Following companies on LinkedIn just got easier. In an announcement today , the social network for professionals said it was launching a Follow Company button that companies can add to their websites.
If members are logged in to LinkedIn, they'll automatically begin to follow the company once they click the company's embeddable button. If they're not logged in, they'll be prompted to enter their credentials.
"We’re providing a great and easy way for LinkedIn members to stay up-to-date on company news, career opportunities and industry trends…as well as [a way] for the more than 2 million brands with LinkedIn Company Pages to attract new followers and engage with them socially in a uniquely professional context," Hani Durzy, LinkedIn’s director of corporate communications, wrote in an email to Adweek.
AT&T, Starbucks, Sony Electronics and American Express Open are among the brands that plan to be early adopters of the new button, LinkedIn said.
A few months ago, Mike Gamson, svp of sales for LinkedIn, told Adweek  that this is a crucial time for brands in online advertising. “We believe there is a finite number of brands that any single LinkedIn member will follow,” Gamson said at the time. (He estimated that the number is in the low single digits, or a couple of brands per category.)
For that reason, he said brands that don't invest in attracting followers now will find it more difficult to do so down the road because the brands will have to lure them away from rival companies.
In its announcement today, LinkedIn emphasized that its members have high expectations for the companies that they follow on the professional networking site.
For example, LinkedIn said, 60 percent of its members expect industry insights as well as news from the companies they follow, and about half of current followers say that they are more likely to purchase products or services from a company that is more engaged with its followers.
"They’re more strategic in their decisions to follow companies here as opposed to other networks," Durzy said.