A question for you.
As you use LinkedIn and look at the profiles of other members, do you consider yourself more like:
a) James Bond on a covert mission to infiltrate enemy lines and weed out enemy spies where stealth and secrecy is paramount and anonymity is your watchword ; or
b) A business networker happy to let people know that you’ve found something of interest on their profile?
While I can see a certain attraction in the James Bond option, I’m not sure that I could quite live up to the billing. So for me, I’m happy for people to see that I have visited their profile – in fact, on a number of occasions, I’ve had people check my profile out in return and then contacted me. Invariably, we have connected up as a result.
There are others, however, who feel more comfortable in the more secretive role and, at the end of the day, it is up to you. LinkedIn gives you three different options allowing you to:
i) choose to be completely anonymous as you navigate around the site so that all that appears to others when they check is “Anonymous LinkedIn User”;
ii) provide basic details about yourself (ie. general job role and location) so that it appears as something like “Someone in the Human Resources industry from London, United Kingdom”;
iii) simply display your full details which includes name, photo and the ubiquitous ‘professional headline’.
Your options to change this are in the settings page under “Privacy Controls”.
Which option to take?
Personally, I feel that for most people you ought to take the plunge and display your full details – it means that people whose profiles you look at will know that you have done so and really that’s how it should be. I mean do you really walk round networking events in a balaclava until you decide who you want to talk to?
You’ll also find that it can be great passive marketing tool – what displays in their “Who’s viewed my profile” list is your name, photo and the all important ‘Professional headline’. If you have got that set up correctly then you have the ability to get the core messages of what you offer in terms of services, skills or products right in front of the very people you want to attract. Not bad from just visiting their profile page, eh?
There’s an additional – and possibly important point to remember – if you take the option to display full details then you in turn will be able to see the details of people visiting your profile (along the lines outlined above, of course). If you choose either of the others, then you simply will not. So if you are interested in who has shown an interest in your profile, then you know what you need to do!
By the way, don’t think of this as just a bit of an “ego” thing. Personally, I prefer to equate it to your website analytics, something which will ultimately help you target the content in your profile more accurately – and an opportunity to link up with people who have shown an interest in what you do if you like.
So my advice would be to show yourself and let yourself be seen … unless you’re searching for Ernst Blofeld’s profile of course, in which case have your dark glasses and bag of tricks close at hand!