So many people ask me if they should have a LinkedIn company page – and those that do complain that they find it difficult to build followers on their company profile.  That’s because most people search for YOU, not your company.

Even if they do search for your company, the list that is presented includes all the people who are identified as working for the company.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a LinkedIn company page, but it does mean that it may not be the focus for most of the connections you make.

Personal means PERSONAL

Quite apart from the fact that the LinkedIn terms and conditions state that you must use your real name and your photo should be a recognisable likeness of yourself, complying with them makes good sense.

Think of it as the equivalent of meeting someone at a networking event.  You don’t introduce yourself “Hello, I’m Bigshot Images Ltd., what company are you?”  You introduce yourself – and others by name.

If your name is Christopher or Robert or Samantha and you’re known by Chris, Rob or Sam – how would you prefer people to address you?  Whatever that is, use that name.  The other side of that coin is that, if someone has put Christopher as their name, always start your messages with that name, until they tell you otherwise.  As someone whose shortened name (Les) I hate, it’s the fastest way to turn me off someone if they call me by that!

Similarly, you don’t introduce yourself as “Jane Bloggs, FRSA, CIPD”.  Don’t put your qualifications in your name – there is a place for that elsewhere in your profile.

When you’re out networking in the real world you don’t have a mask that has a picture of your products, a caricature, a shot of your business premises or anything else covering your face.  This is why a good headshot is essential.

The key elements of a great profile shot are that:

  • You are looking directly at the camera, it’s the equivalent of making eye contact (and we all treat people who won’t make eye contact with suspicion).
  • It is JUST head and shoulders. When your profile picture appears on the site as an avatar, you become unrecognisable if you’ve put a full length shot.  Your face is just a small white smudge!
  • You aim for friendly and approachable – in other words smile at the camera.
  • It’s a professional shot – not one cropped from a party you were at or a recent holiday. That just shrieks ‘unprofessional’ and people make judgments, even if you are the most professional business person on earth!

Your company page

Do create a company page – and write an interesting introduction.  Add showcase pages for specific products or services.

Don’t forget to link your company page with your current role in your experience so the logo appears on your personal profile.

You could include a link to your company page in the summary and ask people to visit it and follow it (if you think that’s important).  However, don’t worry too much if you only generate a handful of followers.  If your personal network is growing and you’re having useful interactions with people, you will find that your company page is a ‘nice to have’, rather than an essential.