Well, it is that time of year again when I am asking you to help me help you by participating in my LinkedIn user survey. As with all surveys, the more the merrier when it comes to participation, and your voice as part of this survey will help all of us be more effective in our usage of LinkedIn.  

As a special incentive for participating, I will be giving away three customized LinkedIn DVD training bundles. Winners pick two of my six titles ($109 value). Completing the survey should take you no more than a couple minutes. Thank you for participating!

                          Click Here to Take The 2012 LinkedIn User Survey

I recently read a fascinating new book by one of my favorite business writers, David Meerman Scott, called "Newsjacking: How to Inject Your Ideas into a Breaking News Story and Generate Tons of Media Coverage." The premise of the booknewsjacking is because of the power of Internet searching capabilities and our ability to personally publish on the Internet, we can piggyback on major news stories, bringing not only our opinion to the discussion but generating a ton of potential PR and media coverage for us. Pretty cool concept, wouldn't you say?  

So, when I finished reading a January 6, 2012, Milwaukee Business Journal article titled  "Grading Twitter, Facebook efforts: Area firms have success through social media," I was taken back because they didn't include my favorite social media platform, LinkedIn, and thought it would be a good time for me to newsjack this article and give you my LinkedIn scores for the four companies they graded: Harley-Davidson, Kohl's Corporation, Summerfest/Milwaukee World Festival, and the Milwaukee Art Museum.

My grades and comments will be focused only on the effectiveness and usage of the LinkedIn company page (access company pages by clicking "Companies" on LinkedIn's top toolbar) and not on how the individual employees who are attached to the company page are doing with their personal LinkedIn profiles. These are some of the largest brands in the Milwaukee area in terms of size and reputation, so they may not be similar to your company situation. However, my comments are shared to educate you about how all companies can use the LinkedIn company page.

FYI: Company pages is one of the topics I will cover in my brand new class "Unlocking LinkedIn's Corporate Marketing Potential," which will be offered on the morning of February 24.

Harley-Davidson  (Overall Grade: C)

Since Harley-Davidson is one of the world's best-known brands, you might think they don't really need to worry about some of the comments I am going to share. I know they have a big presence on Facebook and Twitter, as the Biz Journal article shared, but LinkedIn is another separate and distinct platform for business professionals who love their Harleys. As a matter of fact, there are 79 separate LinkedIn groups organized around people who have a passion for Harleys.   
Harley Davidson Company Page
The good news is they do have a company page. I can't say that for all businesses I analyze. So they get some credit for that, but the profile description and the Specialties section could use more interesting information and more keywords that their audience might use when searching for their company on LinkedIn.  

They do have a lot of followers (over 7,600) but have not posted a single status update to those followers about interesting things going on at Harley. People did agree to follow, so they are waiting to hear from you, Harley. Also, they are not using the Products & Services tab, where they can include detailed descriptions, links to websites, video, and customer recommendations. This feature could be used for not only specific motorcycles but other services, like owners groups, etc.      

For reference purposes, IBM's company page has over 540,000 followers--more than any other company on LinkedIn. I bet Harley could top that number if they focused some effort on their company page. And as we are all learning, followers, friends, connections, etc. are the gasoline in the social media engine. 



Kohl's Corp.  (Overrall Grade: C+) 

Once again, it's hard to pick on one of America's largest retailers since they are a powerhouse of marketing in general and specifically on Facebook and Twitter, but they have a lot of opportunity in terms of their LinkedIn company page. However, they do have a company page with more than 15,000 followers, and they're using the Careers tab with a customized employment solution from LinkedIn. Check it out. It's really cool.  kohls company pageLike Harley, the profile description and the Specialties should be beefed up with more description and keywords, and they should begin to communicate with those thousands of followers on a consistent basis. Rather than using the Products & Services tab for their thousands of products, they could use it to promote specialty services, like bridal registry, special credit card offers, etc.  

Summerfest/Milwaukee World Festival  (Overrall Grade: D)  

We all love Summerfest. It is the world's largest music festival, but you sure wouldn't know that based on their LinkedIn company page. They have a company page (well, sort of), but that is about all the credit I can give them. milwaukee world festivalThey should be encouraging followers. They currently have 278 followers, but more than 800,000 people attend Summerfest each year--many of whom are on LinkedIn and would probably love to hear from the festival they grew up with and still love so much. 


Also, the Products &Services tab would be outstanding for promoting ticket sales. And with LinkedIn's demographics (plenty of mid to upper level management professionals), this would be a terrific place to promote corporate packages and specials.

Milwaukee Art Museum  (Overall Grade: Incomplete) 

The Milwaukee Art Museum has yet to grab their company page. However, if you search for them in the company section of LinkedIn, a generic page started by LinkedIn automatically comes up because at least one of their 116 people has listed an affiliation with them. It looks like this:milwaukee art museum company page

I hope this isn't happening to your company, but you better check. I wish LinkedIn wouldn't have this bare-bones page appear when a company doesn't set up a page, but that is the process.  

Similar to Summerfest, the Art Museum could certainly benefit by having more followers. They currently have 345. The Art Museum is a great place to host corporate events. Thus, the Products & Services tab would be a great place to display recommendations from satisfied companies who appreciated the museum's outstanding special events and spectacular catered gatherings.

Learn more about how company pages can help you promote your products and services, engage with prospective customers, increase your visibility in the marketplace, and much more by attending my brand new class "Unlocking LinkedIn's Corporate Marketing Potential" on February 24, 8:00-10:00am at my office in Pewaukee. Click here to get more information and register. Space is limited.