After reading Viveka von Rosen's excellent book, LinkedIn Marketing: An Hour a Day, and discussing how to make LinkedIn work better for you on my podcast with her, I decided to spruce up my LinkedIn Company Page.
I have a ways to go, but focusing on the Home tab which included making and uploading a banner image was a good start. The other major feature to update and optimize for me was the Company Description (see example below).
Here I share with you the updated information on such things as image sizes, character limits and thoughts gleaned from Viveka on how to best optimize these sections to showcase your business in the best possible light.
Look at it this way: LinkedIn has given marketers and business owners the ability to create an informative, helpful and engaging company presence. Why would we not want to take advantage of these features and assets to help our business stand out and generate potential interest in our products, services, and so much more?
This guide covers most of the editable fields and features of the "Home" section of your Company Page:
- Company Page Banner Image
- Company Description
- Standard Logo and Square Logo
- Company Specialties
Let's get started!
Company Page Main Banner Image
The main company page image or banner will sit at the top of the company page, just below your logo and before your Recent Updates or Company Description. Prepare image to these specs:
- Max size is 2MB (Formats accepted: PNG, JPG, GIF)
- Image must be 646 X 220 pixels or larger
- Image may be cropped once it’s uploaded
What to include on your company page image:
- Key message/value proposition to potential customers/followers
- Could feature a new product or service (like HubSpot is currently doing with Social Inbox – see below)
- Banner is NOT a clickable CTA – it’s for messaging and branding purposes only
- Make it visually appealing and attractive to potential followers
- Include elements consistent with your brand guidelines – color scheme, imagery, typography, etc. (Do not include your logo in the banner image - you will be able to include your company's standard logo just above the banner image - logo instructions below)
Banner Image Example: HubSpot
Note: You can drive potential followers to your company page by selecting and using your company page URL in marketing promotions such as e-newsletters, blog articles, other social media updates, and off line/print communications and events.
Your company description is accessed via the company page, “Home” link and will be positioned just below your updates. Prepare your company description with these factors in mind:
- The company description window requires a minimum of 200 and maximum of 1,500 characters. (I suggest using the maximum!)
- Use plenty of whitespace, bullets, CAP some key terms, etc. to make your key messages standout. (I recommend you prepare your company description in a Word document with desired formatting and then paste it into the LinkedIn window.)
- Sprinkle keywords throughout your description and write it for the user and what’s in it for them.
- Consider speaking directly to your LinkedIn audience. Something like: “We are glad you found our LinkedIn company profile. Check out our Services…” (Viveka von Rosen, LinkedIn Marketing: An Hour a Day).
Here's how my Company Description reads:
About B2B Inbound
Welcome to the B2B Inbound, LinkedIn Company Page!
Follow this page for industry updates, company news and up to date information on our products and services. Plus, we occasionally run promotions exclusive to our LinkedIn community of followers, and will announce those right here! CLICK THE FOLLOW BUTTON ABOVE TO FOLLOW B2B INBOUND!
At B2B Inbound, we are primarily focused on providing professional CONTENT CREATION SERVICES for clients’ websites, blogs, landing pages and any other digital or inbound marketing initiative. Our content marketing and creation services include:
• Blog article writing
• Web copy and editing
• E-books, white papers, etc.
• Landing page copy and content
• Customer case studies
• Online news releases
We also provide CONTENT STRATEGY and INBOUND MARKETING planning, services and campaigns such as:
• Blog launch or re-launch
• Podcast strategy, hosting and production
• Overall content strategy with an online editorial calendar
• Sales lead management (lead nurturing) campaign planning and execution
• Social media planning, coaching and training with LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+
B2B Inbound is a CERTIFIED HUBSPOT PARTNER. We help companies get up and running with the HubSpot's integrated marketing tools and assist or fully manage clients’ HubSpot portal along with executing campaigns and reporting results.
Contact Greg Elwell with any questions or needs you may have for our services at firstname.lastname@example.org or (707) 745-3503
inbound marketing, HubSpot partner, Internet marketing, search marketing, content marketing, social media marketing, blog article writing, web copywriting and editing, email marketing, lead nurturing, podcast production and hosting, customer storytelling
It's a start. What do you think?
Standard Logo and Square Logo
The standard logo is the one used in the upper left section of your company profile page. The square logo will be used in the network updates. Sizes are as follows:
- Standard Logo: 2MB max., 100 X 60 pixels max, PNG, JPG or GIF
- Square Logo: 2MB max., 50 X 50 pixels max, PNG, JPG or GIF
I recommend using the maximum size allowable!
When you’re editing your company information and description, you may as well update and add to the specialties feature. You get a maximum of 256 characters to list all your specialties. Use descriptive, keyword-rich terms your potential followers and customers would recognize and be interested in. These will show up at the bottom of your company description content.
For more on LinkedIn marketing...
Check out the show notes and podcast I did with Viveka von Rosen on LinkedIn Marketing Essentials! (Includes tons of show notes and other LinkedIn resources!)
Question: Have you optimized your LinkedIn Company Page? And what are you doing to promote it?
A couple of years ago, I published a post on the 4 Must-Haves for a Professional LinkedIn Profile. It's become one of my most popular posts of all time. I also included a link to download a handout that could be downloaded and used as a guide.
Well, times have changed and so has LinkedIn, and it's time for a new guide.
LinkedIn hasn't been standing still, that's for sure:
If you had one of the top viewed profiles it's likely you've received an email from LinkedIn thanking you and letting you know where you stood. Several of my connections posted their profile was in the top 1%, 2% or 5% viewed on LinkedIn for the year. I waited for my thank you, and waited.
Then, on Feb. 12, I got my email: "Greg, congratulations! You have one of the top 10% most viewed LinkedIn profiles for 2012!" I really have no idea why I'm in the top 10%. I can guess those in the top 1% to 5% are there because of how visible they are outside of LinkedIn. They have spent years building a blog, brand and/or business, have a strong following and tribe members who love what they do and seek them out on networks like LinkedIn.
To help you take advantage of the new LinkedIn profile design and all its features, I've put together another LinkedIn guide. This one, however, is much more complete and really goes into the details you need to know about and actions you need to take to optimize and polish your profile. It will help you tell your story, stand out and show you how to use the new LinkedIn features to your advantage.
I made this guide for myself first (my profile is still a work in progress). I've shared it with many of my clients. And I want to share it with you too. It's free. I only ask you to register for it as I will send out any helpful updates in the event LinkedIn makes improvements - as we know they will!
I'm pretty confident that if you follow this new guide and use it to build out your LinkedIn profile, your profile will rank within the top 5% of the 200+ members listed on LinkedIn. If you did that, I'd be shocked if you don't get the email thanking you next year for being a unique part in the LinkedIn community!
Go to the registration page to get your copy of the NEW and FREE guide for optimizing your professional profile in the new LinkedIn design.
Before diving into tactics, it's helpful to recognize B2B inbound marketing success is not about any one tactic or event. It's a process involving a series of tactical activities and campaigns that when integrated together, over time deliver top business value.
There is no silver bullet. No magic marketing pill that will deliver higher and higher levels of traffic, leads and sales. It takes a serious, intelligent and sustained effort involving a potentially wide range of tactics.
For example, The HubSpot inbound marketing methodolgy of combining SEO with blogging (content marketing) and social media has exponential impacts.¹ Whereas, if you just did any one of the 3 without integrating the others your results would not be as significant.
So, with that backdrop here are my top B2B inbound marketing tactics that DO lead to more traffic, leads and sales for the B2B inbound marketer.
Weekly Blog Posts
Much has been discovered and reported about the correlation of blogging with traffic and lead generation. For example, HubSpot data shows that companies that blog get...
- 55% more Web site visitors,
- 97% more inbound links and
- 434% more indexed pages.
The data also shows median monthly leads by range of Google Indexed pages increases dramatically, upwards of 236% from 176-310 to 311+. A key contributor to growing your indexed pages of course is the blog.
Additionally, new insights from HubSpot's The 2011 State of Inbound Marketing² report found...
- 57% of companies who blog have acquired a customer from a blog-generated lead,
- 72% who blog weekly have acquired new customers and
- 76% have acquired customers while blogging 2-3 times a week.
(Above graph from HubSpot's report: The 2011 State of Inbound Marketing)
From a tactical standpoint, blogging is probably the single most important thing a B2B company can do to grow their business online. But when integrated with some other tactics and channels it can be even more powerful.
Active LinkedIn Channel
The aforementioned report also pointed out an interesting and, what I believe, is a growing trend: LinkedIn is the most effective channel for B2B customer acquisition. In fact, with 61% of companies acquiring a customer through LinkedIn it is even more productive than other social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter:
(Above graph from HubSpot's The 2011 State of Inbound Marketing)
Having a robust professional and company profile on LinkedIn as I wrote about on 4 Must-Haves for a Professional LinkedIn Profile should be the first step towards maximizing your LinkedIn channel. Then, you can also link your Twitter account to LinkedIn. HubSpot users can also auto-publish notices (via the social media tool) of their blog posts to LinkedIn which will include a linkback to your blog. Of course you can also take part in groups or start up your own, post and answer questions and any number of other networking activities.
Knowing how to use LinkedIn will pay big dividends for B2B professionals and companies. It's not rocket science and you don't have to live on LinkedIn 24/7. Last month I received an email from a prospect asking about my services. He found me on LinkedIn, saw my profile was a potential match for a business opportunity, we talked and we're now doing business. LinkedIn works, but you have to invest some thought and time to make it work for you.
Well-Defined Buyer Personas
I'm going off the reservation a bit with this one, and should have listed it first. You won't find buyer persona development or marketing to your ideal buyer segments in the reporting. Still, it's a critical, strategic tactic that drives and sets up everything you do.
It goes beyond marketing segmentation which mostly has to do with selling to your market by effectively leveraging demographic and psychographic information. Persona marketing strikes to the heart of the matter as to what someone comes to your Web site to do - how they want to use it - taking into consideration their primary goals, behaviors and attitudes.
Lately, I've been writing about buyer persona marketing and development under these headings or posts:
I'm also in the process of writing an eBook on the subject so please stay tuned. I regard it as fundamentally important, a tactical exercise that leads to everything we do and the decisions we make. As Steve Mulder points out in his book and slideshare presentation, The User is Always Right³, personas lead to better all-around decisions in the areas of strategy, marketing and design.
(Above slide from Steve Mulder's The User is Always Right presentation taken from Slideshare)
After all, isn't that what B2B inbound marketing tactics is all about - making better decisions? Better knowledge of your personas are the impetus and glue to attract, inform and engage with them. It should drive everything you do.
- ¹ HubSpot webinar and presentation slides: Inbound Marketing: SEO + Blogs + ¹Social Media by Mike Volpe.
- ² HubSpot report, The 2011 State of Inbound Marketing, published February 2011 and based on a January 2011 survey of 644 professionals.
- ³ Steve Mulder's book (affiliate link) and webinar presentation, The User is Always Right - A Practical Guide to Creating and Using Personas for the Web.
What B2B inbound marketing tactics and resources have you found helpful to drive business results upward?
LinkedIn, the social network for business professionals was established in 2003. It currently has over 85 million members in 200 countries and is available in 6 languages: English, Spanish, German, French, Italian and Portuguese.
As I wrote in The Two Social Media Tools I Use and Why, I view LinkedIn as a business social network. It's a valuable tool B2B business professionals and companies can use as it is "all Business all of the time." To say, "it's a valuable tool," should be qualified to mean if it's used strategically and effectively.
Professional Networking on LinkedIn
It can be a great tool for professional networking on a business level: posting "what's on your mind" status updates, showcasing your expertise, keeping up with former colleagues, engaging in meaningful group discussions and much more. And yes, it also integrates with Twitter and other business-oriented apps to help keep you and your network connected with what's got your attention.
LinkedIn Company Profiles
It's also for companies. Businesses can build greater awareness of their products and services, as well their career openings by building and maintaining a robust, LinkedIn Company Profile. Here's the Netflix company on LinkedIn. Having your company profile on LinkedIn has the potential to increase visibility, trust and credibility with your brand. It's also a great tool for people outside your company to follow, get to know you/your team and what you've got going on.
Think of it this way, with Twitter you can follow people, with LinkedIn you can follow companies - through the people who work there and are posting updates. (Search and follow a company, click on the Employees tab, scroll down and you'll see the "Company ABC Activity on LinkedIn" section.)
A Complete and Optimized Profile?
The challenge it seems, in talking with colleagues and observing members' profiles is that many don't understand the importance of creating a complete and optimized profile. Or, they don't know how to go about it. In my mind, networking, participation, giving and receiving value hinges on a strong profile. If it's not up to date, complete and optimized it's not going to bring measurable value to the LinkedIn member. It may even turn potential net workers away. It's the value of a strong, first impression.
So everything begins with creating (and maintaining) a professional LinkedIn profile. Here are 4, easy-to-do, yet often overlooked steps for creating a professional, optimized and powerful LinkedIn profile:
1. Create a descriptive professional headline that highlights your specific area(s) of expertise
Your professional headline is what appears directly below your name in the "Profile" view. It also shows up for instance when someone clicks on your name in a Group discussion. It's important people viewing your profile or clicking your name understand what your specialty is, not your title.
Too many professionals put their title here instead of what they're known for doing really well. They then repeat the same title or information in the "Current" (position) section just below. This area of your profile called, "Professional Headline" is important real estate. Use it wisely.
The above is an example of a profile that could potentially be improved with a stronger headline that isn't then repeated in the "Current" position section. You may also note Shannon is not currently showing a profile photo. (I'll talk about considerations of using a photo in the next step.)
Think of this as your professional positioning statement. This is how you want to be known by the business community on LinkedIn. If you are a recognized expert on a particular topic declare it here. If, on the other hand you're not a recognized expert or specialist don't say that you are. Instead, state what your experience is, what your specialty or specific area of focus is and to which industry or market segment you serve.
LinkedIn offers the following examples:
- Experienced Transportation Executive
- Web Designer and Information Architect
- Visionary Entrepreneur and Investor
You might think about updating your professional headline as you acquire new specialties and become accomplished in a particular topic or discipline.
One of my connections, Mark Amtower recently changed his headline to: "B2G consultant, author, speaker, LinkedIn Blackbelt." I can attest to Mark's expertise as a LinkedIn Blackbelt. I took one of his webinars on LinkedIn and many of the tips I'm sharing here I learned from him.
Here's one that says it all in a nice succinct and clear way. Any doubt as to what Helena Bouchez's specialty is and to which market she serves?
2. Include a profile photo that's professional and aspirational
Next, make sure you have a quality photo. You might consider a professional photographer experienced at knowing how to draw out and capture your professional essence. (I learned that tip from Helena above.)
Here's one I think conveys what I'm talking about. It's the LinkedIn profile photo of Joyce Dobervich. I met Joyce (one of my wife's colleagues) at a recent company function (Stratford Fidelity Holiday Party) and we've since connected on LI. To me, her photo carries energy, thoughtfulness, professional looking but with a bit of intrigue mixed in. Kind of makes you want to have a conversation and get to know her. What do you think?
Like it or not, people will form opinions about you by your profile image. Leaving this blank, having a poor quality photo (no cell phone cameras please), or worse yet a shot of your favorite pet could be very detrimental to your "professional brand."
You may also want to consider using the same photo across the various social media platforms you're involved with. It will help create a consistent look or "brand" and fosters better recognition.
3. Optimize your Website links with your domain name keywords
When setting up your Website links, choose the "Other" classification instead of "Personal Website," "Company Website," etc., choices. Then type in the actual domain name of your sites in the middle box followed by the full URL of your sites in the adjacent field, like so:
This will serve to make your profile better optimized for the search engines and make you more visible for your domain name and brand. Try doing a search on Google for your Website or domain name and see if a LinkedIn listing is shown.
Here's my example (shows on the first page of Google for search term, "b2b inbound":
Keep in mind, your profile on LinkedIn is an online digital marketing asset crawled and indexed by the search engines. Assets like this online can be optimized to make you more visible. Why not take advantage of that?
4. Get a custom public profile URL with your name in it
Having a short, public profile URL that includes your name is another sign your profile is professional and optimized. The best practice is to select your first and last name for your custom URL. Like this:
Here's an example of the standard or default public profile URL:
Again, think of this in terms of not only a shortened, easy-to-remember URL, but think about search, your brand and being more visible when someone Google's your name.
I've seen some make this the name of their business or include a combination of their personal name with a business name. But, I recommend having this be optimized for the name others know best and would most likely use in search engines. Plus, what happens if you use a company or brand name and you leave that organization? You'll have to start over and request a new, updated and custom public profile URL.
Time to Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile?
If you're not sure how to make these changes you may want to register to download my free guide: 5 Steps to Creating a Professional LinkedIn Profile (PDF). In this guide I've also included how to add and configure your Twitter account(s) with LinkedIn.