LinkedIn has released a new version of its company profiles called “Company Pages,” which provides a place for businesses to “showcase their products, services and associated recommendations,” according to LinkedIn.
Heretofore, LinkedIn company profiles served only a research purpose that helped users find companies to work for and engage in business. With the introduction of a new tab called “Products & Services” the once sedate profile takes on an entirely new social commerce role.
How It Works
Company representatives add products and services via an easy-to-use, self-service interface in order to showcase what their company does. Links to product pages on the company website can be added as well.
Customers write recommendations of these products and services, and that activity is reported to the newsfeed on their profiles. Companies can encourage current customers to visit the pages to recommend products and services.
When a customer comments favorably, the business therefore receives a trusted, credible third-party recommendation. When those recommendations are shared, the viral effect kicks in to enhance the effect even further.
“Company Pages take product and service recommendations to another level, allowing professionals to benefit from the considered perspectives of those whom they trust and relate to the most – the people they know,” said Jeff Weiner, chief executive officer of LinkedIn. “By displaying their strongest recommendations to prospective customers and employees on LinkedIn, businesses can use Company Pages to accelerate growth and trust in their brands.”
One of the first companies to take advantage of the new Company Pages feature is Dell, which does much its business via ecommerce. Dell’s LinkedIn page has already received numerous product recommendations from consumers, including the Dell Streak tablet PC, PowerEdge servers and Vostro desktop computers.
“While our other social commerce ventures tend to cater more to consumers and small-business customers, this new platform provides an avenue to directly reach and engage with all our customers from individuals to large enterprises,” said Dell spokesperson Paul-Henri Ferrand in a recent guest, “Introducing Dell’s improved LinkedIn Company Page, an evolution in social commerce,” on the LinkedIn blog.
Lake Champlain Chocolates
Online retailer Lake Champlain Chocolates is one of the first smaller ecommerce merchants to take advantage of LinkedIn Company Pages.
“We created a LinkedIn company profile a few weeks ago and only last week did we add the Products tab,” said Meghan Fitzpatrick, marketing specialist for Lake Champlain Chocolates. “Our company had established a goal to increase corporate sales and a number of our staff began leveraging LinkedIn as a way to build top of mind awareness. The new Company Page serves that purpose as well.”
Fitzpatrick said that the company was only including its most popular products. To date, it has yet to receive any recommendations. “We are trying to figure out how to promote the compare page more,” said Fitzpatrick. “It will be interesting to see if anyone mentions it.”
The main benefit to both Dell and Lake Champlain Chocolates is the viral, word-of-mouth marketing potential the new tab provides. Laura Thomas, senior marketing communications consultant for Dell, says there are clear advantages to having people talk about its products, “Nowadays, when people make purchase decisions, they look to their peers. LinkedIn provides a built-in network where like-minded professionals can share recommendations and gain insights into products and services.”
The term “recommendations” suggests that all the commentary submitted by customers will take a positive tone. “The name is part of LinkedIn’s lexicon. Dell is not opposed to negative, critical commentary. We want to hear the good and the bad from customers,” stated Thomas.
Setting Up Your Company Page ‘Products & Services’ Tab
Find your company’s page by going to the LinkedIn Companies page and search for your company’s name.
Click on the “Products & Services” tab and click the “Add a product or service” button.
Complete the form inserting all relevant data, including product information, images and video, if available. Special offers can be highlighted via a showcase feature.
Video Tutorial: Setting Up a ‘Company Page’ on LinkedIn
Most smaller ecommerce merchants have yet to take advantage of the Products feature because it is so new. But it has clear benefits, and it will likely receive widespread interest by LinkedIn users. Now is the time for online retailers to get ahead of the competition by setting up a Company Page.