A new Company Search feature from LinkedIn may help B2B marketers further leverage the corporate-friendly site for social marketing purposes.

B2B firms have traditionally struggled to get a foothold in the social marketing space, but Brafton recently reported that comScore’s Digital Year in Review reveals that LinkedIn reached 26.6 million visitors in December 2010. This indicates LinkedIn is an increasingly valuable social space to connect with business professionals. A new Company Search feature may help B2B marketers further leverage the corporate-friendly site for social marketing purposes.

LinkedIn announced Company Search last week. It lets users search for companies not only based on location, industry and size, but also according to how they are personally connected to a business.

“You can see how you’re related to any company through your company network,” LinkedIn explains. Results are weighted according to keywords used and the strength of searchers' connections to companies.

LinkedIn is also enabling users to filter search results according to location, industry, hiring opportunities and more. Users also have the option to “follow” companies so they can “keep track of news, hiring and other major events.”

Brands will want to optimize their LinkedIn pages in order to be included as results in relevant searches, and they will want to attract more connections and followers in order to leverage the site's new connection-savvy search feature. Offering quality content to users could be an important way to get word-of-web LinkedIn referrals, gain followers and convert users.

While all businesses might benefit from a LinkedIn presence, these developments will be especially valuable to B2B companies trying to enter the social arena. As Brafton has reported, a study from Gigya indicates that LinkedIn may be a top channel to connect with B2B execs as B2B sign-ins are on the rise.

Katherine Griwert is Brafton's Marketing Director. She's practiced content marketing, SEO and social marketing for over five years, and her enthusiasm for new media has even deeper roots. Katherine holds a degree in American Studies from Boston College, and her writing is featured in a number of web publications.