Over 8.7 million companies have LinkedIn company pages, and that's a great place to start. But the road to real corporate marketing potential begins with company employees presenting a consistent branding message on their personal LinkedIn profiles.

marketing concept with financial elements hand drawn on blackboaBut if you're company management, how can you help your employees share the responsibility for promoting your company's products or services?

It starts with creating LinkedIn best practices guidelines and sharing them with all employees. The guidelines should include profile standards as well as simple LinkedIn activities that will be helpful for the employees as well as the company.

A LinkedIn training session is a quick and easy way to share the guidelines with your employees--and they will be more likely to follow the guidelines if they understand the strategy behind them and see the personal value in addition to the corporate value.

Of course, I've provided LinkedIn training for hundreds of companies and would be happy to assist you and your company as well.

What to include in your company's LinkedIn best practices guidelines

The first seven items below are typically one-time profile updates that all employees can quickly and easily perform. The last two items are activities that employees should be encouraged to engage in on an ongoing basis.

1.  Photo. Bring in a photographer and get professional head shots. You only get one chance to make a great first impression, and the profile photo is the first thing people see when they view someone's LinkedIn profile.

2.  Banner. Design an eye-catching banner that your employees would be proud to display as their profile background. The banner is quite large, thus an easy way to promote the company brand.

Screen Shot 2016-04-07 at 4.11.27 PM3.  Standard company description paragraph(s). Share one succinct paragraph that they can include in their Summary section and then two or three more detailed paragraphs that they can include in the job description for their current job at your company.

4.  Keywords. These are critical on LinkedIn. If you want your people to regularly show up in search results, give them a list of five to ten words or phrases that people typically use when searching for companies like yours. These are usually your products, services, brands, etc. And then encourage your employees to place them in the right spots on their profile.

5.  Websites. All employees can list three websites in their Contact Info section, and the entries can be hyperlinked to specific pages on your company website. Choose the best pages on your site--and when your employees proudly display them on their profiles, you'll begin to generate some nice traffic to your site.

Screen Shot 2016-04-07 at 4.16.12 PM6.  Media or web links in Summary and current Job Experience sections. This is a great place to show off videos, slide shows, photos of your best work, products, customer testimonials, etc.

7.  Each employee's job entry correctly attached to your company page. When this is done right, your company logo will show up next to their current job entry. This is must-have branding. If it doesn't show up, it means (1) they added this job entry prior to your business having a company page with a logo attached or (2) they selected the wrong company or no company when adding this entry to their profile. This is simple to fix. The employee simply edits that job entry and selects the correct company page when LinkedIn autofills as he/she is typing in your company name.

8.  Sharing, "liking" or commenting on company status updates, individual status updates, and individual published posts. This can be hard to monitor because it's ongoing rather than a one-time profile change. But the more it's done, the more eyes your company updates are seen by, and that's obviously a good thing.

9.  Targeted industry group memberships and activities. This is a divide-and-conquer strategy. Find the best groups that at least one company employee should be involved in, and then assign individuals to join those groups, share relevant information, and connect with the right people in the groups. Be sure to not only join your industry groups but your clients' industry groups as well.

Getting your team on board with these guidelines may take a bit of effort, but it will really amplify your company message on LinkedIn, the world's largest business database. Let me know if I can help you develop more specific guidelines for your company and get your team on board.