Do you feel like you’re being followed on LinkedIn?

3-followersIf you feel like you’re being stalked while you are on LinkedIn then you might well be right. However, there’s no need to keep looking over your shoulder, it’s really not as sinister as it sounds – as it happens, I’m not thinking here about any external followers but rather 3 elements of your profile that accompany you and your activity around the site.

These 3 elements are your name, your photo and your Professional headline … and they really are key to your success.

They are highly visible in some of the most important places around the LinkedIn site. One is right at the top of your Personal Profile where they are the first things that people see as they land on your profile page and check you out – it’s hugely important to ensure that you get these right as they will set the scene for everything else that you then present below.

3 stalkers

The Key areas where they appear

However, perhaps more importantly, they also figure prominently in a variety of other locations which massively influence whether people actually get to see your Profile or not. These include:

  • LinkedIn Search results: the place where people may be looking for the skills and expertise that you offer. These three elements appear as part of the search results and will influence whether you then get seen or not;
  • Who’s viewed your Profile: when you look at someone’s profile then (if you have left the visibility as recommended) they will see these three elements and hopefully will be encouraged to get in contact;
  • LinkedIn homepage: the popup box which appears as people hover over your name as they look at your activity on their homepage;
  • People You May Know: the area which contains people that LinkedIn recommend you to look at connecting to;
  • Request to Connect: the details which pop up when you send someone an invitation request – hopefully you will have personalised the invite but, in any case. you need these elements there backing you up too;
  • Group Discussions: if you are creating discussions in the Groups then, particularly with the new format, your 3 key elements will be up there and personal;
  • Group members Section: speaking of Groups, they will also appear ion the Members Section where people may be trawling through the names to search out what they are looking for and you offer.

… essentially all of the key engagement places around LinkedIn and indeed beyond given that they also appear in the email that goes out to their Outlook account when you send an invite to people to connect.

We have to also bear in mind that most of us are “time poor”, so if we are searching for something on line and have a set of results in front of us, we skim through them with the base information they contain and, more often than not, make decisions based on that. So let’s make sure that they have as much as possible.

What is certain is that these three elements greatly influence people’s decision whether or not to click through to view your profile page or not … so we need to take great care of them and make sure that they work in harmony to our benefit.

What should I put in these three areas?

So, in terms of how to achieve that, here is some basic advice:

  1. Anything other than your name in your name field will distract people’s attention and could easily get your account restricted as it is against LinkedIn’s Terms and Conditions. So just make sure that you get your name in here and avoid the temptation of adding LION (for those quantity focused networkers out there), email addresses or anything else that might be more appropriate elsewhere.
  2. Your photo needs to be professional looking and “real” – a missing photo, or use of a logo or an avatar instead will immediately hamper your opportunities. Some people will even refuse point blank to connect with anyone who doesn’t have one and, in case you were wondering, a logo is just as bad. (Some more thoughts on profile photos can be found here)
  3. Finally the professional headline needs to convince in 120 characters – and the blink of an eye – that you are the right person to talk to and that your profile is worth a look. Don’t leave it just as your ‘Job title at Latest Company’ which is the default position, that is likely to tell me nothing of use if you are trying to convince me to use your services or skills. Oh, and it should pander to the needs of LinkedIn’s internal search as well. No small task, I know. (Ways to use your Professional Headline)

So embrace this trio of ‘stalkers’ and spend a little time in getting them looking good – it’ll help them do their job to promote you and give a good “first impression”. This in turn should help ensure your profile gets viewed and opens up the potential of a first contact and all that lies beyond!

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