LinkedIn is not Facebook. Or Twitter. Or Pinterest. Or any of the multitude of social media platforms that help connect your company with various audiences, for that matter. It's the largest professional networking platform, and that's one of the most important facts to keep in mind when figuring out how to get the most out of it.
"HR has pretty much owned the relationship with and the responsibility for maintaining LinkedIn content, LinkedIn pages, LinkedIn ads, all things to do with LinkedIn," said Altimeter Group analyst Rebecca Lieb.
More recently, however, it's become a more robust publishing platform, and as is the case with anything that has to do with content, it requires its own strategies and goals. Here are a few best practices to help maintain a successful LinkedIn company page.
1. Know your audience, know what you want
LinkedIn has many more uses than making your company look like a desirable place to work. It can also be an opportunity to present your company as a thought leader in its field, as repository of intellectual and human capital in terms of generating forward-thinking content about the organization and the industry.
"It's not just companies now who are who are trying to recruit, it's companies that are looking for prospects for clients, for partners for their services. Nobody does business in a vacuum," Lieb said.
As an inbound marketing and sales platform, Hubspot falls into that category. Hubspot's Vice President of Marketing Kipp Bodnar sees LinkedIn as a no-brainer for a B2B. LinkedIn can help in connecting to that more specific, professional audience.
"The traffic we get back to our website from LinkedIn converts into customers at a higher rate for us than the traffic we get from Twitter and Facebook," he said.
2. Be educational, helpful
In a similar way, IT Media Group has two audiences to keep in mind, IT and technology vendors, and the CIO community. According to Nasheen Liu, that means IT Media Group is thinking about what key topics will be most important to those communities. They produce content internally, as well as curate content from other sources. Liu also said they consider the variety of content they post, like videos or infographics.
"It's helping to direct attention and awareness to you, your products, your services, and your executives my being helpful, educational, informative elsewhere on the platform," Lieb said.
For Hubspot, Bodnar said the question is this: "How can I create and find content that is going to make my target audience better at their jobs, or help them do their jobs easier, and in turn, make them more likely to share that content, and ultimately drive more people back to our page and be part of the Hubspot community?" This way of thinking helps the company be seen as more of a trusted advisor, than just a vendor with something to sell, Liu said.
3. Set expectations, be consistent
Don't feel pressured to crank out LinkedIn updates constantly. The key is to set expectations and then be consistent.
"If you do four things a day for a week and then drop off the face of the earth and post when you feel like it, that is massively missing expectations with your audience," Bodnar said.
One way to be successful in this regard is to create a content strategy and publishing schedule so that you have an idea of what you're going to be publishing and when. The thoughtfulness behind putting together a strategy ensures that you'll be systematic and consistent on LinkedIn.
4. Don't be too self-promoting
Don't think of this as advertising, Lieb said. The point on LinkedIn is not to just push a product.
"Think about why people use LinkedIn," Bodnar said. "They're not just using LinkedIn to find out about your business. They're using it to give value to themselves, and you need to aid that process."
5. Market internally, and externally
"I really believe marketers don't pay enough attention to marketing internally first. Your most successful channel is your employees and your organization," Liu said.
When you've got content posted, she advises making folks within the company aware, so that if it is something that speaks to them, they can share it with their networks.
"You have to turn people who work with you into believers so that they can get the message out for you," she said.
Erin Carson has nothing to disclose. She doesn't hold investments in the technology companies she covers.
Erin Carson is a Staff Reporter for CNET and a former Multimedia Editor for TechRepublic.