What LinkedIn IS, is a powerful professional representation of you, the person, with the potential to reach 330+ million people worldwide. It represents your online business reputation and it’s no longer pragmatic to ignore the power of this platform and pretend no one will notice.
I worked with a CEO this week and in preparation for our social media training, I Googled his name to learn more about him. Much to his surprise (but not mine!), his LinkedIn profile was the #1 search result, higher even than his company website bio page, his Facebook page, or a number of other info sites.
For the past few years, he’s had a LinkedIn profile, but he wasn’t even sure who created it for him, he hadn’t looked at it in months, he had more than 100 unanswered connection requests and he hadn’t posted a photo on his profile (gasp!). He hadn’t seen any urgency or value in keeping LinkedIn updated or visiting frequently to post updates. Sound like anyone you know?
However, after I showed him that his neglected LinkedIn profile was the #1 thing that prospects, potential investors, business partners, vendors, future employees and other key people were reviewing prior to meeting with him, the light bulb came on! In about an hour, we strategized the key changes he needed to make to complete his profile and make it attractive to those looking to learn more about him and his company.
As you consider whether it’s worth ramping up your LinkedIn efforts, you might be thinking “I rarely attend networking events” or “I work in a position that I don’t have to directly sell products or services to others” or “I’m happy with my job and know I’ll never change companies.” This may lead you to then believe that LinkedIn is not for you – but I’d like you to reconsider and see your LinkedIn profile as your professional reputation management tool.
The next time a colleague asks to meet for coffee, or a new person joins your BNI networking group, or an organization is looking for a speaker at their next event, consider LinkedIn as your first stop to learn more about them. Find out what common connections you have, learn more about their life experiences, and see where you might be able to add value to them. And guess what? They most likely will be doing the same research on you – on LinkedIn! And if they find the cupboard bare, or minimally stocked, they may go shopping elsewhere.
The value of maintaining a current LinkedIn profile is significant and it’s one of those “don’t wait until you’re thirsty to dig a well!” situations. I would rather have you take down your profile entirely than to have a half-baked version; you are doing damage to your reputation by maximizing your presence, whether you know it or not. But, you can start today to build a powerful profile that represents you well and allows you to build and maintain valuable business relationships.
Stay tuned for the next piece of the puzzle (click here to read part 2), as we discuss how to solve this LinkedIn profile “problem” that is really just a great opportunity in disguise! In the meantime, let me know in the comments below how you plan to come out of hiding on LinkedIn!