Once you have finalised your marketing strategy (see the previous article) and have all your communication elements lined up and ready to go, the next step is to draft your LinkedIn company page.
I love the company page of LinkedIn because it is such a great equaliser – it’s a totally level playing field – an arena that is common to all companies whether they be start-ups, mid-sized, or multibillion multinationals. Everyone has the same space, the same tools, the same blank canvas upon which to present themselves. How we portray ourselves is 100% up to us, and in this article, I’ll share with you some of the tips and techniques I have learnt and found useful over the years.
The LinkedIn corporate page is a significant marketing tool. With more than 70 million active users monthly, LinkedIn is probably the largest media where you can showcase your company. As we all know, LinkedIn has a very high SEO ranking so there is a good chance that anyone Googling you or your company will see LinkedIn at the top of the search results and click straight through to your page – so first impressions really do count.
We’re not going to look at the technical elements of how to execute the tasks – there are 100s of easily accessible YouTube videos and online courses for this – but will concentrate on the marketing element of this important step, with our usual focus on the Medical Device business. In this environment we want to make sure that you are building a company page that stands out, generates a high volume of views, interest, and (as we all would like) sales leads.
When constructing your company page there are three things it’s critical to get correct right from the start: choose appropriate images, provide as much corporate information as you can, and be succinct in your corporate overview.
#1 Choose Great Images
Present Yourself in The Best Possible Light – Figuratively and Literally.
Images are just as important on LinkedIn as they are on other social media, so we need to take care in choosing them appropriately. LinkedIn courses suggest using images that fully reflect your company, which provide a clear message, and that is consistent with the profile you are presenting on your company page.
I understand that if you have a start-up company or a small company, this might not be very easy to achieve. My suggestion here is to hire a photographer, shoot a decent number of pictures that can be used for the corporate page, but following that will be useful stock images for you to use in future posts. You will need to spend a little money, but it will be money well spent.
Sometimes the positioning of these images will not be straightforward. LinkedIn’s corporate page uses a banner-size format which offers a bit more room for creativity, but standard images may not fit perfectly. Again, spend a little money. Go to a graphic designer. Use this banner to combine a couple of pictures, add a message, but create something that has a visual impact – this is the first image that everyone will see when they’re looking for you.
#2 Leverage Your Corporate Information
Let People Get to Know You.
The second big step when building a corporate page is to enter your corporate information. LinkedIn allows you to enter a huge array of information and it makes sense to fully leverage this opportunity to provide your reader with comprehensive information about yourself and your company. Look beyond just the basic information you have to provide as there is so much more you can offer. Make sure your contact information is correct with a strong call to action wherever possible. Spend a little bit of time on it – it won’t be wasted. In the medical device industry, I often see that companies leave this information unfilled, and I really believe it’s a wasted opportunity.
#3 Write your Corporate Overview with care
Understand the social media environment and needs, and adapt to them.
When compiling a corporate overview, we need to consider that the social media environment has its own character, quirks, and criteria. We need to understand this environment so that we can adapt our styles and habits to meet these parameters, especially if we are talking to a very busy “target reader” like physicians.
To start off with, we need to develop a style of writing that is suitable for social media. Many of us are well-schooled in traditional methods of writing, methods that are fine for situations where our reader is engaged and is concentrating fully on our work – articles, books, letters, and e-mails, for example. Doctors reading in social media are in a different space, and they have different appetites. They are there because they want to be. They want to choose what they read, they don’t want to be told, and they want to make up their own minds about things. If you manage to capture their attention, they’ll be prepared to give you about 5 minutes of their time, so you’d better make those 5 minutes count. We need to recognise this and adapt our style of presentation to get the most productive results.
Capture your Doctor’s attention.
This may seem obvious: a “Duh!” moment. But social media is the territory of the browser, the scanner, the speed reader, the scroller – physicians who might look at social media during a break, or during breakfast, or while travelling – skimming, scanning, and with an eye already moving on towards the next post. At this stage, they are not fully engaged, and their attention is fleeting.
Once they see your page there are three possible reactions: if the content catches their attention then and there, they will continue reading – which of course is exactly what we want; if they find the content interesting or relevant but it’s not an opportune moment to read it then they will probably save it to read at a more convenient time; then, the third scenario – the one we want to avoid – is that they will scroll on, abandon us, and keep looking for something more engaging.
Keep your overview fresh and current and avoid outdated corporate patterns.
When we are building a corporate overview, we often have a pre-set image in our mind – a picture of how it ‘should’ be – a sort of template that often derives from the corporate brochures that were popular in the 90s – and we try to conform to it. In some cases, we are compelled by upper management to follow this pattern. But these old-fashioned protocols are definitely out of touch with the modern-day scenario. They are often littered with redundant and hyperbolic statements such as “leader in innovation”, “pioneer”, “best-in-class”, “state-of-the-art”, “world leader” – phrases that generally means a lot to the writer and very little to the reader. Readers want to read, be informed, and then make up their own mind. Tell them simply and concisely what you can do for them.
Less can be more – Don’t feed the reader more than they can chew.
We may be excited about every minute, intricate detail of our products or company, but readers often (usually!) aren’t. Include what is relevant to the reader; make sure to convey the key points, content that really matters to them, to keep their attention. Keep your ego in check – sometimes less really is more.
Write appropriately for the type of physician you are talking to.
Before writing this article, I reviewed almost forty corporate profiles of start-ups, mid-sized, and small, medical device companies. And according to communication parameters, only three or four were appropriately written. Only three or four out of thirty or forty, so a very, very low percentage.
So, what does “appropriately” mean in this context? In short, the message is clear; the reader clearly understands what the company does, what it sells, to whom, and the Unique Selling Proposition. Here are a couple of pointers to bear in mind: make sure the overview is not so long that readers get bored but is long enough to articulate your message and fuel SEO, it must be easy to read on a smartphone, and it should use bullet points.
Think about your language.
Be clear, be concise. Avoid corporate jargon. Speak as one human being to another. Avoid hyperbole and hackneyed phrases – stale, boring, and an instant turn-off.
Clarify your objective – Immediately.
Succinctly explain to the reader why it’s worth spending 5 minutes of their time to read your story. Often, we avoid doing this as we’re afraid that by immediately setting the target we’ll “put people off”’ and they’ll move on. But remember that your objective is not simply to gather readers, what we actually want is to generate sales leads. Sure, we want to attract readers, but we want to be read by relevant people, not by everyone. To coin a cliché, quality trumps quantity!
Explain what it is that you’re doing.
This is incredibly important and very often overlooked. Explain it clearly and explain why, above all others, someone should choose you. Explain your USP, why they should buy from you rather than from someone else. To help make your case, and for ease of reading, use bullet points. Bullet points are very, very useful to enable casual reading of a topic. Be aware that LinkedIn, in this field, will not allow you to use different colours or special fonts (bold, italic, underwritten) so you, therefore, have limited weapons to keep the focus of the reader.
Once you’ve got this far, maybe have a break, do something else, have a sip of coffee…. And then continue with the next point.
Don’t recycle other corporate content for your LinkedIn corporate overview.
For the reasons we have explained previously, it is vital that you build the LinkedIn Corporate overview (and your personal profile – see the following section) specifically for LinkedIn. Do not reuse what you have already written and used elsewhere – whether in articles, websites or other media.
Support your company LinkedIn page with strong personal profiles.
There are several companies in which the top executives either don’t have a personal profile, don’t have a well-designed personal profile, or don’t link their personal profile to the company profile.
There has been a lot of debate about this issue: should a company be able to insist that their top-level employees and executives develop a personal profile that supports the company personal profile, and require that the person posts frequently? I personally believe that in this new century, in this digital age: Yes. When you receive a salary, commission, or retainer, when you are part of an organisation, it is also part of your job to support your company through your digital tweets and your digital profile, and what better conduit for doing this than your LinkedIn personal profile? There is a mutual benefit to this. The corporate will have increased visibility, but so too will the individual – having a good, active, and well-designed personal profile increases the professional value level of the individual, making them more attractive in the job market. The rules for creating a powerful personal profile are exactly the same as the ones listed for the corporate overview. You need to be clear, concise, and straight to the point. Use bullets. And explain very specifically why you’re good at the things you say you are.
In personal profiles, the issue of images is as big, if not bigger, than in a corporate profile. Lately, the general standard of images used for personal profiles has improved, but there are still a lot of professionals, top-level executives, and people with high levels of responsibility, who continue to use low-level images to showcase themselves on their LinkedIn profile. Here I would say exactly the same thing again: hire a good photographer. It’s worth it. Get a few good pictures and use them on your LinkedIn profile.
Overall, it is crucial to present both company pages and personal profiles in the most powerful way that we can. We need to use all the tools that LinkedIn makes available to us to showcase what we’re doing so that we can gain as much attention as possible.
#4 Use LinkedIn’s “Invite” Function
LinkedIn loves that we use the platform to interact and create conversations ….. because we remain on the platform, and that is their goal. Recently they have re-introduced the ”Invite” function that allows us to invite connections from our personal contacts to follow our page.
This is great because, in our industry, healthcare professionals are often reluctant to independently follow a company as they feel it might imply personal endorsement of that company or its products. We have found that there is generally a good uptake on invitations that are received as a private request coming directly from a company and that HCPs tend to accept to follow companies that could potentially provide them with useful information. Personally, I’ve found this function an incredibly useful tool.
Here’s a brief outline of how it works. As a LinkedIn Page super admin, you can grow your follower base by inviting your 1st-degree connections to follow your Page. Every Page is granted monthly invitation credits which are shared across all super admins of the Page.
Here’s how invitation credits are used and earned:
- Sending an invitation requires one credit.
- When an invitation is accepted, the credit is earned back and is applied back to the Page’s balance.
- When an invitation is rejected or withdrawn, the credit isn’t earned back. The credit is removed from Page’s balance.
Here’s how the monthly invitation credit limit works:
- The Page invitation credit limit renews on the first day of every month.
- The Page invitation credit limit is shared by all super admins of the Page.
My experience is I have never used up all my credits, and the free credits have always been enough to invite as many customers as I wanted considering the “earn back” mechanism and the fact that LinkedIn has always added new invites when I was depleting them.
#5 Continue to Evolve Your Page
It’s really important to keep your content fresh by regularly updating both images and messages. The beauty of social media is that you can apply lessons you’ve learnt along the way. Nothing is static, nothing needs to stay the same – gather data, test your ideas, learn what works, and iterate it. Push the boundaries of conventional communication rules so that you stand out. And if something doesn’t work as well as you’d hoped, change it!