4 Ways to Utilize LinkedIn's "Follow Company" Feature

linkedin_260Last week, with little fanfare, LinkedIn rolled out a new “Follow Company” feature. While the functionality might seem like little more than a link on company pages, the impact could be much greater. Company updates will let you know about profile changes, new hires, recent departures and promotions within the organization, all information which can tip you off to job opportunities.

Here are several ways to use the new LinkedIn feature to your advantage, especially if you’re searching for a job.

Get the attention of a company you want to work for

If I ask you what your dream job is, you hopefully have an answer. But if I asked you where your dream job takes place, you might need a few minutes to think about it. Very few people target specific companies to work for, instead they pick a field and take the highest paying gig. Companies want people who understand their business, culture and overall values. Expect more companies to turn to social media for recruitment purposes, including this new LinkedIn feature. Not only does it save them money, but it puts them in touch with people who want the company, not just a paycheck.

Analyze the job-seeking competition

When you are following a company, you get to see who else is a follower of the business. This is a golden opportunity to size up whom else might be after the job you want. From the skills they possess to their previous experience, it never hurts to know what you’re up against in this competitive job market and adapt accordingly. It is also interesting to see where departing employees land. It’s an oft-ignored piece of job hunting information that can be very telling when trying to figure out of a job is worth accepting.

Elevate your customer service complaint

Review sites such as Yelp have forced companies to hear every voice. These days if you slam a company and have more than a few followers, you shouldn’t be surprised to get a response from the establishment. By following a company, you will get to see how other people feel about a specific service, product or brand. You can also gauge how a company is expected to respond. Sixty-five million registered users now have a new way to communicate their feelings on a business, and potentially get a response. That’s a beautiful thing.

It’s sneaky…but you can acquire new business

While it might not be the cleanest business practice, I can see companies using these “follow” lists to try to win over new customers. For example a follower of soft drink company #1 might get solicited for a free soda from soft drink company #2. I’m not suggesting that anyone go that route, but it seems a distinct possibility. A review of LinkedIn’s TOS is in order.

Will you be following businesses on LinkedIn? Are there any other uses for the new feature? You are encouraged to leave your thoughts below.