LinkedIn Company Profiles – now we’re talking business

Business networking site LinkedIn gave companies the opportunity to build profiles of their businesses some time ago but they were fairly one dimensional – a simple overview and some pulled through data about who works or worked at a company.

More recently, LinkedIn has added value to company profiles by including a products and services section for each business. What I like about this is not just that you can add your products and services – that’s handy enough but almost to be expected – it’s that how you draw people in to investigating those products and services further can be tailored to match the profile of the person looking at your company profile.

Targeting your market made easy

Many businesses products and services can be of use to a number of sectors and industries but finding ways to make those offerings eye catching enough to warrant further investigation can be tricky. One way to do this is by pointing out the relevance of your product to your potential customers’ particular circumstances.

LinkedIn gives you three shots at this allowing you to build integrated ‘multiple variations’ of the overview that leads people into your product and service details. Within each of those 3 multiple variations, you also have the opportunity to direct your potential customers to one of 3 specific URLs and add a relevant image for each to boot.

The service overview your potential customer sees will depend upon:

  • Which industry they are in
  • What job function they perform
  • What their level of seniority is
  • How big their company is, in terms of staff numbers
  • Where they are based, geographically

How can this work for you?

Say, for instance, your company’s widgets are suitable for use in many, many machines. There’s a lot of machines out there that could be in need of your widget. How would a manufacturer in the food and drink sector know that your widgets are as suitable for them as they are for machinery used in the agriculture industry?

Having listed your various widgets within your products and services, you now want to target these two sectors and make each of them understand just how well your product fits their business. By writing a targeted overview, you can explain to the food & drink sector why your product is the best choice for them. Perhaps you could use one of the three URL/image combos to show your widget in place in a machine at a drinks manufacturer. And another one to show your company fitting the widget. Each of these can then link to a relevant page on your company website: ‘Why our widgets are the best for making fizzy pop’ and ‘How to fit our widget in under 5 minutes’.

Write another targeted overview for agriculture, show and tell them what they need to know, in their language, and bingo! Two seemingly disparate sectors can easily see why your product is specifically relevant to them.

Personalised, relevant and real

Your delighted customers can also post their reviews of your products and services, adding to the depth of information about them through real life examples. Customers like to see how other customers in similar situations feel about you – I know I do! (This whole aspect deserves a post of its own, though so keep an eye out for this sometime soon.)

Personalisation and relevance are two of the hottest topics in marketing these days, alongside the power of peer to peer sharing. LinkedIn’s initial foray into these three areas shows good sense, good timing and good understanding. And it’s still in beta, so we can expect it to evolve over time.

And that’s not all

Oh, and one more thing – on LinkedIn’s blog post promoting this new dimension to its service, the image they use to show you what’s what clearly shows another tab: Analytics – when that gets released, you’ll have an even better idea of how well you’re targeting your customers. <– Update 30/11/10: Looks like the Analytics option is now live 🙂

And the application of knowledge is power, people!

– Lyndsey

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