By Maria C. Hunt
Most people think of LinkedIn as a social platform where professionals post their résumés and work samples so they can network with others. But it’s actually much more.
Savvy companies and organizations like Dell, Mashable and Kellogg’s are using their company LinkedIn pages to showcase thought-provoking articles, rich media and company news as part of their corporate brand marketing strategy.
“Social media is part of your communications strategy, so if you haven’t thought about LinkedIn and how you can use it, that’s what I’m here to talk about and teach people,” says Yumi Wilson, a corporate communications manager and trainer for journalists and corporate communications teams.
The LinkedIn for Corporate Communications group now has 677 members and is growing quickly. Just a week after the group launched in February 2014, it had 400 followers. Wilson, who’s based in Mountain View, Calif., offers online and in-person training to help corporate communications teams get the most out of their pages.
“It’s slowly rolling out,” says Wilson. “I’ve done certain trainings for companies and several PR agencies.” She’ll share more insights in June when she speaks during the 2014 IABC World Conference in Toronto.
“I was working with an executive of a top Fortune 50 company and he wanted to know not only how to increase visibility for his company, but he ended up talking about his aspirations to volunteer on a board,” says Wilson.
People can now visit the LinkedIn Volunteer Marketplace to learn about opportunities to get involved, as well as list causes they want to help with on their pages.
Another brand new feature is the opportunity for companies and their communications teams to apply to publish articles on the site as part of the LinkedIn Publishing Platform.
“When people are on LinkedIn they’re there to invest time rather than kill time and to become more productive and successful,” says Wilson. “If multiple people share an article, it will start to trend on your page.”
Whether you’re an individual or a company on LinkedIn, the goal is to have an all-star page. Wilson shared these tips on how you can get there:
1. Have a robust company LinkedIn page.
One of the best ways to market your organization is to really market your organization and your brand message on LinkedIn. As this slideshow on the best company pages on LinkedIn demonstrates, companies are featuring logos and pictures, mission statements in plain English, product showcase pages, videos, infographics and interesting facts posed as questions. If you’re hiring in the future, it might make sense to include information on your company culture or a staff testimonial on why it’s such a great place to work. “They can create it in different ways, but if you’re not doing relevant updates to reach out to people, you’re not building followers,” says Wilson.
2. Participate in groups.
There are more than 2 million groups on LinkedIn, so dive in. “If you want to become a thought leader and an expert, one of the best ways to do that is to join certain groups and start talking about issues that are important to you, asking questions and making contacts.” If you’ve established yourself or your brand as a leader in your field, people will come looking for you when they need your services.
3.Share interesting articles and ideas.
Just like on other social media platforms, Wilson says it’s best to follow the 80/20 rule of social sharing on LinkedIn. That means 80 percent of what you post should be of interest to people in your field, while 20 percent can market your products and services or brag about company accomplishments. And you don’t have to share every link with every one of your followers; all companies can make targeted updates to people in a certain industry or region.
4. Encourage all your employees to shine on LinkedIn.
That means having a profile with a summary, description of duties in past positions and a professional photo. Data shows that profiles with photos are 11 times more likely to be viewed. “People connect with people,” says Wilson. “With a good social media policy, encouragement and guidelines, you can encourage your biggest advocates to be on LinkedIn and know what messages to share.”