Over the past several years, LinkedIn quickly evolved from a cocktail party for recruiters and job seekers to something much more substantial: an epicenter for content -- particularly branded content.
LinkedIn's evolution began in May 2012 with the acquisition of SlideShare, and it continued with the purchase of news reader app Pulse. Later that year, the social network got into the original content game with the launch of the LinkedIn Influencer Program, which features posts from the likes of Richard Branson and Suze Orman. And by February 2014, they opened up their publishing platform to all members.
All of those moves have turned LinkedIn into a place where people come to consume professional content. That's been great news for brands, since it's given them a new audience to reach with their content -- via their Company Pages on LinkedIn.
Let's look at 12 businesses that are capitalizing on the opportunity and rocking it. I think you might be surprised to find that both B2B and B2C companies are working to get the most out of their pages.
12 of the Best LinkedIn Business Pages (And What Makes Them Great)
Coca-Cola's LinkedIn Page regularly highlights content from Coca-Cola Journey, the company's digital magazine that's churned out over 2,000 stories since its launch in November 2012 and seen huge success, especially on social. Though 59% the magazine's audience is in the 18–35 year-old demographic, they see a lot of interaction from the company's 917,000+ followers on LinkedIn.
"LinkedIn is a huge traffic driver for us," explains Co-Managing Editor Jay Moye. "That's obviously a different audience. It's a professional audience. It's professional social network versus more of a social network. We see great clickthrough rates on story links that we publish on LinkedIn. The percentage of clickthroughs is markedly higher than it is on Facebook, and to a degree, Twitter."
"Moye and the Coca-Cola team choose which content to share on LinkedIn with that professional audience in mind.
"You'll see more consumer-focused content go up on our Facebook page," explains Moye, "whereas you'll see more business innovation, jobs, workplace stuff go up on LinkedIn. That's kind of a no-brainer. It's obviously an older, more professional audience on LinkedIn."
As an employment agency, AppleOne could simply push their job openings on LinkedIn and call it a day. Instead, they share awesome advice for job seekers both from their blog and from other outlets like The Muse and PopSugar. Their LinkedIn description also includes information that differentiates them from other, similar companies, while touching on their core mission. For example, they write:
AppleOne Employment Services is unique in that we view the career seeker as a client. Other employment agencies see you as a commodity to be sold, and it shows in the way they treat you. Our services are always free to our associates, and we encourage you to take full advantage of them."
Mission and vision statements are great differentiators to add to your LinkedIn Page's description.
Mashable made LinkedIn's list of the Best LinkedIn Company Pages of 2013 (which was presented, of course, in a SlideShare) and it's easy to see why. Mashable has tons of potential content to share, but on LinkedIn, they primarily dish out business and productivity tips, such as "How to Succeed at Business Without Becoming a Workaholic."
And while they publish a lot of articles on "sillier" topics (like "adorkable" pandas) on their main website, they stick to business-related topics when posting updates on LinkedIn to appeal to the more professional audience that spends time there.
Their social media-focused content generates a lot of engagement, too: A post featuring "If 'House of Cards' Characters Used LinkedIn," for example, hits all the right notes.
For businesses that have multiple entities under one name, LinkedIn Showcase Pages make it easy to segment content to spotlight a specific business brand or product. L'Oréal, for example, owns a lot of different, popular brands like Lancôme, Yves Saint Laurent, and Redken. By creating different Showcase Pages for each one, L'Oréal can engage and share relevant content with each of their specific target audiences.
5) Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts
The purpose of the Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts LinkedIn Page seems to be to make me really regret studying writing in college instead of studying hotel and restaurant management. Yes, Four Seasons, I do wish that I could work at your sexy new wine, cheese, and chocolate bar on the beach.
They also mix in some fun content, like this caption contest:
Overall, the Four Seasons goal on LinkedIn is pretty obvious: Make the hotel chain look both like a company that you'd like to work for, and a place you want to stay.
6) The Nature Conservancy
Like AppleOne, The Nature Conservancy puts their mission statement front-and-center in their LinkedIn Company Page description to let professionals visiting their Page know what they're all about. They also drive engagement by posting compelling rich media and thumbnails in updates that link back to blog posts from their own blog, as well as other blogs whose content resonates with their target audience.
At a LinkedIn conference in 2013, BlackRock's then-Global Director of Social Media Eileen Loustau estimated that LinkedIn was driving $17-18 million dollars of revenue for the financial investment company. That's because of the sophisticated pieces of investment advice that BlackRock shares on their LinkedIn Page, such as "Your Core Portfolio: The Case for ETFs."
“We sometimes call it chapter four,” Loustau said of the investment company's strategy and skipping the basics and focusing on more complex content.
The folks at Evernote publish a lot of great content to their Company Page, but their pinned updates are especially noteworthy here. Whenever Evernote releases a new feature, they post an update and then pin it to the top of their Recent Updates section. That way, anyone visiting their Page can see the news right away, even if they've published other updates since. This move helped them earn a spot on LinkedIn's "Best of Company Pages" in 2014.
IBM topped the LinkedIn rankings with 1.8 million interactions back in 2012, and they haven't slowed down since. They've added nearly a million and a half followers, and over 2.5 million people now subscribe to the company's updates. The technology giant shares a nice mix of stories from around the web and their own content hub.
They also do a great job of cross-promoting IBM's other online assets, like their Tumblr posts and hashtag campaigns that span multiple social platforms. Here's a recent post featuring their #HackAHairDryer campaign, which you'll notice follows brief, compelling copy:
10) Marketplace Home Mortgage
Despite having just 872 followers at the time, Marketplace Home Mortgage made LinkedIn's list of best company pages of 2013. Why? Because the relatively small company does a great job of curating useful and interesting content for home buyers, and curating it with strong hooks -- evidence that small businesses can excel on LinkedIn, too. Now they have over 1,600 followers and follow a lot of great LinkedIn best practices, including pinning a simple, succinct status to the top of their Company Page that lets visitors know they're hiring:
HP rocks LinkedIn with a pretty fascinating and diverse array of content: thought leadership, big data analysis, and even simple, branded graphics. They post a lot of these simple graphics, like this one:
Their posts consistently draw hundreds of interactions from their 2.1+ million followers, and their Career tab is chock-full of videos and testimonials from current employees. This is LinkedIn done right.
If you've got it, why not flaunt it? Hays makes their claim as the #1 recruiting firm in the world right on their LinkedIn banner. They also use that space to promise to delivery helpful, relevant content to their followers -- and they practice what they preach. Their status updates are often links to their own blog posts on great topics like "A Simple Guide to Writing the Perfect Resume/CV," from which they draw a lot of engagement from their followers.
Another thing Hays does well? They acknowledge their followers directly, and even ask what they want to see more of. Here's an example of a recent post, in which they thank their YouTube viewers and ask them what types of videos they'd like to watch next. Bonus: They included a hashtag (#WhatCouldYouBe) with this ask so that folks can share their thoughts either on LinkedIn or another social channel.
Which other companies are rocking LinkedIn? Share with us in the comments.
Editor's Note: This post was originally published in May 2014 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.