LinkedIn Pages Mythbusters – with Michelle Berg – Podcast Show Notes
There are almost 60 million LinkedIn Company Pages today. This week the Good for Business Show asks Michelle Berg (Product Marketing – LinkedIn Pages) some questions we would all love the answers to.
- Is organic reach so low because LinkedIn wants us to spend money on ads?
- Does LinkedIn only care about Pages for big businesses that have big advertising budgets?
- Do LinkedIn listen to feedback from small business users?
- What is LinkedIn doing to help me grow my LinkedIn Company Page?
- Future of LinkedIn Company Pages?
Company Pages are having their time in the sun and the LinkedIn Pages team has launched so many new features in the last year especially.
Join us as we sort fact from fiction on LinkedIn Pages direct from LinkedIn.
Good for Business Show Podcast Episode
Good for Business Show LinkedIn Live Video
Michelle J Raymond: Hello everyone. Welcome to the Good for Business Show. I’m your host, Michelle J. Raymond and I am joined by another Michelle. It seems to be a theme for my shows, Michelle Berg direct from LinkedIn. I have had it verified. Thank you so much for joining us here today.
Michelle Berg: Oh, thank you so much for having me.
I’m actually really excited to be here. As you can tell, I am a fan of yours Michelle. I have the book, making sure that the whole team is aware of the great work that you’re doing.
Michelle J Raymond: I really love that, but for people that haven’t come across you before, can you share, how do you fit into the big scheme at LinkedIn? What’s your role and what are you responsible for?
Michelle Berg: Yeah. I lead product marketing for LinkedIn Pages, which is exactly what we’re here to talk about. I know there might be some questions about what product marketing is and does, so we can get into that, but definitely working with the team that’s making everything happen on the Pages ecosystem.
Michelle J Raymond: The funny thing was, I did ask you pre-show what is a product marketer? It actually dispels one of our first myths. One of the myths that I often get asked is do LinkedIn even care about Pages? Do they listen to what we have to say? And you said…
Michelle Berg: that’s exactly my job.
What product marketing is and does, is we work alongside the Product Team, Engineering, Design, Research et cetera, to bring your voice to life. My job is to understand what the customer needs, what Page Admins and members need. How does this translate to the product roadmap?
What are the things that we need to fix? What are the new things that we need to build? Work with them to design, alpha, beta. And then what we talk about is bringing to market. So when something’s ready to launch, you probably get an email. It probably comes from Linh, Eileen, Salma, Eunice, Kylie at LinkedIn.
That’s our team. That’s making sure that you’re aware of the new things that are out there, you know, how to use it a nd then taking that feedback. That’s usually just step one, from there, making sure we get the feedback. Here’s a new feature. What else do you want to see next? And taking that back to the teams so that we can see it come to life.
Michelle J Raymond: I can see so many people have joined us in the comments and I want them to listen into this instruction. Michelle is going to jump into the comments and check them later. She just told you it’s her job to listen. If you have a feature that you wish that LinkedIn would put in, here’s your chance.
Tell us what you wish would happen. What you like, what you don’t like. Let’s give LinkedIn constructive feedback, so that we can get a better product. Because I, for one, am so grateful for the work that the team has done. In the last 18 months I don’t know the exact number of new products and feature launches that you’ve put out.
It’s an enormous amount, which says to me, that Pages are having their moment in the sun and they’re getting support from LinkedIn. So is that fair to say, can I make that assumption?
Michelle Berg: Absolutely. I think you’ve realised the potential, the benefit for organisations of all sizes to really thrive, to establish a presence on Pages.
There’s been a lot of growth in this and we know we have a lot of room to grow as well. So there’s a lot of energy and excitement internally around Pages and we’re going to have some really exciting stuff coming out. I’ll share a little bit of a sneak peek of some of those things today but a lot more is coming in the coming year.
Michelle J Raymond: We’ve gotten nearly 60 million Pages. Let’s go to one of the first myths that I want to bust. Now, one of the myths that’s out there in LinkedIn land is that Company Pages are only built for the big end of town. So the super users, the huge companies, global companies, and they’re not actually built for small business.
So I’ve got a question. Are they built for big end or is it there for small businesses too?
Michelle Berg: If you asked any person on the pages team today, they would say a resounding, we are building for small businesses. We know that today. However, a lot of times it’s the enterprises. It’s the larger organisations that are able to have the strongest presence, have the most posts. A lot of it comes down to resources and resources being time. Time to come up with posts, see what’s working for the audience. Actually build the audience as well, so you have those conversations and where we’re falling short, we know that we need to be able to support better are small businesses.
There’s a huge cold start problem, where you’re getting your business started. You don’t have followers, you’re posting, nobody’s seeing your posts. So if I’m not getting engagement and interaction with that, why should I keep posting? And a lot of times organisations stop. That’s unfortunate because there’s so much value that can come from the connections can come from the conversations.
We know especially for small businesses, one reach is top of mind, how do we get your posts, your comments in front of the people that are going to help your business to grow? And posting, what do I post? What’s going to work? It’s a little bit different on LinkedIn than any other platform. So how do I make my organisation really shine here?
Michelle J Raymond: I’d really encouraged people to go in search for the LinkedIn for Small Business Page. That’s also a great resource the team put out, that and the LinkedIn Marketing blog is one of my favourite tools that you share so much information. I get to learn a lot about marketing from people that are experts around the world that I can put into practice.
I absolutely love it. When I had my first conversation with another member of your team, and they told me that it was mostly small business Pages, I was just blown away. I was like, really? That’s why I wanted to and I’m so grateful that you came here to have this conversation today because there are so many assumptions that we’re making.
I’m going to move on to a conspiracy theory. Another one that we’ve got here and I have pre-warned you on these. New features come out. Why is it that some people seem to always get it first?
Some people seem to always feel like they get it last. Can you tell us about the rollout and how they work?
Michelle Berg: Well, first off, I’m glad that everybody’s excited to get access to new features and functionalities and understand it can also be frustrating if you see somebody else taking a screenshot of something new and shiny, and you don’t have access to that.
But Michelle, as you were talking about, it’s a huge platform with 830 million members, 58 million Pages. Anytime we release something, there are a lot of potential impacts. We want to make sure one, does it work? Is it working as it’s supposed to? Anytime we design a new feature or functionality, we have a hypothesis, a problem we’re trying to solve.
So we look and we monitor. We’ll release to a small percentage of Pages or to members first. See, is it actually doing the good that we thought it was going to do? Sometimes there are things that we don’t anticipate. It could be a bug, but maybe it’s actually having adverse reactions and maybe it’s preventing Pages from doing something else in a way they’d like to do.
So we always have to test into this, to really ensure that there’s a good experience for you – the admins who are using it, for your audience, for members at large across LinkedIn. So we go in test, sometimes we have to iterate. We had to do that a couple of weeks ago. We said, oh, that’s not working. Let’s design something else, try this and then keep going. So it can take a little while to get it out there, but we want to make sure that when everybody has it, it’s working to the full functionality that you’d like.
Michelle J Raymond: I’ve been recently involved in the LinkedIn Pages newsletter rollout. I was part of the alpha testers and we did discover some things. I’m sure that there was a hell of lot of planning that went into it before I even got eyes on it. There were things that popped up. There are things that are now popping up a bit further down the track. And I know the work that has to go on behind the scenes for the teams who actually make sure that when the greater masses actually get this rolled out. We take it for granted that by the time most of us get it, it works perfectly.
So it may take a little bit of time, but there are some people that test things that make sure that when you get it, actually for the most part it works without any issues. I, for one, am grateful that you go through that process. But I wanted to share with people, that’s why LinkedIn don’t go here’s 60 million Company Pages, all try it at once. Imagine what would happen if there was something unforeseen that caused a bug or an issue. That’s why you may feel like you don’t get the features at the same time and you may feel like it’s last.
There’s nothing into that, except they want to make sure that you get a perfect product by the time it’s rolled out to everybody.
Another common one, and I’m going to jump to it.
I’m a small business owner. I love Company Pages – superfan, as you know ,but there’s a lot of small businesses out there that you said give up because they don’t get that reach. We spoke about that just in your intro, then the next connection to that is LinkedIn stop reach, organic reach on Company Pages because you want us to pay for ads.
What do you have to say to that?
Michelle Berg: Well clearly, I mean, you see our revenue ads are how we do business, but that is not the only reason why we exist. The reason that LinkedIn exists is to make these connections, those connections come in the form of conversations. Michelle I was telling you earlier, a lot of times with our advertisers, a lot of times people pass go, they go straight to advertising. They start putting money thinking they’re going to get all of these leads and we have to tell them to go back. Brands really need to come across authentically on the platform. That comes in real conversations whether that’s you posting or that’s you commenting as your brand, across the platform.
And there’s so much value in that. That’s where the connections happen. That’s where people make introductions, one to another. I find people that could be customers or potential clients or partners for you and that is what we want to see. The ads – yes, they have an incredibly important role in the ecosystem, especially if you’re trying to target very specific audiences, you’re trying to get somebody toward the end of their life cycle, closing the deal.
That’s very important. It’s one of the things that we’re really excited to have and to continue evolving. But all of that organic, as I mentioned, we have this entire team of engineers, designers, product managers focused solely on how do we help brands to succeed organically. That is really important for us so keep those conversations coming.
We’re not trying to limit the reach in any means, but we do have a lot to do to help you to get the reach that you need.
Michelle J Raymond: One of the new tools that recently released that I’ve seen, or not a new tool, but a new iteration of an existing tool is the increase to the number of Page invites. Up to 250 per Admin and the opportunity for employees who aren’t Page Admins to do some invites to the Page as well.
I love those particular features and they speak to what you’re trying to do is help people grow those Pages faster. This isn’t just Michelle doing the LinkedIn speak that just says, yeah, yeah, yeah, we’re doing this. I’ve got to sound good. There’s actually real features and functions out on Pages that you can see where this aligns.
Conversations. That’s a word that you’ve repeated a lot of times. I’ve been watching it evolve. I can see that things are easier to use. I can see there’s a real drive to make it easier for Page Admins to actually do their job. These are some of the things that I’m seeing that I love that you’re doing and I wanted to share with other people. What’s the goal for Pages? Can I ask that? I don’t want you to end up in LinkedIn jail.
What’s the roadmap? What do you see that they’re trying to achieve? 12 months, two years down the track, where are we headed?
Michelle Berg: You can ask anything. Will I respond? Do I want to go to LinkedIn jail?
Michelle J Raymond: Another theory that we need to myth bust. Is there a LinkedIn jail?
Michelle Berg: Yeah, well, fortunately, this one’s actually a pretty straightforward one to answer. What is Pages trying to do? We are trying to equip organisations large and small and as I mentioned, especially small because that’s where we know that there’s the most growth to succeed on the platform. Success for us is your success.
What that means is that you are posting regularly, meaning that you’re creating conversations. Cause we know from members, they want to hear about organisations they care about and sometimes they say Hey, I didn’t see that. I wanted to see, Michelle’s post about X, Y, and Z, or about her new book or whatever is coming out.
There’s a value in that because we’re trying to create value for the members, bring people onto the platform for these discussions and followers. We’re looking at how quickly are Pages getting new followers. Of the groups that don’t have a lot of followers, what are we doing specifically for them to get to their first 100, to their first 200? So that they’re at that point where they actually start building this momentum to just really exponential growth. We look at these metrics and it’s really about getting our Pages able to talk and engage and then getting their audiences g rowing and thriving.
Michelle J Raymond: It’s a really cool point.
Cause there’s an expert AJ Wilcox who is, if I love LinkedIn Pages, he’s the LinkedIn Ads guy. I’ve had a conversation with him about paid strategy, I only play in organic strategies, ie not paid and he said to me, Michelle, people should set up their Page go and run it for at least six months, work out what works organically and then come to me and put some money behind when you’ve built your community.
And I think for me personally, building a B2B community on your Page is something that I see is the evolution. Right now we’re so focused on how does it get sales and that’s one part of it, but it’s how do you be seen as an industry thought leader and that’s where I see newsletters come in.
What’s the thinking behind LinkedIn newsletters? I’ve read the Edelman report. Was it related to that? But why do you guys think newsletters are a good idea for Pages?
Michelle Berg: As I mentioned, members want to hear from Pages and I think that’s really the insight that started this.
There are just so many channels we know as a marketer, I understand there are so many channels you can consider. There are a lot of nuances and challenges with some of them. We thought, especially for small businesses, newsletters is a really easy way. You’re putting your content out there.
It automatically emails your followers so they get something in their inbox. They get a notification. Again, it’s getting the reach and if members are asking for your content, you’re taking the time to do it. How do we get it in front of them in a way that’s consistent? So newsletters is one we’ve been really excited about.
We’re just in V1, so I love getting the additional feedback about what we can do beyond that. But again, it’s really helping you to create a consistent voice. The feed, the LinkedIn feed, it’s massive things get lost. How do you find it? I think I saw that it’s one way that you can keep a consistent stream of awareness with your audience and then just getting that information to them so they can engage.
Michelle J Raymond: I think that’s important for people to realise that when a feature comes out, it’s the first iteration and that often over time these things evolve, they get even better. I’m a super fan of newsletters.
I use it a lot to repurpose. As a small business owner myself, what I found was it was such an easy way for me to take a community I’d already built and at the click of a couple of buttons, no different to writing an article, all of a sudden I had a subscriber base built almost overnight. I have been talking about doing it on my website for ages, I’ve just never been able to get my head around it. So I think it’s such a cool way.
Does LinkedIn see Company Pages and the related pages to them as potentially a replacement for small businesses, maybe not having a website in the early days. Do you view it like that? Or how do you see this tool, what’s the context for it?
Michelle Berg: I think I saw this question come up ahead of time and I know there’s a lot that a website can do, right? I think that’s when somebody is trying to understand an organisation, one – should I be a customer or a partner? Should I apply for a job here? You look for legitimacy, right?
So you look, okay is this a real company? I go find the website. I go search for them on LinkedIn. They kind of go hand in hand. But there is a lot of talking or a lot of planning and excitement around how do we evolve what Company Pages are, what LinkedIn Pages can do functionally, because we have the ability to post, to communicate, to highlight different facts and features about your business, but it can do a lot more. There’s a lot of excitement around.
I know many of you are familiar with Services Marketplace. You might have a Service Page. How does that get integrated more? Or Product Pages? How do I integrate this so that it’s one hub for somebody that’s looking for my service or for my product. How do I get it here? Because one of the things and this isn’t exactly the question of, will it replace a website? I think there’s a lot more than it can do even beyond the website. That the value of LinkedIn is the members. It’s the community, it’s the connections, it’s the referrals. We’re seeing this with services marketplace as well. It’s somebody talking about your brand authentically in an uncensored way that you’re not necessarily going to get that on your website, right? But this is one place where somebody could say, yes, I absolutely recommend working with Michelle because she took my business from X to Y and it’s all in this one place so people can see, yes, this is what she offers. But also here are some real business impacts that she’s had on it. So I think there’s a lot of excitement around what it can be.
Will it replace a website? Probably not, but there’s definitely a lot of talk about how do we enhance this really unique business to business experience that we’re creating on LinkedIn?
Michelle J Raymond: I’m going to ask a question and again, you have the right to not answer, because I know that there’s some things that we just can’t cover, but are you able to share about any, maybe new features or the direction of some of these new features that might be coming up?
I’ve seen the roadmap in one of the other presentations. Is there anything that you can share? Cause I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t cheekily ask this one.
Michelle Berg: There’s not a whole lot that I can talk about that’s coming well down the horizon. I can give you some, I know that there was a lot of energy last week about newsletters and we’ve heard all of the feedback and documented it. If I want more than one newsletter, I want analytics on my newsletter or what people click on. So these are all things that are top of mind. I can’t say we’re going to have that immediately but the team is definitely aware of it. One of the things that came up in the context of why does it take so long to roll something out? And why don’t I have it? I know many of you have seen the increased invite credit limit, the up to 250 to help you to invite more of your contacts to follow the Page. That’s something that’s coming out and hopefully we’ll have more to share officially pretty soon.
One of the things that I’ve also seen people talking about is Identity switcher which is what we call it internally. It’s being able to engage as your Page on the feed. Any posts you see whether or not it’s a hashtag you follow or you’ve been tagged in it, just to pick I’m going to respond as myself or . I’m going to respond as my Page and being able to interact.
Because we know that engagement on LinkedIn it’s not just my original content that I am posting on my Page but it’s how do I participate in other conversations that matter, right? So that’s something that we know has been really important. I know we’ve gotten more feedback on that one too. So V1 of that and more to come, when that’s ready for everybody.
Michelle J Raymond: That is just such a great feature. We call that comment as your Company Page, really fancy name. It’s really that simple. If you haven’t had it rolled out as yet, this new feature allows your Company Page to comment anywhere in the feed very easily.
If you manage multiple pages, you can just switch as the name suggests in between them really simply and easily on every post. No more plug-ins, no more workarounds. It has made life so much easier. Version One is out there. Before we could only maybe tag the business and then comment, or we could follow the hashtags for that post and then we could comment. This has just kicked it up that next level and I’ve always said, companies can drive conversations just as much. People do want to do business with people, but employees are people too, let’s not forget about them. So we quite often just assume that because someone works for a company, all of a sudden that goes out the window.
Another thing that’s popped up, we’ve seen Product Pages rolled out to more Pages and more Industries. Is that rollout going really well and will we see it across all industries?
Michelle Berg: Yeah, I don’t have a lot to share in terms of how it’s going to roll out additionally. Again, I know it’s a little nebulous, but there is a lot going on behind the scenes around Product Pages because we know that it’s just solving such an unmet need in terms of people looking for a product but wanting some confidence that somebody I know has experienced it. That’s one of the things that LinkedIn can do uniquely is provide that reference point of somebody that you know that can provide an unfiltered unbiased opinion on that. I think there’s a lot going on there. I can’t tell you a whole lot more about any specific roll-out plans but again, the feedback from here, all those comments, we’ll take them back and share them with our Product team to help figure out what’s next.
Michelle J Raymond: So we’ve covered the main myths that are out there.
We’ve discovered that LinkedIn is not trying to restrict your organic reach so that you pay for ads. We’ve got that one ticked off loud and clear. Quite the opposite, Michelle and the team are all putting together ways that Pages can get more organic reach, grow the Page faster and get involved in more conversations.
I’m so glad that we’ve actually got that one out there because I think that will encourage people for the future. I’ve been going on about it for about the last 18 months and saying grow your Page, grow your community, grow your Page, grow your B2B community. It’s a never ending message that I give people.
I love that the direction that you guys are doing this is actually to help with that and give us more ways that we can do that faster. Because I’ll be honest, it’s really demoralising when you’re a brand new Page owner and then you have to wait six to nine months before you see anything come to life.
I love that you’re listening, I love that you’re taking away this feedback. I’ve actually seen some posts recently where we’ve been sharing about Company Page features and some of the team have gotten involved and let people know, yes this is coming, version two or the rollout will happen. I just want to communicate to you and the rest of your team, we appreciate that you’re listening.
I’ve asked lots of questions, I’ve had the floor and you’ve been so gracious in answering all of them without ending up in jail. But is there something that you want to ask this audience that you would love to hear from them or final comments that you want to share with people.
Michelle Berg: Yeah, you know the feedback that we’ve gotten, I know Michelle you already asked some polls to figure out what people were interested in, that’s been incredibly valuable, just identifying what are the trends? What are the pain points in your experience?
I’d say in terms of additional learnings, and you can keep them coming in the chat, it’s understanding. If you’re trying to do more posting, we know that there are concerns about what do I post? How do I post? Is it working? Is it resonating with my audience? What are other things that we could do in Product to help you to understand? What is something that you should be posting about as your brand? How can I do better? What are the things that you’re looking for as indicators to keep going on. Those are the things that we’d love your energy and excitement and ideas around.
Michelle J Raymond: I think that’s the thing, just keep going people. I’ve been sharing that the way I see this as an integral part for businesses. And I have my own reasons why I think they’re really important, but I love that we can piggyback off the trust that LinkedIn has out there. For Google our LinkedIn Pages come up in the first page of results nearly every single time when you Google your business name. That for me in itself is just worth so much. I love that you’ve got plans to listen. I do appreciate it. If people have other questions or concerns or ideas, jump into the Page Administrators Group.
The LinkedIn team run that group and it’s a way that you can actually connect with other Page Administrators. I personally love it. I can go in there sometimes I’ll help and answer questions. Sometimes the team will actually get notified that we’re having concerns. We saw that just last month in April when something went a bit pear shaped and all of the reach went out of the window. Not sure what’s going on there, but the team listened, and I think that’s what I want people to get out of this today. Yes, Michelle Raymond is excited, but Michelle Berg is working her butt off and the team in the background to listen, to give us Pages that actually support small businesses. So from that, I just wanted to say, thank you, Michelle, for joining us. I can’t tell you how appreciative I am. Can you just hold that book up, that you’ve got in the background. Can I pay you to do that?
Michelle Berg: There was no sponsorship.
Michelle J Raymond: I couldn’t help it. It’s just hilarious. It was one of those moments where Michelle and I met she’s like, I got the book and I was excited, so thank you to everyone else that’s got the book as well. I wrote Business Gold because I wholeheartedly believe in the power of Pages for businesses of all sizes from solopreneurs through to enterprise. Thank you, Michelle, for sharing and myth-busting some of the common misconceptions that are out there about LinkedIn Pages.
I’m excited for the future and I appreciate everything that you and the team do. So thank you to everyone that joined us. Thank you Michelle, is there anything else that you would like to leave us with or I’ll wrap the show up?
Michelle Berg: I would just say, I hope that some of the enthusiasm that I am channeling on behalf of the entire Pages team here who lives and breathes, how do I make Pages successful? How do I help them to grow their reach and grow their followers? I hope that’s coming through because it’s so authentic. We want to make sure that organisations of all sizes can succeed and again, thank you so much for your feedback. It’s incredibly valuable and it is going to be delivered with all of this energy back to my team.
So thank you.
Michelle J Raymond: I love it. So thank you everyone for joining the Good for Business Show. I appreciate you. We will catch you next week. Cheers.