What Your LinkedIn Company Page Says About You

You can infer a lot from how a company presents themselves on LinkedIn via their Company Page.
There are five “classes” of company pages, and which class you are in sends the perceptive LinkedIn user signals about your company.
Steerage class: no LinkedIn company page at all
A company with no company page presence on LinkedIn is one that doesn’t understand what LinkedIn is, and quite frankly, doesn’t care. Even a static company page only takes twenty minutes to set up (including photos and logos) and constitutes free advertising.
What conclusion would you draw about someone who doesn’t care about free advertising?
Tourist class: skeleton LinkedIn company page
Companies with skeleton pages also don’t “get” LinkedIn. These companies provide the boilerplate information LinkedIn asks for – a description of what the company does, where it is, what industry it is in, how many employees – and that’s it. Boring and old school, these types of pages look pathetic next to peers that are using  LinkedIn company pages to actively market their products and services.
Middle class: good looking page, but static and still boring
These pages look sharp, but never change. In other words, the company doesn’t use status updates. These types of pages are usually a sign that the company in question has low or no staff devoted to marketing, sales support, or inside sales.
When I am working with my customers and we see they are competing against companies with pages like those above, I start getting excited.
Second class: good looking pages with posts
This is the level where LinkedIn company pages can start to have a positive effect for a company. However, many of these second class companies make the classic mistake of using status updates as naked sales come-ons such as specials and limited time offers. These companies are so close to having it all, but their aim is way off. Blanket sales pitches are hilariously ineffective, as LinkedIn users will come back to the company page a couple times, see that it is just an advertising channel, and don’t come back again.
First class: good looking pages with regular posts that provide value
This is where a company is firing on all cylinders. The company publishes regular status updates that provide value to their prospective customers. Their followers see this and keep coming back for more. The company becomes a resource to the prospect.  When the prospect is in the market for the company’s products or services, the first class company is a natural to be invited to participate. Note that by this time though, the first class company will have likely offered an ebook or a success story or a webinar, will already have the prospect’s email address, and will likely already know the prospect and be well positioned to compete for their business.
So, be first class. It takes work, yes, but not as much as you would think, and the rewards are more than worth the effort. And sure beats competing on price like the lower classes.

Should You Have A LinkedIn Company Page?  

This may seem like a silly question, but there is a case to be made for not having a company page – or as LinkedIn calls them these days a “LinkedIn Page.”
Here are the pros and cons of just what you can do with a Page and what a Page can do for you. Let’s get the bad news out of the way first.
Con – Your reach with your Company posts will be pretty poor
The fact is LinkedIn just does not distribute company page content that much. Yesterday, I got a notification that one company I follow had published a post. This company publishes two or three times a week. This was the first notification I had received or post I had seen this year. Your organic reach just isn’t there. I have even seen conjecture that LinkedIn will go to a pay-for distribution model like Facebook’s.
Con – It takes work!
Setting up a Page is easy. Populating it with really good content – on a regular basis – is another story. Pages need content, and the more the merrier. And that content needs to do one thing: show the visitor that you have the answers to their questions. Your content should be “benefits loaded”, that is less about your capabilities and more about your customer’s results. Even for companies that have that mindset, coming up with a steady stream of that content is a lot of work.
Pro – A Page allows your Company to be found on LinkedIn
Your description and the keywords, phrases and the company specialties you list all provide “hooks” that searchers on LinkedIn can use to find your company. I think this is a vastly undervalued part of a LinkedIn Page, and many companies do not take advantage of it. And it only takes five minutes to set up or fix.
Pro – You can use it to establish your credibility
This would be the role of that content I talked about above. Establishing credibility is a missing part of many companies’ sales process. You need to have credibility in order to be considered your prospect’s purchasing team. A Company Page is a good place to start that ball rolling, because then you can send them…
Pro – You can use your Page to send people back to your website
LinkedIn doesn’t really give you much room to stretch out and write posts – the character limit for Page posts is 700 characters including spaces and punctuation, and you can’t say very much in that amount of space. The solution is a teaser for your content and then have a link back to the content on your website.
Conclusion & Recommendations
A company page is good for credibility, but not for reach. For companies with the resources to keep up with the commitment to write good content, a Page is worthwhile. If you work for yourself, I would suggest that you can do a good job building your credibility without a Page by publishing articles – which can be found via LinkedIn Search, and are also indexed by Google Search.