LinkedIn announced last week that it is redesigning company pages as part of an ongoing effort to simplify users’ experience on the site. Mike Grishaver, Senior Product Manager at LinkedIn, said the changes will mean “easier access to the information you want about the companies you care about.”
This is great news for organizations such as Dell, HP and Citi that already take full advantage of the features LinkedIn makes available for company pages, including status updates, information on products and services, photos and videos. This user-generated content, which helps tell a company’s story to potential partners, recruits, media and others, is at the heart of the LinkedIn redesign.
While this is a positive development for some, it is a wake-up call for many others. A majority of companies do little or nothing to customize their corporate pages, opting instead to tell their stories through the default language LinkedIn provides. The redesign will make this painfully obvious. The current text-heavy layout prominently features the most basic company information – company size, year founded, number of employees, industry, etc. – pulled from existing corporate web sites. Products and services – if companies have even taken the step to add them, which many have not – are hidden behind a tab.
A comparison of the two layouts clearly shows the new version favors organizations that invest time and resources into maintaining a tailored page.
If your company happens to be one of the majority that has not spent much time customizing its LinkedIn page, here are four simple steps you can take to update your corporate pages now in order to make the most of the new LinkedIn layout once it launches:
Similar to Facebook Timeline, the new LinkedIn format prominently features an image at the top of the page. This enables companies to establish and reinforce their brand identities with compelling visuals rather than basic logos. Organizations should think now about what the main image should be and create a plan for changing it regularly to promote special offers, company awards and other updates.
Aside from the header image, company updates are the most prominent feature in the new LinkedIn layout and the first place visitors will go to find the latest news about an organization. Companies can use the Status Updates feature to post announcements, industry news, articles featuring employees and other information. Providing regular updates with relevant news will increase the likelihood that users will regard the page – and the organization – as a valuable resource.
Promote Products and Services
LinkedIn enables companies to feature multiple products and services to establish a complete picture of the organization’s capabilities. Each product/service page includes options to post YouTube videos and images, recommendations, special promotions, company contacts and special URLs. The images and language used in this section will be previewed “above the fold” in the new layout, so taking advantage of the feature is especially important.
Assign a Page Administrator
By default, any current employee of an organization can edit its company page. Because the new layout highlights content generated within the LinkedIn platform, it is important to control who is sharing that content. Instructions for assigning administrators can be found in the LinkedIn Help Center.
By taking these steps now, before the LinkedIn redesign rolls out for all company pages, organizations can ensure their LinkedIn profiles are credible, complete and more compelling than the competition.