It seems now that LinkedIn has finally positioned themselves as the primary social network for b2b. It wasn't always this way, in fact up until recently, myself and others considered LinkedIn to be a job bulletin board on steroids. But LinkedIn's new "Company Pages" has helped to change that perception in a hurry.
If you haven't experienced these new Company Pages yet, they allow for products and services to be put on display, provide the mechanisms to announce online promotions, and include the ability to upload multimedia such as graphics and video to help promote the business. But the most powerful feature of all is the LinkedIn's adoption of the pre-existing recommendation utility into their Company Pages.
The best social media features imitate real life. Those who watched The Social Network witnessed this on screen. In the movie, Mark Zuckerberg viewed "what are you doing right now?" and relationship status as two of the main staples of understanding leading into any real-life social interaction. In the business world, the most effective way to drum up new business is by doing a good job, building up a reputation for doing so, and getting your happy clients and suppliers to refer more business your way. Enter LinkedIn's recommendation feature for Company Pages. Recommendations have been a part of LinkedIn individual profiles for some time, but integrating this feature into Company Pages lends it a much more powerful appeal. It can be said that recommendations are to LinkedIn's Company pages as "Likes" are to Facebook Business Pages. Only the recommendations can be personalized, and the effort put into one providing a recommendation on a Company Page through their LinkedIn profile makes them much more informative, genuine and legitimizing to any prospect coming to a Company Page.
Overall, Company Pages provides a headquarters for businesses on the LinkedIn network. It allows the individual profile to interact, on some level anyway, with the company. This seems much more conducive to fostering relationships between companies and the individual stakeholders as they relate to the company's product and service offerings. In other words, very much staying within the B2B space. Can this translate into individuals, playing the role of the end-consumer, interacting with Company Pages? Who knows? Only time will tell. My opinion – not likely. LinkedIn is probably best served to concentrate on specializing in the B2B sector, and continue their march to becoming a social powerhouse in this respect.
For B2B marketers and agencies representing a B2B focussed client, Company Pages are very important and should be a prominent pillar in any social media marketing mix. Facebook seems to be quite pre-occupied with big consumer brands, so they have failed to make their arena as appealing for B2B companies, certainly much less appealing then it is for the B2C world. Company Pages has the potential offer the arena B2B marketers have been looking for. LinkedIn still needs to put some work into these pages to really push Company Pages over the edge (opening up an API would be a huge step in the right direction). But for now, to me anyway, its the best place available to connect a B2B brand with a hot prospective buyer.