microsoft, a LinkedIn Company page makes a lot of sense. When you have thousands of employees and millions of customers worldwide, it’s helpful to have one large “hub” where you can house all job openings, company information and updates on LinkedIn.
Now, if you’re a small-to-medium sized business, LinkedIn Company Pages can still be valuable, but it depends in large part on how you utilize them. (More on that later.)
How LinkedIn Company Pages Work
If you haven’t explored this avenue yet, LinkedIn Company Pages are free to set up and essentially serve as an extension of your company website.
You’re able to post job openings, links to company news and blog posts, create “showcase pages” highlighting certain departments or service offerings and more.
Also, LinkedIn will automatically reroute people who click on your company name or logo on the LinkedIn platform to the attached Company Page. It will also allow your company to become “discoverable” inside of LinkedIn’s Search box and on Google and other search engines.
In addition, employees can link back to your company page when filling out their individual LinkedIn profiles, helping drive traffic to your Company Page via those individual profiles.
LinkedIn Company Pages and LinkedIn Advertising
One other benefit of having a LinkedIn Company Page is the ability to create “Sponsored Posts” through LinkedIn’s laser-targeted (and quite expensive) advertising platform. (For a primer on how LinkedIn Advertising works and who should use it, go here.)
If you have the budget to spend on LinkedIn ads, you can place “sponsored posts” that originate from your Company Page in front of your ideal prospects.
As an individual (as of this writing, anyway) profile holder on LinkedIn, you cannot create and place “sponsored posts” or updates into the feeds of LinkedIn members. This advertising play only works if you have a LinkedIn Company Page.
LinkedIn Tips: How Small-to-Medium Sized Businesses Should Use Company Pages
First, let me start by saying that most small-to-mid sized business owners I know are beyond busy, with only so much time and attention to go around when it comes to using LinkedIn for lead generation.
With that in mind, I’d much rather you leverage the individual LinkedIn profile of your company’s CEO or Owner to prospect on LinkedIn than take the time to create and maintain a Company Page.
I advise doing all active prospecting and outreach this way (running everything through your Business Owner or CEO’s individual LinkedIn profile) for a few reasons.
First, nobody likes getting unsolicited invites or messages from a person with “sales” or “business development” in his or her title. That’s just reality. However, if the Owner or CEO of a company personally invites meto connect or sends me a personalized LinkedIn message, I’m much more likely to pay attention to it and respond.
And once that happens, it’s easy to farm out those incoming leads to the members of your team who are in charge of lead generation and sales.
Use a simple “handoff”-type script to follow up with a prospect that responds to an invite or message that comes from your CEO or Owner’s personal LinkedIn account.
Here’s an example: “Hi [Prospect Name], our Owner [Owner Name] passed your reply on to me about [Topic XYZ] and asked that I follow up about [Topic XYZ].”
The second reason I like using this method is that the Owner or CEO – who is likely not leaving the business anytime soon! – gets to collect and keep all these new LinkedIn connections and sales leads in one place.
If you’re the owner of the business, you’d rather have your sales team using your account to collect and engage all your potential customers, because inevitably sales people move on (and take their networks and clients lists with them!), and then you’re back to starting over as far as LinkedIn lead generation is concerned.
Third, it’s great branding and visibility for your company on LinkedIn to have your CEO or Owner posting status updates, publishing content, sending out invites and the rest.
How to use LinkedIn Company Pages Successfully
With all that as preamble, if you do decide to create a LinkedIn Company Page, you should utilize the same “client-facing” approach that works so well within an individual LinkedIn profile.
Here’s an example of a small-to-medium sized business that has an effective LinkedIn Company Page setup:
Notice the client-facing image that instantly explains what type of services Summit AR offers and who their audience is.
Also notice in the immediate summary area below the main image the ALL-CAPS style of “WHAT WE DO,” “HOW WE DO IT,” “WHO WE SERVE,” and “THE RESULT” as eye-grabbing headlines. Because LinkedIn doesn’t (yet) allow you to italicize or bold text on profile pages and summaries, using ALL CAPS to call attention to certain phrases helps online readers quickly scan to find what they’re looking for.
Summit AR also has client-facing “Showcase Pages” that delve more deeply into the specific service offerings and niche audiences they serve.
Whether you’re large or small, you’ll want to employ the same type of “client-facing” approach with your Company Page. Then, depending on your budget, you’ll want to utilize LinkedIn’s advertising platform and content marketing to attract your ideal clients and customers over the long haul.
Above all else, remember this (paraphrased) quote from Dale Carnegie: “Your customer doesn’t care about you or your company. He cares about himself – morning, noon and after supper!”
So whether you decide to utilize a LinkedIn Company Page or not, don’t forget to make it all about the audiences you serve, the problems you solve and the value you provide as a result!