I was shocked to realise that it’s over two years since I last wrote about Linkedin on this blog. Given its value to accountants I thought I’d offer a quick update. What follows is taken from the start of my talks about using Linkedin to stand out and win more business.

I would stress that I am not a Linkedin trainer as such. My approach is more to highlight the benefits of general housekeeping,  and also how easy it can be to use Linkedin to short-cut the business networking process. Inevitably I also debunk the hype and clarify the many misconceptions and misunderstandings that persist as regards Linkedin. And I highlight the opportunities it presents to those accountants who wish to benefit from these.

For our purposes Linkedin is best thought of as an online business networking platform. And recognised as being quite distinct from other (so-called) ‘social media’.  Yes, Linkedin can also be used to aid the recruitment process, but the sheer number of UK (and worldwide) users clearly exceeds the number of those in the recruitment market – by many, many multiples.

Why do any housekeeping?

When I speak at partner/manager conferences, many attendees admit that they haven’t reviewed their Linkedin profile since it was set up some years ago. They may even have outsourced this to someone in marketing!

The risk is that your out of date and incomplete profile is damaging your reputation, brand and referrals. Why would that be?

Quite simply, when someone has met you or been referred to you and they search for you online, it is quite likely they will see your Linkedin profile before they find anything more about you online or even on your firm’s website. We might like to hope that they will always go direct to our website. But we cannot dictate how everyone uses the web. I know I’m not alone in typically finding it faster and easier to look at Linkedin profiles than to dig around and find the profiles page  on an accountancy firm’s website.

Does your Linkedin profile and headshot enhance or embarrass your potential to be contacted by someone looking you up online? Is it up to date?

Even if YOU don’t intend to be active on Linkedin, some simple housekeeping cannot do any harm.

Some people tell me they are concerned about increasing the amount of spam and sales messages they will get on Linkedin – if they change anything. All I can say is that I have over 11,000 followers on Linkedin and receive barely any spam. I’m choosy about who I connect with and have opted for the security settings in Linkedin that limit the facility to send me spam. And I’ve turned off all notifications I don’t want to receive.  You can do the same.

First things first

Before you update your profile, you will want to review your settings. There is one in particular you will want to check so that your updates and tweaks are not all notified to your connections.

Steps

1 – Go to the ‘Me’ link, top right of your screen (on Linkedin). Click the down arrow next to your mini headshot

2 – Move your cursor down to click on the ‘Settings and privacy’ link in the ‘Account’ section.

3 – You’re now in the area where Linkedin tells you ‘You are the boss of your account’.

4 – In the left hand margin of the privacy section is a link for ‘How others see your Linkedin activity’. Click this.

5 – The page scrolls down to the section in question. Now check the line that says: ‘Share job changes, education changes and work anniversaries from profile’.

6 – You probably want to choose the option that says your network is NOT notified of such changes.  This means that on the right hand side of the screen beneath the word ‘change’ it should say ‘No’. If it says ‘Yes’ click the word ‘Change’  and pick ‘No’.

While you’re there…

While you’re in the ‘settings and privacy’ area of the site, I suggest you check out each setting and revise them to reduce the spam messages you get. Do this on each of the 4 pages:

  • Account
  • Privacy
  • Ads
  • Communication

I find it typically takes 10-20 minutes to get through the lot. And once done, that’s it. If you want to revise your settings again at any time it’s quick and easy to do.  Linkedin introduces new settings every now and then so it can be worth double checking things every few months but it’s not crucial.

Your profile

This is your personal ‘first impression’ to the world, to anyone who looks you up on line and to anyone who is recommended or referred to you and who themselves uses Linkedin a lot (as I do for example).

Who do you want to positively influence? What first impression do you want to give them? Prospective clients? Introducers? New partners? New staff? Suppliers? Colleagues from your international association? The list goes on and on.

Here is my list of Linkedin profile tips from 2012!  Little has changed – beyond the number of people now using Linkedin!

Summary

As I said earlier, you don’t need to be active on Linkedin  unless you have a specific goal and reason for doing so. But it must make sense to ensure that your profile here helps rather than hinders your business objectives.   Happy to share more on this if you’re interested. Just let me know. You’ll also find some older posts about Linkedin listed below. The basic messages are unchanged. It’s not too late to start catching up if you want to use Linkedin for lead generation or to secure any of the other business benefits I reference in my talks and workshops.