Are LinkedIn’s new company pages worth the wait?
LinkedIn, the world’s largest social network for professionals, rolled out its new-look company pages about a week ago.
Back in September, LinkedIn gave us all a sneak preview when it released the new pages to its partners (a handful of big brands). Now everyone can get in on the action and customise their company profiles.
These changes have been a long time coming. Facebook and Google+ have both had superior company pages for some time, which is odd given that LinkedIn has a stronger B2B pedigree than Facebook and has been around a lot longer than Google+.
So, were the new company pages worth waiting for?
The changes are largely cosmetic, but that was definitely the first thing LinkedIn needed to address. The old profile pages were pretty uninspiring and didn’t exactly compel businesses to create and maintain a profile.
Following the revamp, you can customise your page with a header image. The updates (in most cases these will be links to your own content or third party stuff that’s relevant to your business) are also richer and more visually appealing. This all helps the new company pages to look more like modern social profiles and less like formatted Word documents.
If you also look after pages on Facebook and Google+, you’ll see that LinkedIn has taken a very similar approach: splash image at the top of the page followed by a stream of updates with nicely-presented thumbnails.
One interesting option is the ability to “feature” an update, keeping it at the top of your page. This is handy if you’re planning to post regular links to time-sensitive content (like a company a blog) but also have a more substantial, evergreen asset (a video or custom graphic maybe) that you want to keep on pointing people towards.
They’ve also cleaned up the sidebar, making the links to “Careers” (current employees, vacancies) and “Products and Services” (what you do) more clickable. Here is a brief slideshow that showcases the changes:
While the look and feel (and some of the functionality) is very similar to Google+ and Facebook, here are some bits the new LinkedIn pages are missing:
Edit Posts – This is a really handy function on Google+ and saves you having to delete your posts when you spot a typo or want to rephrase something.
Thumbnail Options – When posts pull the right image from your link it looks great, but you don’t seem to be able to scroll through a few different options like you can on Google+ and on Facebook. Picking your thumbnail allows better control over the look and feel of your page.
Admin Controls – At the moment you don’t seem to be able to lock the page down if you don’t want comments on your posts or employee updates added to your stream. That said, you can use the “featured post” option to push stuff down the page.
Good reasons to create a page
LinkedIn is likely to be more of priority for B2B companies, but there are a couple of universal benefits to creating a company page.
The first is that LinkedIn has something in the region of 200 million members globally. A company page will get you in front of them if they run a search. Outside the LinkedIn environment, your company page will also rank well in Google search.
I read a great article a couple of months back about using social media profiles to protect your personal brand. By creating and maintaining social media accounts, you can control what people see when they search your name.
The same applies to businesses. If you have a page on LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook and Twitter, they will tend to rank pretty well for your brand searches, providing a bit of protection against content from third parties. This makes a LinkedIn page worth having, even if you’re not too fussed about the makeover!!