Encourage discussion with a LinkedIn company page

We’ve been exploring how to use LinkedIn — the social network for business professionals — in my last two columns. We’ve reviewed how to create a 100 percent complete profile and how to obtain those all-important recommendations. This month, we’ll focus on LinkedIn company pages.

Company pages are simply a company’s profile, as opposed to an individual’s. To create a company page, you must be an official representative of your company and have the right to act on behalf of your company in the creating the page. To set up a company page, click “Companies” in the LinkedIn navigation bar. Then click “Add a Company” and follow the step-by-step instructions.

Company pages currently have four tabs: overview, careers, products & services and analytics.

The overview tab gives an at-a-glance description of your company and lists its type, size, specialty areas and locations. If you have a blog, you can import your company’s blog feed into the overview tab.

On Oct. 6, LinkedIn launched a new feature in the overview tab called “company status updates.” Administrators of company pages can post news, videos, job opportunities and information about a company’s products and services. Each update can be up to 500 characters long, and your most recent 20 posts display in the overview tab. Any LinkedIn member can see these updates and they can comment, like or share the posts with their own professional network.

To activate this feature, you must designate one or more administrators. To do this, click the overview tab. Find the “Admin tools” button and click “Edit.” Appoint a page administrator by clicking “Designated users only” and typing the name of the LinkedIn member who will manage the company page. When the person’s profile listing displays, click it and then select “Publish.”

As an alternative, you can appoint all employees who have a valid email address registered to your company domain as page administrators.

The careers tab allows you to post job openings. You can include a detailed job description and list the desired skills and experience you wish candidates to have. You can either collect applications on LinkedIn or direct candidates to an external website to apply.

The products & services tab helps you showcase specific facets of your company. This area functions like a mini website within LinkedIn. You can display images and YouTube videos, detailed product descriptions and features, special promotions and offers, links to web pages and the LinkedIn profiles of company employees that people can contact for more information.

A nice feature of this tab is that you can request and display recommendations for each product and service you showcase, thus tapping the power of word-of-mouth marketing.

The analytics tab is visible only to company page administrators. It tracks data on page views, unique visitors, clicks on products, services, jobs, employee profiles and more.

LinkedIn members can follow company pages with one click. If you’re hunting for a new job, company pages are a great way to keep up with opportunities at companies you’d like to work for. You can get a feel for the company’s culture by visiting the LinkedIn profiles of people who work there.

And if you’re the administrator of your company’s page, you can use it to highlight the individuals behind your brand to your fellow business professionals.

Laura Christianson owns Blogging Bistro (bloggingbistro.com), a Snohomish-based company that serves a full menu of online marketing services, including website creation, content writing, and social media consulting. Contact her at 425-244-4242 or laura@bloggingbistro.com.

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