LinkedIn: Forget company pages

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LinkedIn is one of the fastest growing social platforms, especially in the B2B sector. However, the formula with which companies can be successful on the platform differs significantly from that of Facebook or Xing.

LinkedIn professional Ritchie Pettauer explains what companies need to consider in their LinkedIn presence, why corporate influencers are needed and why company pages do not work particularly well on the platform.

B2Impact: The LinkedIn's rapid rise in importance compared to other social platforms like Facebook is quite astonishing. What actually makes this platform so charming, especially in the B2B sector?

Pettauer: LinkedIn has become, as they say in our scene jargon, quite sticky, especially for the business sector. This means that people access LinkedIn very often, very actively and for a comparatively long time, and the content there is thus consumed intensively and in a concentrated manner. LinkedIn is one of the platforms that makes it easy to reach exactly the right people, as long as you also distribute the right content - which is why the platform is also so well suited for very niche content.

The targeting possibilities inherent in LinkedIn's algorithm are truly remarkable. But for it to work, you also have to be very clear: LinkedIn is not an outlet for distributing your own press releases. Post and forget will not work. Whether you become visible with your own posting has a lot to do, especially on LinkedIn, with whether there is interaction, whether people comment - and that, of course, has to do with whether you are able to tell small or big stories. That's why you should stay tuned even after posting and encourage discussions by commenting yourself.

One of the important factors in the LinkedIn algorithm is the number of comments under a post within the first hour of its appearance - and this includes your own comments.

B2Impact: On Facebook, companies complain that the organic reach of their company pages is getting smaller and smaller and that they have to keep throwing money at it in order to still appear in the newsfeed. What is it actually like on LinkedIn?

Pettauer: It's a different concept. Yes, with Facebook you can increase the reach and also the interaction rate with a little money and thus create something that looks good on paper and seemingly justifies the existence of your company page. With LinkedIn, one has to say: forget about company pages as a tool to generate reach. Sure, for many companies, LinkedIn pages are part of the digital infrastructure, so to speak. But in fact, compared to personal accounts, these pages have on average only a tenth of the reach.

LinkedIn places great value on personal accounts and that people post and are active there and not companies - even though it is a B2B platform. That's why there are fewer features for company pages than for personal accounts. Articles, for example, can only be published in personal profiles, but not on company pages. This may seem like a contradiction, but it is actually quite conclusive. B2B is also H2H.

B2Impact: However, one or two companies, especially those that are very hierarchically organised, are less likely to like this.

Pettauer: Of course, this is a challenge for companies and for some who only think in terms of products, it is particularly difficult. With Facebook, you can hire agencies to look after and push your own company page. With LinkedIn, that won't work anyway. So with the increasing popularity and relevance of LinkedIn, companies must also adapt their corporate culture to a certain extent, for example by starting corporate influencer programmes, encouraging people to post without it seeming as if they were just claqueurs for their own company. On LinkedIn, it can sometimes be personal, but not in private.

B2Impact: At Content marketing there is the nice principle of "never build on rented land", i.e. to publish content not only primarily on other platforms, but already on one's own website. How is that supposed to work on LinkedIn, when there is also an algorithmic demand for in-depth content?

Pettauer: I agree that a company's own website should be the centre of the digital solar system. The trick is rather to create B2B Social Media networks to prepare the same content differently - the text on their own website, the video on a network or vice versa. LinkedIn takes great care to keep users on its own platform, as can be seen from the rather poorly developed options for sharing content elsewhere. And you can see that postings with a link to another website rank much worse than those without a link.

B2Impact: There is a lot of good advice about when it is best to be active on certain platforms in order to achieve something. When is the best time to post on LinkedIn?

Pettauer: Of course, it is a business platform. Even though user activity has increased somewhat on weekends recently, the platform is still most frequented during traditional office hours, so you should also post there. And very important: never post at intervals shorter than about two hours, because this will cannibalise the reach of your own posts.

B2Impact: Thank you for the interview!

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