Company Page vs. Personal Profile
By far, one of the most popular questions I get when I am speaking at conferences is, “How do I get more followers and business from my LinkedIn company page?” Many “social media experts” will jump at every chance to defend any aspect of the online social world but I’m going to tell you exactly what I believe.
Company pages are not a big deal. They often don’t generate much in the way of results.
There, I said it. Yes, it might come as a shock to many of you that I would ever suggest any aspect of LinkedIn is irrelevant but company pages aren’t where I’ve found success that produces sales. Company pages do provide a unique opportunity for exposure that wasn’t previously available to personal profiles though with Sponsored Updates.
Does this mean you shouldn’t have a LinkedIn Company Page? If you have a business you should have one. But the real results always come from building relationships on your personal LinkedIn Profile.
There are three reasons why your personal LinkedIn profile will generate more results.
1. People Want To Deal With People, Not Logos
When you’re on social media, whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or any other network, do you prefer to interact with a human being or a logo? People like talking to logos just as much as they enjoy talking to automated message systems when calling their cell phone provider. It sucks!
Every word that comes from a logo has that canned feeling that lacks human authenticity. That’s because it’s impossible to “be yourself” when you are acting as your brand. The experiences with businesses that are most memorable “in real life” are the ones that involve a particular person going above and beyond for you.
2. Company Pages Are Passive, Profiles Are Active
The most crippling aspect of LinkedIn Company Pages is the fact that you aren’t able to proactively connect with targeted prospects and develop relationships. You are 100% dependent on the interactions that come to you organically (which are minimal) and with paid sponsored updates.
I’m a fan of LinkedIn Sponsored Updates, but they aren’t enough to justify Company Pages becoming the cornerstone of your LinkedIn strategy.
The action has always been with personal profiles and the relationships you develop there…and that’s likely not going to change for a long time (if at all). This is exactly why I provide training to sales teams of companies large and small because the sales reps can connect with prospects and build relationships with them via their personal profile.
3. Personal Profiles Give You Power to Be Proactive
The most successful sales people know how to be aggressive in the right ways to meet and exceed their sales goals/quota. LinkedIn Company Pages are completely passive and don’t allow you to create results when action is low on your page. Personal profiles give you endless opportunities to find and interact with targeted prospects, if you’re willing to put in the time.
Connect With (Almost) Anyone You Want. You can’t send a connection request to people as your Company Page but with your personal profile, this is a basic function. Of course, you can’t connect with everybody on LinkedIn – only your 2nd level connections and fellow group members are reachable with a simple connection request.
Send Personal Messages. You may not speak unless spoken to with Company Pages. In my opinion, this limits the abilities of LinkedIn Company Pages to simply a medium for broadcasting content and the occasional promotion. Personal profiles give you the freedom to constantly be networking and building relationships through private messaging your connections.
LinkedIn Groups. You cannot access LinkedIn Groups as a Company Page, which closes off a massive source of targeted leads that are interested in engaging on relevant topics. If you’re a locally based business, you can’t join groups from around your area that would easily contain plenty of targeted prospects. With your personal LinkedIn Profile you have the ability to join up to 50 LinkedIn Groups and you can even message any member within those groups for free, a feature most people don’t even know exists.
Should You Create A LinkedIn Company Page?
Yes, it’s still worthwhile to create one but don’t fool yourself into thinking it’s going to be some sort of untapped goldmine of exposure for your brand. If you manage your expectations, I think you’ll find that LinkedIn Company Pages will have their place in the overall spectrum of your online marketing efforts. Building a popular Company Page on LinkedIn is hard work and takes a significant budget dedicated to ads to get off the ground.
That said, there are certainly a few benefits to having a LinkedIn Company Page:
The ability to run Sponsored Updates to promote your best content with laser-focused targeting. I’ve had great success with LinkedIn ads and found them to be extremely robust at targeting high quality traffic in a short period of time. I set a $100 budget once and it blew through it all in two minutes but broke a per-minute site website traffic record in the process.
Link together all your employees on LinkedIn who have listed your company as their current position (great organic exposure, especially for large companies with many employees). Plus your Company Page becomes a clickable link from within each personals profile.
LinkedIn Company Pages are extremely SEO-friendly. Ensure you are selecting keywords that your ideal clients are likely to search when looking for your services and strategically place them throughout your description.
It Doesn’t Hurt but Don’t Expect Much
It’s important to manage social media by prioritizing the mediums that will produce results for your business and de-prioritizing ones that don’t. LinkedIn Company Pages are simply another tool in the toolbox but realize that the results they produce is highly dependent on the quality of content you post and the amount of money you invest in promoting it via Sponsored Updates.
If you’re pushing sales for a B2B company, sitting around waiting for leads to come to you is not the game you are in. You need to be proactive with networking on LinkedIn using your personal profile and building relationships one-on-one, aka what you’ve always been doing to make sales in the past.
Melonie Dodaro is the author of the #1 international bestseller The LinkedIn Code. She is also the founder of Top Dog Social Media, an agency that helps businesses, sales teams and professionals use LinkedIn and social selling to boost their visibility, attract new customers and increase their revenue.