Why I’m not a fan of LinkedIn company pages

I find enthusiasm about company pages puzzling. Conventional wisdom has it that you need a personal profile AND a company page on LinkedIn.

Company pages can be pretty. But I am not convinced they are effective. I work with about 90 elder care professionals around the country and I am frequently asked to help with LinkedIn company pages. In my experience, they have very limited utility for our market.

Much lower connection rates

Elder care is radically different from standard retail marketing. In the context of this professional service (e.g., private duty home care, or care managers), I see a tenfold increase in the number of connections on the proprietor’s profile page compared with the number of followers on their business page. (Seriously, profile pages have ten times more, almost across the board.)

Why would this be so?

The question “what’s in it for me?” is always a good place to start when pondering human behavior. Here are my thoughts in that regard:

  • A personal profile connection is a possible source of referrals. People are willing to accept a connection request because it is like a person-to-person connection or introduction. You as the person requesting the connection may be a source of future business. You might read articles or updates that the recipient has posted. You could LIKE, SHARE, or COMMENT. You might check out the invitee’s resume or even endorse skills. It’s possible to receive direct benefit when accepting a connection. Not so when following a business page.
  • Most of a business page’s posts will be advertising of some sort. Note that the option on a company page says “Follow” whereas the button on a profile page says “Connect.” The latter implies a two-way relationship. “Following” is a unidirectional blast from company to follower. Even if your company posts are links to highly educational information, by following your company, a person is simply opening themselves up to more information input that may or may not be spammish. Most people are on information overload as it is. Since your company page is blocked from connecting with them, there’s not much in it for the invitee to share their story and perhaps get a referral. Without any other inducement, followers are slow to welcome more onto their already full plate.
  • Not given as much attention by the owner of the page. To be fair, it could be that the owner of the company page does not give the page as much attention as the personal profile receives. With a less juicy page, fewer people are inspired to follow. Unfortunately, I’ve found that even clients who knock themselves out on their company page still have many, many more connections on their personal profile.

Lower quality connections

From a marketing point of view, the purpose of your LinkedIn presence is to generate leads by becoming more visible/impressive to prospective clients. In that light, who are the people who follow a company page?

  • Employees. Okay. This may be because you asked them to. As nice a sign of loyalty as it is, they are not your target audience for marketing your services.
  • People who want to be employees. Useful if you are hiring.
  • People looking for a deal. This is more applicable to brand names or retail products that reward loyal customers with coupons and flash deals. Not really appropriate for marketing home care or care management services.

Cannot post more than updates

I am not sure why, but LinkedIn allows only updates, not articles, on company pages. Okay. But kind of puny. And updates are chancy. If a follower has only 30 other connections and checks daily, he or she may end up seeing your post in the “river of the newsfeed.” But if your follower has 500+ connections and checks only once a week, the likelihood is pretty low that your post will be one of the 10 to 20 he or she might sample with a quick dip into the river.

Cannot edit an update

Who hasn’t published a post only to realize a typo afterwards? I have no idea why, but LinkedIn does not allow for editing an update once it’s been published. Your choice is to live with the error or delete the post. Really? We do have the technology. Even pencils can erase! I’m not sure what LinkedIn was thinking when they created that limitation.

Advantages of a company page

Again, my expertise is elder care marketing, so there may be advantages for retail or other services that aren’t obvious to me. Where I do see a company page excelling for elder care businesses is in the area of staff recruitment. This holds true for private duty home care, home health and hospice. Not so much for care managers.

Best use of time

If you have tons of time, go for it and create a company page as well as a personal profile. If you are like most of my elder care clients, however, time is limited. In that case I would say,

  • write articles for the personal profile (essentially blog posts of 200-300 words);
  • share those articles on the company page.

That way your (hopefully growing number of) profile connections will see the article, and you will have meaningful content to share on your company page that doesn’t take extra time to research and post.

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