Mario Sundar's Speakeasy

Twitter's 1st evangelism comms guy, Linkedin's 2nd PR guy. These are my thoughts on tech, public relations, and life.

Companies: Why your LinkedIn Page is now a really big deal

As we’ve hinted at in the recent past, LinkedIn just launched the ability for companies to update their LinkedIn Company page, like companies could have been able to do on their Twitter and Facebook pages. In the past, LinkedIn’s Company page was populated only with select auto-generated content like job changes for e.g. Now, things have changed.

Moving forward, all companies or small businesses with a LinkedIn Company Page can customize updates to their followers (whether it is a customer, job seeker or a prospective client). Here’s why it’s a pretty big deal.

What’s new?

With this new release, companies (with an assigned administrator and whose company page is set to “designated admins only”) will have the flexibility to share the latest on the company directly to all of their followers on their company page’s “Overview” tab.

Keep in mind your status updates can be up to 500 characters long and can support URLs with multimedia as well. Given that any LinkedIn member can comment, like or share your Company’s status update, this is a great way to build engagement with customers, potential employees and prospects alike. – Ryan Roslansky, who runs our Company Pages product (though Ryan manages the larger team, I found that my colleague Mike Grishaver runs the specific product itself. Hat tip to Karen Chin!)

Why should it matter to companies or small businesses

1. The confluence of company and brand 

So, why is this a big deal for companies? For starters, this is something companies had been clamoring for a long time and given the recent pace of adoption we’ve seen with millions of company pages and tens of millions of LinkedIn members following companies already, the scope and impact of Company Pages is only gonna grow.

What I find most exciting about this development is that, while Twitter and Facebook focus solely on the mainstream consumer brand experience and its accompanying follower base, a LinkedIn Company page is probably the only place that you can cater to both external (consumers) and internal (employees) audiences. That’s a rare combination, which while possible on Twitter / Facebook, is way more powerful on LinkedIn, given the professional scale. (Disclosure: As a reader, if you don’t know this yet — I work at LinkedIn)

2. It’s just before the tipping point 

Getting in sooner vs. later on social platforms not only lets you claim your ground, but also helps you build a larger following faster. So, building a huge follower base on Twitter these days is more difficult than during those early days. On LinkedIn, the number of company pages, the audience and timing feels like it’s just before the tipping point.

It’s large enough to be a happening place (over 120 million professionals) but it’s not big enough that its unwieldy (only 2 million companies have their profiles on yet), so it’s a great point in time to create one for your company or small business before you get lost in the ensuing land grab.

3. Find a targeted audience and measure yourself

This is probably the most important reason for the right company in the right space (B2B for e.g.) or small business to capitalize on the opportunities posed by LinkedIn. The people on LinkedIn are different from the folks on other social networking sites.

As a marketer, if your goal is to reach professionals there is no better place on the planet than to engage with them on LinkedIn. Let the facts speak for themselves, but I’m amazed at how huge Fortune 500 corporations like IBM or Microsoft are on LinkedIn compared to their equivalent on Twitter for e.g. Here’s a sample:

  1. IBM Company Page: ~450,000 followers, +10,000 employees
  2. Microsoft: ~330,000 followers, +10,000 employees
  3. Oracle: ~230,000 followers, +10,000 employees
  4. HP: ~350,000 followers, +10,000 employees
  5. Google: ~320,000 followers, +10,000 employees

And, I could go on. But, if you’re running social media teams at any of the millions of companies on LinkedIn and you’re not taking a more active role on your LinkedIn Company page, you should be fired.

And one more thing.

ROI. As someone who runs social media for a social media company, it’s my job to figure out measurement models on the key social networks that LinkedIn (the company) has a presence on. LinkedIn Company Pages comes with an analytics component that’s similar to the one you’d find on Facebook for e.g. More on that in another post.

In the coming weeks, I’ll delve into more Company Page details. Follow me here.

So, whether you work for a large company or a small business, you better be setting up a LinkedIn Company Page. And, if you have one already. Start talking, start sharing your updates now — to the people who matter most to your business: Your Employees. Your Customers. Your Prospects.

Filed under: Linkedin, LinkedIn Features,

40,000 LinkedIn Company Pages in 1 Week

Now, many of you reading this are probably aware of LinkedIn’s recent launch of Company Pages – any company or small business’ own space on LinkedIn. An Adage article by Irina Slutsky that came out earlier today talks of the growth and experience of some companies within Company Pages.

As I’d mentioned earlier, I work with many of my social media counterparts at sharing best practices on LinkedIn and I was thrilled that we could get both Kodak (Thomas Hoehn) and Samsung (Esteban Contreras) to launch their brands’ Company Pages on launch date. Brian Nizinsky from Kodak briefly describes his Company Pages experience in the above-mentioned article:

Another feature recently launched is “Company Pages,” extremely similar to Facebook Pages. Companies have jumped on the feature like a starving hyena on the fresh carcass of an elephant. Just in one week, more than 40,000 companies signed up, since now marketers can use the page to promote new products and …yes, engage with their customers. Kodak said the feature is relatively new for it, but hopes to expand on its capabilities. “We have been able to add more information about us and our products/services,” said Brian Nizinsky, online marketing manager at Kodak. “This gives our audience more ways to interact with us and that should only increase as the LinkedIn user base starts using those features more.”

I’ve also had a couple of great conversations with Brian in the past (unrelated to the above article) on LinkedIn Groups and how it could be the starting point of your B2B marketing strategy, and was glad he shared some of his insights into LinkedIn groups here as he has with me:

LinkedIn groups have often been downplayed as LinkedIn’s less-successful features, bringing in low traffic. But Kodak had a different take. “We have found that LinkedIn Groups have been a great way to both start and participate in online discussions that are happening only on LinkedIn,” Mr. Nizinsky said. “We know that the people on LinkedIn use it for business networking and career enhancement so they tend to be more engaged with our content. We make sure we are members of the most active groups that are relevant to our B2B audience — for example, the digital-printing group with over 11,000 members. Once we are part of these groups, we often share content and make sure to respond to any questions and comments that people post.”

I think we could all learn a thing or two from Kodak’s successful experimentation with LinkedIn Groups. I’d like to also provide you a few more insights on that topic. Stay tuned.

In the meanwhile, if you’ve a question on LinkedIn groups or LinkedIn Company Pages, leave a comment or @mariosundar me on Twitter. <<Disclosure: I’m LinkedIn’s Sr. Global Social Media Manager, since 2007>>

Filed under: Linkedin, LinkedIn Features,