Updated May 2020, Rachel Southcott, Freelance Digital Marketing Consultant
You’ve heard about how LinkedIn is a great way to generate new business and you want a slice of the action. But what’s the best way to go about it?
I can tell you now that the answer isn’t by creating a company LinkedIn page. You would be mistaken for thinking you can set up a company page, polish your personal profile and the leads will start rolling in.
To effectively use LinkedIn, you need to implement the three C’s - create great content, be consistent in your approach and proactively build a community.
However, before we get down to the nitty gritty of the most effective LinkedIn strategies, it’s a good idea to understand the differences between a LinkedIn company page compared with a personal LinkedIn profile. Once you understand the pros and cons you can determine how best to invest your time on LinkedIn.
A Personal LinkedIn Profile
An individual LinkedIn profile provides more functionality than a LinkedIn company page. With a personal profile you can send connection requests to grow your professional network, engage with prospects and clients by liking, commenting on and sharing their posts, and send direct messages.
Personal profiles allow us to interact directly with prospects and build relationships, whereas company pages are faceless. Generally, people buy from people, unless of course, you’re a brand like Apple.
With this in mind, I always encourage clients to use their personal profile far more than the LinkedIn company page.
A LinkedIn Company Page
Some of my clients have made the mistake of thinking that their company updates organically reach a wide audience across LinkedIn. This isn’t the case. The only people who see your company updates are followers of your company page, followers of the hashtags you use in those updates and some of the connections of people who engage with your updates by liking, commenting on and sharing them.
Company pages are essentially a broadcasting platform that allow for outward one-way communication only. They allow you to describe what your company does, create brand awareness and share content.
LinkedIn Company Page vs Personal Profile
Should you Set Up a Company Page on LinkedIn?
Yes. Despite its lack of functionality, a company page still serves a purpose. It allows you to:
- Distribute content such as press releases, articles and newsletters
- Unify employee profiles – if your employees are on LinkedIn, your company should be too
- Advertise – if you want to advertise on LinkedIn you need to have a company page
- Post job vacancies
- Create a central repository of content that can be shared by your employees
How to Leverage Personal Profiles for Business
Going back to the initial question: How do we use LinkedIn for business? The answer is, in part, by leveraging your personal profile and connections.
Here are a few Dos and Don'ts to get you started:
- Regularly search for and connect with your ideal customers
- Review and improve your profile
- Create and share content that your prospects are interested in and which also demonstrates your knowledge and expertise in helping to solve their problem
- Check your search appearances – watch this 20-second video below for instructions on how to do so
- Send a message with a connection request that says something along the lines of ‘Hello, I’m looking to grow my LinkedIn network and I see that we have some things in common, it would be great to connect!’
- Send long, spammy messages touting for business
- Get hung up on metrics – the number of likes and comments you get on your posts is not an indicator of success
- Share too many posts – quality over quantity every time
Who Should you Connect With?
I disagree with the idea that you should only connect with people you have already met in person. This closes a huge window of opportunity. We live in an online world where more frequently conversations start online. By rejecting connection requests from ‘strangers’ you are limiting your company’s growth potential and turning your back on infinite opportunities.
Think of it like networking – when you go to a networking event you openly talk to people you have never met before, so why can’t you do the same online?
My advice to clients is to be open to connecting with people who work in the same industry, have similar skills to you and fit the profile of an ideal client, or even a potential supplier. If you’re struggling to find a mutually beneficial reason to connect with someone then feel free to ignore the request. In all other instances – what have you got to lose?
The key takeaway here is that your company LinkedIn page is not the foundation of your LinkedIn marketing strategy and will not yield the results you’re looking for. The action happens on an individual level, organically and over a period of time.
If you made it this far, thank you so much for reading, I hope you found this article useful. If you would like support in setting up a LinkedIn profile, or creating an inbound LinkedIn marketing strategy, please feel free to drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.