How and WHY to follow companies on LinkedIn

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TWO UPDATES TO THIS POST: 
1) The LinkedIn company page search function is NOT as good as it used to be. You can no longer sort by company size or Fortune 500. It also no longer lets you search by industry and the results are not sorted by the largest companies first. 

2) Companies can no longer see the list of its followers, which seems stupid on LinkedIn's part because companies used to find job candidates and customers from the list. LinkedIn said that it made the change to protect followers' privacy, but you can see someone's followed companies, simply by visiting the person's Interests section and clicking "Companies". 

Since companies can't see that you are following them, like comment and share their articles on your LinkedIn home page and apply for their jobs on LinkedIn. Their articles and job posts are featured in both places because you followed their company page. 

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ORIGINAL ARTICLE:

You may know that you can follow companies on LinkedIn, but do you know WHY doing so can dramatically improve your job search or sales efforts? 

Simply put, following LinkedIn companies can help you find and impress companies where you want to work or sell your wares. 

Here is how and why to follow companies
For example, say that you wanted to work at, or sell to, marketing/advertising agencies in Kansas City.

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Use categories on the left side of the Search Companies page to narrow your search to your target companies.
In this example, I sorted by Location and Industry to learn about Kansas City marketing/ad agencies.

To find and follow multiple companies ... 

  • Visit Interests … Companies … Search Companies.
  • Click the Add link under Location (on the left side of the page). Type your city into the search box.
  • Under the Industry tab, select your industry from the list or add a different industry by clicking the Add button).
  • Search the results and follow your preferred companies, or use the tools on the left, such as Company Size, to narrow your search.
  • Click the Job Opportunities link to view only companies that have open positions.

To follow one particular organization’s Company Page, type the company name into the LinkedIn search box and select the company from the search results. Click the yellow Follow button.

Microsoft LinkedIn company page, follow company pages on LinkedIn,
Visit all of the sections on an organization's Company Page to learn as much as you can.

Why follow companies? Company Pages can contain a ton of useful information for job seekers or salespeople. For example:

  1. On a Company Page HOME PAGE: Read company news updates and then scroll to the bottom to find general company information (street address, web site address, company size, industry, and more). Use such news and information to impress company representatives.
  2. On a Company Page PRODUCTS PAGE: Discover all the products and services that a company provides. Because these entries are brief and include a picture, you can quickly learn more about a company’s product or service than you could by wading through a company’s web site.
  3. On a Company Page CAREERS PAGE: View all of the jobs that the company has posted on LinkedIn in one convenient place. Also read what employees say about their company, and view a video about the organization. (Not all companies feature job postings or videos, but many do).
  4. On a Company Page INSIGHTS PAGE: Learn interesting facts about an organization's employees, such as who you know, its competitors (listed in the People Also Viewed box), top skills and expertise that the company seeks, and its most recommended employees (so that you can reach out to these top people or learn what type of employees excel at the company).   


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Visit Interests ... Companies. Click the Companies Home page to check on all of your target companies at one time.

How to benefit from following companies

  • Quickly view all recent updates about your target companies (including company news, job openings, new hires, and recent employee departures). To do so, hover over the Interests tab and select Companies from the drop-down menu. Click the Companies Home tab. On the left column, view Followed Company Updates, or type a company names into the “Search for Companies” box to learn what a specific target organization is up to.
  • Opt to “Like” or positively “Comment” about your target companies’ updates. The company will appreciate the positive attention!
  • When on an organization’s Company Page, look for the “How You Are Connected” box on the home page to see who you know at the company. Click the “See all” link to observe your 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree connections at the organization, as well as former employees. Use this knowledge to ask key people to help you land a job or make the sale.
  • Recommend a company's products and services on its Product page. Providing recommendations makes the company look good on LinkedIn and shows them that you care about their success. 
  • Realize that a representative at each target company can see who is following his/her company (by clicking the followers link on their Company Page Home Page). By being on their followers list, you’re telling companies that you are interested in them, which could be huge plus for you if they are seeking to hire someone like you, or if they are interested in the type of product that you sell. [SADLY, THIS BULLET IS NO LONGER TRUE]

A client of mine, an experienced, Phoenix-based health care communicator, landed a job specifically because he followed companies. Here’s what happened next:

  1. A representative at a Phoenix hospital viewed her hospital’s Company Page follower list and saw that John was following her company. (The list not only includes followers' names hyper-linked to their profile, but also their picture and LinkedIn headline).
  2. She clicked to his profile and learned that he was qualified and available.
  3. She contacted him because he had included his phone number and email address in the Contact Information and “Advice for Contacting NAME” profile sections.
  4. Voila! He got called for the interview and talked his way into the job.

Try the same simple steps that John did to improve your job chances or sales opportunities using LinkedIn. -- Kathy

Did these tips help you follow companies? Share your comments! 

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