LinkedIn is an excellent place for you to network (check out a closer look at LinkedIn for business owners), and you can get even more out of it with LinkedIn Company Pages or Groups.
These are two separate functions that you can take advantage of. You might want to get involved in one, both, or neither. Nearly every company will see a small benefit in having a Company Page – which is a cornerstone of your business’s LinkedIn presence, while Groups are more for interacting with others, setting yourself up as an industry expert, steering discussions and so on.
They work in slightly different ways, so let’s take a closer look:
To create a Company Page, log into LinkedIn and choose ‘Interests’ from the nav bar, then Companies.
Somewhere in the right-hand column there should be a link to ‘Create a Company Page’. Follow the steps there – it’s pretty straightforward.
This page you’ve just created (or intend to create after reading this, right?) is what someone would find if they search for your business on LinkedIn. You can also link to it (as could any employees) in your profile/career section.
Because the page is public, it will appear in Google searches – a good reason to keep it up to date! Essentially it’s something that doesn’t take a lot of time to set up, which can raise brand awareness and offer you a bit of free marketing.
Anyone interested can click a button to follow your page to get your updates.
Do you need to write updates? Not necessarily. Even a static page with contact info on it can be useful. But every update you write helps you reach more people. You could post similar material to what’s going on a Facebook page or something fresh. Perhaps you’d prefer to update only when you have a vacancy coming up or some big news. You can even send out targeted or sponsored updates.
Do bear in mind that page posts will be published under your brand’s name, not you as an individual, so keep an eye on your writing style and tone.
You will be able to see impressions, clicks, interactions and an engagement rate for each post – all useful tools to see which sort of Page updates are actually working.
If you have your own Group or there’s a Group you want to link to, you can link to up to three on your Company Page. Click the large edit button, go to the Featured Groups section, and type in the name of the Group you want. Click Publish. Easy peasy.
Groups are really helpful if you want to interact with other business people and build your reputation at the same time. Being in any relevant group might help – whether it’s about your industry, of interest to your industry, or one that you’ve created about your specific business (only do this if people will genuinely have something to talk about, however. Nothing looks worse than an empty discussion group. Except a really bad logo – contact 155Creative for a good one!).
You can chat in a Group more informally than you might on a Page post. You can join in with existing discussions or encourage new ones, depending on your goals at the time.
Whatever you do, don’t just advertise, advertise, advertise when you’re in Groups. No one wants to read that all the time. Be interesting and informed and participate rather than try to take advantage. It’s easy to think you can join a group and post your own content for free advertising, but if that’s all you do, the rest of the group will catch on quickly.
If you decide to create your own Group, just be aware that if you want to keep control of the membership or keep an eye on who’s posting what, then you will have to spend some time moderating it.
Only you can figure out if it’s worth spending that time. Setting up a Page is fairly easy and joining in with discussions can be fun. Just make sure that whatever you do, it looks professional. That’s what LinkedIn is all about.
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