Indisputably the number one professional network across the world, LinkedIn should need little introduction. Alexa estimate that it is the 13th most popular website in the world, without even taking into account the millions of app users. All told, this behemoth of a platform boasts over 450 million signed up users – hugely impressive for a relatively simple and in some respects, limited, offering.
It has always been a powerful showcase for individuals to display their expertise and experience. However, businesses are increasingly realising that they too need to put their best foot forward on LinkedIn with the balance of power having shifted dramatically from employers to employees in the years since the last major economic recession.
Creating a stand-out business page on LinkedIn has traditionally been pretty tricky. Within the confines of a very modular and prescriptive design layout, there was little scope for creativity and expression. The introduction of showcase pages in 2013 offered an additional opportunity for customised content; but LinkedIn’s revamped business pages are the next step towards providing marketers with a platform to really show off the unique proposition of their business.
Benefitting from the New Layout
Currently, there are a couple of stunning examples of LinkedIn’s new company pages in top tier beta – namely GE and IBM (sign in to LinkedIn to view). These profiles demonstrate a strong balance of style and substance. However, before you get too excited, the beta that most businesses are likely to see over the coming months is rather limited by comparison.
Despite this, there is still immediate scope for increasing the effectiveness of your LinkedIn presence in the following ways:
Early adopters will certainly feel the benefit of standing out from the crowd. Sooner rather than later, this upgraded layout will be the expectation rather than the exception, particularly for companies aiming to be at the forefront of digital and tech, so capitalise while you can.
Better use of Imagery
It has taken some time, but LinkedIn have followed the lead of Facebook and then Twitter in adding a cover image to profiles. This is the primary piece of real estate on the new business pages and a great opportunity to display an eye-catching and impactful image that draws on one of your key differentiators – be that scale, ethos, creativity, environment, technology or anything else that might attract people to work with or for you. Make sure your resident photographer and/or designer are primed and ready to produce a cover image with 1536 x 768 dimensions.
While the ability to add content and the way in which it is displayed is more-or-less unchanged, this is the ideal opportunity to review whether your ‘about’ section accurately represents what your business currently does and stands for. Bear in mind that anything beyond the first paragraph is likely to be hidden behind the ‘read more’ button so be concise and captivating.
Additional data isn’t always that useful in isolation, but LinkedIn have promised an expanded analytics dashboard that should help to transform those figures into actionable insight.
The new edit mode is certainly slicker and more intuitive than the current iteration, meaning marginal gains for busy marketers.
Waiting for the ‘Big Beta’
The top tier beta version that LinkedIn have granted IBM and GE may be a way off for the rest of us, but there is no excuse for not preparing for its eventual roll-out. In each example, the assortment of high quality video and imagery paints them as an inspiring place to work, while the richness of information makes job-hunting a simple and enjoyable experience.
At a time when attracting and retaining top talent is becoming an increasing pain point for businesses, investing in company culture and the representation of that culture through interactive media is increasingly important. Most potential clients or candidates will sense check LinkedIn and other social profiles to get a feel for the ethos of a company and it is important that businesses can tell a compelling story and demonstrate clear differentiation from their rivals. If this means you’re ahead of the game when the top tier beta rolls around, then all the better.
In the meantime, don’t overlook the current beta and make sure your new-look profile is ready to go!