LinkedIn Showcase Pages? Hmmm.

Earlier this week, LinkedIn announced a new way for companies to improve how they target content. The new “Showcase Pages” give LinkedIn users like you and me easier ways to follow specific brands or initiatives, instead of following a company’s main LinkedIn page.

LinkedIn sure has grown up from its 2003 launch as a simple online address book to its movement into the brand promotion space. Of course, I’m skeptical (that’s part of my charm.) I have whiplash from shiny new tech popping up every time I turn around. But, after a huge dose of getting over myself, I wonder if Showcase Pages might be what B2B marketers have been waiting for. Most, if not all, B2B companies need to engage a customer’s senior leadership to help move the sales process along. Until now, we’ve found ways to use Facebook, Twitter and G+ effectively, but Showcase Pages may change the game for B2B.

Marketing mix

Have you defined your targeted audiences for your various social channels? Oftentimes, LinkedIn is the best place for B2B marketers to connect with C-level audiences around thought-leadership topics. Twitter seems to work well for media engagement. Facebook for job-seekers. (BTW, Showcase Pages may prove to work well with this audience, too. There are lots of job seekers on LinkedIn.)

Considering a move to Showcase Land? Remember – just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Give it some thought. Figure out how to include this in your overall marketing mix. And then, proceed strategically. And by “strategic” I mean…base it on your customers’ interest triggers, not your internal purvue.

Content strategy and maintenance

Just like with your LinkedIn company page, it will take a while to build a following for your Showcase Page. You have to be in for the long haul. Plan your content strategy and the resources you’ll need in order to maintain it.

Before launching into a Showcase Page, put together a plan for how your Showcase content is similar or different from that on your other channels. And, remember that some audiences will see you on more than one channel. Craft your key messages in different ways. A key message of “we have a delightful new product might evolve like this:

  • Facebook…Wouldn’t you like to help make this kind of product? Come work here.
  • Twitter…Read this article about the technology behind our new product (with a short link).
  • LinkedIn Showcase Page…Here’s our new product and our perspective on how it will transform the industry.

Brand awareness and engagement

With Showcase Pages, LinkedIn follows the lead of Facebook and G+ , providing ample space for brand visuals and ways for users to follow, like, or comment. If you have an established brand, this large visual space gives you a way to very quickly get users jazzed about being on your page. Less established brands need to use this space carefully. Before you post photos of your corporate headquarters building, your logo or a product, think about what’s going to be the most compelling image to entice users to move users to read your content. Think of ways to (intentionally) work benefit-based and thought-leadership key messages into your image. Unless you’re BMW or Kate Spade (yes, I know these are consumer brands), it may just be that a showcase of your products isn’t quite as visually effective as you think. Data-driven infographics, on the other hand…hmmm.

Check them out

LinkedIn says that Showcase Pages are rolling out globally over the next few days. If you don’t yet have the option, check again in a day or so. (Company page administrators will find the Showcase Page option in the “Edit” menu.) In the meantime, take a look at example Showcase Pages from Cisco and Microsoft.