Are they going to kill the golden goose? That was my first thought when Microsoft bought LinkedIn back in 2016.
As a provider of B2B social media services, my agency relies on LinkedIn (along with Twitter) to generate reach and awareness for technology companies. And I wasn’t looking forward to seeing the LinkedIn purchase turn into another example of how most acquisitions destroy value.
Flash forward to today and it’s the opposite of what I expected.
LinkedIn has more members, content, activity and engagement than before. Plus, more interest from B2B CMOs who want to show they’re winning the social media game. So, it’s no wonder these marketers often ask:
“Competitors have more LinkedIn followers than we do. How do we change that, fast?”
Why Do People Follow LinkedIn Company Pages?
It all starts with understanding why someone would follow your LinkedIn company page. Here are the five main reasons:
1. Interested in the broad market that your company plays in
These are the people who could one day want to own shares in your company, ranging from industry insiders and market analysts to retail investors looking to buy into high-growth industries (e.g. marketing technologies). That’s why Salesforce and Adobe each have over two million LinkedIn followers as they’ve generated brand awareness with a much broader audience than just the users of their products.
2. Interested in your company’s industry category
Typically, these are the technology developers, buyers, competitors, industry analysts, readers of trade publications, venture capitalists, and other participants that play in your specific industry category. For instance, someone that’s not only interested in marketing technologies (broad market) but specifically marketing automation software providers.
3. Interested in your company, in particular
Your customers, investors, partners and employees want to stay in the loop with what your company is up to. These folks follow your LinkedIn page because they have a direct (and hopefully growing) interest in your products, updates, events and ideas.
4. Interested in working at your company
This includes anyone drawn in by one of your job openings. I often see a nice bounce in follower growth whenever one of my clients posts a new job opportunity or shares a post that gives insights into the culture of the company.
5. Interested in the people who work at your company
We all follow companies that our friends work at to stay up-to-date and support them. That’s also why employee advocacy can be so effective in generating social amplification (and reaching potential new followers) as we like to share the posts of those in our own professional networks.
The Follower Growth Curve
Simply put, early-stage companies will have limited monthly follower growth since they are only attracting people interested in the company and the small group of employees that work there. As the company gains traction with its go-to-market strategies, it catches the attention of those in the industry category and job seekers looking for the next big thing. When the company evolves from market entrant to category leader, follower growth ramps up as those watching the broader market start to take notice.
But what can you do to accelerate the LinkedIn follower growth curve?
Growing Your LinkedIn Followers
Every LinkedIn post has the potential to catch the interest of one or more of these audience segments. Yet, the biggest mistake I see most companies make is they only post about themselves. This not only holds you back from getting to the next stage of follower growth but also limits follower growth at the stage you’re currently in.
Said another way, you need to be posting content that caters to each of the different potential audiences every month. Here’s how to make sure that happens:
Create a social posting calendar with content for each audience type
Are you sharing industry research and thought leadership articles about the broader market and your industry segment? How about job postings? Create a monthly social media calendar and make sure you’re including posts for each of the five interest areas. Also, don’t be afraid to post more often (30 to 50 times per month) to ensure you have lots of opportunities to tap into other people’s interests.