Crash Course: LinkedIn Showcase Pages 101
Do you still miss the Products & Services tab? You're not alone. LinkedIn introduced Showcase Pages as a replacement several months ago, but it seems marketers haven't taken advantage of this feature yet. Luckily for us, Viveka von Rosen, the founder of Linked Into Business, recently hosted an entire webinar devoted to the subject - The Anatomy of a Showcase Page. Before we jump into Viveka's advice on mastering Showcase Pages, just a quick reminder that 93% of marketers rate LinkedIn as effective for generating leads, while 91% use it to distribute content.
Part 1: What's a Showcase Page, and How Do I Create One?
A Showcase Page is a subpage, or basically a "niche" page for a specific division, service, product or even personality in your business. This enables you to cater to unique audiences who are only interested in a particular aspect of your business. However, unlike Products & Services, you shouldn't create one for every product or feature you have - only for particular ones that make your business stand out and you'd like to feature. Keep in mind that any LinkedIn user can follow a Showcase Pages without following the Company Page it belongs to.
First things first: You can't create a Showcase Page for your business unless you already have a Company Page. Regardless of whether you're a small business or a large enterprise, it's crucial to have a corporate presence on LinkedIn. Once you've created your Page, click the "Edit" menu in the top-right corner and select "Create a Showcase Page" at the bottom of the list. You'll be able to input a Page name (more on that in Part 2) that creates a URL, and define administrators.
Here are a few examples of what to feature on Showcase Pages:
- Company Divisions
- Geographic Branches
- Flagship Products/Features/Services
- Senior Executives or Personalities
- Annual Events
Whichever you choose, remember that this type of Page should not be created for a one-time event or just any executive in your company. If you're creating a Page for an individual, it should be someone who really speaks for and represents your company, and whose thoughts and opinions your audience will want to hear. If you're large corporate brand, consider creating them for key subsidiaries, verticals, or department. This is a great feature that can help establish your authority on LinkedIn, and once it gains traction can also be used as a lead generation tool.
Part 2: Showcase Page Limitations You Need to Know
Before you rush to create your first Showcase Pages, keep these important guidelines in mind:
- LinkedIn only enables you to create 10 Free Showcase Pages. This might change eventually, or the network may introduce a paid option to add more, but this is the limit for now.
- Speaking of limitations, right now you can only create 2 new Showcase Pages per day.
- Currently, you can't manually delete a Showcase Pages. You have to reach out to LinkedIn's Help Center and request that it be removed - which may take some time.
- Once you name your Showcase Page, you cannot change the URL. That means that you'll be stuck with the URL based on the initial name you type in- so be careful!
- Showcase Page URLs are unique. If someone else has already taken it, LinkedIn will let you know and ask you to modify it.
- Although you can't change the URL, you can change your Page's name via the Edit button.
Basically, start creating your Showcase Pages as soon as possible to get the best URLs - but be smart about it and give it some thought first. Given the 10 page limitation, it's a good idea to get strategic. Think about your verticals, brand, products, and services - and most of all, your different target audiences. If you business plans on using the full 10 Pages, start out by mapping 3 first, and eventually add a few more. Don't use all of them up at once, you never know when you'll have a new service you want to highlight, so leave a few blank ones just in case.
Part 3: Quick Tips for Managing Showcase Pages
As of now, LinkedIn doesn't provide much leg room to feature your company's description and branding in Showcase Pages. With the little space you do have, incorporate these recommendations:
- Keep in mind that the Hero Image is 974×330 pixels (definitely an odd choice).
- Don't invest your time in creating a graphic that doesn't include a call-to-action such as a phone number, website address or even incorporate text that says "Follow Us."
- Create a customized Showcase Page thumbnail rather than using the one you from your Company Page. Take into account that this square logo, along with the name of the Page, will appear in the lower left-hand corner of the Hero Image - it will block anything there.
Here's a perfect example of a Hero Image for a Showcase Page, courtesy of Viveka von Rosen:
The Showcase Page company description is only 200 characters. Since it's so incredibly short, use it to focus on highlighting company's unique selling proposition.
If you're managing several Showcase Pages for yourself, or if you're a social media manager working with multiple clients, create a bookmarks folder in your browser to keep track of the different Showcase Pages you've created.
Part 4: Guidelines to Follow for Posting
As opposed to Products & Services, which functioned more as a promotional brochure, Showcase Pages are all about distributing content. This is where Jay Baer's Youtility philosophy comes into play. Before you start selling to your customers - help them first. Whether you're linking to original content or curated content, make sure it provides value. The content you share should in no means be general; after all, Showcase Pages cater to very specific niche audiences and buyer personas. Here are a few tips on determining what kind of content to share with your target audiences:
- Before you do anything, create an editorial calendar. Plan out what kind of content you want to share - ensuring a mix or original and curated - and how often you want to share it.
- Know your audience. Research the demographics (male/female, economic bracket, level of education, interests). This will help determine the content you share with them.
- On a related note, if your Showcase Page has over 100 followers, LinkedIn lets you target your status updates by company size, industry, function, geography, and even language!
- For content curation, share only the most relevant articles by using a data-driven recommendation engine that learns from the results of the past articles you've shared.
- Create unique content for your Company Page and Showcase Page. This is particularly vital since posting the same thing will result in duplicate posts for those who follow both Pages.
- Make it a habit to incorporate industry keywords into your updates on a frequent basis.
- No one knows if the Recommendations that were part of Products & Services will ever return (RIP), but why not integrate customer testimonials into your updates? Just remember not to post promotional updates too often, and to get approval from your client first.
- If you have a particularly engaging or great post, pin it to the top of your Showcase Page.
Part 5: It's All About Promotion
As with anything else in marketing, your Showcase Page won't get anywhere unless you effectively promote it across multiple channels. These include not only social networks (Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter), but also your website and in e-mails. There are a number of different tactics that you can start employing to get the word out there about your new Showcase Pages, including:
- This one is obvious, but you can use your LinkedIn Company Page description - where the limit is 2,000 characters - to guide people to your Showcase Pages. At the end of your description, tell the reader to check out your Showcase Pages and mention that you offer free resources there such as links to great blogs, ebooks, white papers, etc.
- Add a link to your Showcase Pages in your e-mails. This can be as easy as adding it to your e-mail signature or even mentioning it in your next newsletter.
- Mention them during your webinars and add them to the first slide of your presentation.
- Create a social campaign on Facebook and Twitter to drive followers to Showcase Pages. With LinkedIn, you can reach out to relevant individuals using InMail or promote them on your Company Page, but not in Discussion Groups, which are not for promotional posts.
- The LinkedIn Plug-In doesn't exist for Showcase Pages yet, but you can still use it to drive traffic to your Company Page in the hopes that people will join from there.
Despite being around since late 2013, Showcase Pages have been slow to gain traction, although this will most likely change in the near future. Even though it may seem like this feature is more suitable for enterprises, it can be beneficial for businesses of any size.
Before you create your first one, take a look at some examples: if you're an SMB, check out Linked Into Business's Showcase Pages, or if you're an enterprise organization, then take a look at what Microsoft has created. It may be easier first for larger organizations with name recognition to attract followers and post targeted updates, but if prospects see that you're providing valuable content, and your promote your Showcase Pages in a consistent and successful manner, they can serve to boost brand awareness and establish thought leadership, regardless of size.
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