Well, the answer’s yes of course – but you want to know why.
So let me tell you a story…
Jess has been running her freelance Project Management and Consultancy business for a while – things are going quite well.
Of course Jess has a LinkedIn account – she’s had it for… well, ages. When she left her corporate role she updated it, making sure she’d identified the right skills and including lots of detail about her previous experience – well, the bits she could remember anyway. She’s also added a bit about herself, what she wants from her new role and why she makes a good PM, that’s all she needs isn’t it!?
Sometimes Jess browses her feed, get’s involved in Fred’s conversations about the perils of outsourcing and posts about a networking event she’s attended or book she’s reading.
But Jess isn’t entirely sure what the point of LinkedIn is.
Sometimes when she comments on one of Tara’s contentious posts she immediately wishes she hadn’t and the flurry of notifications keeps disrupting her ‘actual’ work. Then there are those odd notifications, “Joe Smith viewed your profile” – who is Joe Smith? Why did he view it? Is this a good thing?
What should Jess be getting out of LinkedIn?
Who actually looks at your LinkedIn profile?
She’s not looking for a job so Jess isn’t interested in recruiters looking for her skills. When you’re running your own business you want clients or customers to get in touch – but how do you know if you’re reaching the right people?
Joe Smith is a heating engineer… Is he just going to hassle Jess about boiler servicing? What’s this all about?
Obviously Jess doesn’t know this, but Joe has had an idea – a forum for property owners where he can share tips on energy use and collaborate with some of his network of trades. He has lots of contacts with the same target audience but he hasn’t worked out how to put everything together. A friend of his, a business coach, suggested looking for someone with project management experience; Joe then saw Jess’ post about collaboration when her old colleague Rob commented on it. Joe’s a friend of Rob and trusts him, so a connection with Rob gives Jess extra credit.
It’s not just your network – it’s their network too.
Why are they looking?
Joe was specifically looking for someone to solve a problem he’s having, but Pawanjit, last week, was responding to the book review she’d posted – the same taste in books is a good enough reason to connect with someone isn’t it?
And sometimes Jess will recognise the name of the person from a networking event she barely remembers – whether or not they need a Project Manager, there is some reason they’ve decided to check her out. The problem is, Jess is never sure why they’re looking and what she should do about it.
You probably won’t know exactly why people are looking at your profile, but you can still make sure they like what they find.
What are these people looking for?
Well, this obviously depends on their interests – as we’ve already said – but at a basic level, these people are all looking for potential connections and that most likely means a person they can relate to. Is that what they find looking at Jess’ profile?
- Jess’ profile picture was taken from her previous corporate job, she’s grimacing slightly – has never liked it, but doesn’t liked having her photo taken either. And the banner behind her photo is the standard blue which means she’s never uploaded her own, Jess did think about it but wasn’t sure what to use so didn’t do anything with it. The pictures say nothing really about Jess at all.
- Her headline – Project manager and consultant – it tells people what she does, doesn’t it? Unless they don’t have a project yet, or don’t realise what kind of consultancy she offers.
- The experience on her profile is corporate so it doesn’t look like she’s interested in small businesses, but actually these are the people Jess would most like to reach out to.
- The summary is full of buzzwords and corporate speak, the kind of things everyone used in her previous role. But to the small businesses potentially looking for her support now, Jess’ language doesn’t mean anything – except that they’re not sure they could talk to her.
It’s true Jess won’t always know who’s looking at her profile, but what she does need to be sure of is when someone does look, the profile reflects her and what she offers.
Joe Smith is actually one of Jess ideal clients, a successful business owner looking to grow and try new things. He has a great network and a growing customer base, he’s considering how to take on more work as well as increasing his scope so that ‘all his eggs aren’t in one basket.’ His conversations with his coach have helped him explore opportunities but he knows he needs more practical help to get things done.
Joe needs Jess’ help – but looking at her profile he’s not sure. He’s going to connect because of her post and the connection with Rob, but he’s not going to get in touch just yet.
People are looking for valuable connections on LinkedIn, for people who have something to offer. Show them why a connection with you would be a good one.
Your LinkedIn profile is important
Because LinkedIn is a space where people are looking for contacts like you. It’s a space where you can show people a little of yourself and use your network to endorse your skills and act as advocates for you.
Think about who is checking out your LinkedIn profile, and make sure they’re seeing the real you. A person they’d like to connect with, that’s the point of LinkedIn after all.
If you don’t feel that your LinkedIn profile is doing you justice, I’ve written a blog with some tips on how to update it The 9 Step Solution for Your Best LinkedIn Profile.