It seems like a never-ending battle. You build a website, launch an e-mail newsletter and start a blog. Everything is working and then it happens! Your boss walks in and says, “Do we have a Google+ page?” As much as you like social media, there is an unending list of places that you need to list or register your firm. Hurray!
Let’s look at the ways that you can get your firm found using LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+.
LinkedIn Company Page
According to LinkedIn’s website, a company page is “a centralized location where millions of LinkedIn members can go to stay in the loop on company news, products and services, business opportunities and job openings.” This is a cool list but exactly how do I do all that?
Let’s start with some basics. Click on the Search Companies option from the Companiesmenu. Type in your company’s name and click search. Does your company appear on the list? If not, simply click the Add a Company link in the top right. This will allow you to add a LinkedIn Page for your company.
By default, any employee with a valid e-mail address at your company’s domain will be able to edit your company’s LinkedIn page. I recommend assigning designated administrative users. They will be able to enter and modify the following:
- Company overview
- Company type and size
- Website address
- Operating status
- Year founded
Any company page administrator can share status updates with the company’s followers. These updates might include announcements, promotions, news and videos. Followers can then like, share or comment on these updates. This will expose your company to your follower’s entire network.
LinkedIn company pages can also be used to post job openings and broadcast information about your company’s products and services. Page administrators can view company page analytics that include page view, unique visitors, clicks on product and services, members following your company and visitors. These analytics can help you plan for future promotions and status updates.
Facebook describes its pages as follows: “Pages are for organizations, businesses, celebrities and bands to broadcast great information in an official, public manner to people who choose to connect with them.” A company can use them to maintain a presence on Facebook. A person who has his or her own Facebook account can add and manage a Facebook Page.
The information posted on a Facebook Page is public and available to anyone on Facebook. People who “Like” your page will receive your updates in their news feed. Your Facebook Page can include the following information about your company:
- Year founded
- Web Address
The Facebook Page administrator can use the Manage Permissions feature to control the visibility of your page, set country and age restrictions and control the information posted to the page. Facebook has a great feature that allows a page administrator to use Facebook as a Page. The administrator can use his or her page’s identity to view notifications, as you would with other pages, you can post status updates, share links and comment on status updates.
Facebook Pages include a comprehensive Insights module. Page administrators can use it to see the page’s total Likes, the number of people talking about the page and the total number of people who have seen content from the page. Analytics also allows you to see detailed demographic information about the people who Like and are talking about your Facebook page.
Google+ Pages launched in November. The social media site’s blog describes the pages as follows: “Google+ pages help you connect with the customers and fans who love you. Not only can they recommend you with a +1 or add you to a circle to listen long term, [but] they can [also] actually spend time with your team, face-to-face-to-face.”
Your Google+ page can include posts, pictures, videos and basic information about your company. Much like Facebook, you can use Google+ as your page so that your posts and comments appear from your page. For example, I have an account/identity on Google+ as Barry MacQuarrie. When I post a status update on Google+, people in my Circles will see an update from Barry MacQuarrie. I also have a Company page for SocialCPAs. There is no user called SocialCPAs. I can login to Google+ as myself and switch my identity to SocialCPAs. Once I do this, all of my status updates, comments etc. will appear as if SocialCPAs posted them and notBarry MacQuarrie.
Google+ and Google+ Pages are just getting started. There are a lot of people trying to figure out how useful they will be and how they fit into business corporate marketing plans. If you haven’t done so already, try following a few pages and see what you think.
Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ can help businesses with their marketing and customer service efforts. They allow businesses to broadcast their message, share product news, receive feedback and connect to customers in innovative ways. They are also a great resource for individuals. They allow us to learn a lot about our clients, vendors, prospective clients, referral sources and competitors.
Are you and your company taking advantage of these opportunities?
This article was originally published in the AICPA's CPA Insider newsletter.