If you’re not going to be active on Linkedin it can still be worthwhile having your profile there so that other people can find you. They may be looking for you specifically or simply for someone like you.
I’m lucky, despite having a very common name, if you Google Mark Lee from the UK you will find me immediately. That’s not the case for most people, nor is it the case if you’re outside the UK ;-( So unless you have a unique name, you will make it easier for others to find you, simply by registering on Linkedin.
Why might they be looking? There are many possible reasons:
Maybe they met you at a networking event and want to check your out online. Maybe they have been recommended or referred to you by a client, an ex-client, a referrer or an introducer? These days it’s very common to check people out online before engaging them. This applies to accountants as much as to anyone else.
And the simple truth is that, these days, it’s your Linkedin profile that’s likely to show up first when someone searches for you online. – Even if your website does contain a photo and a personal profile of you. Sadly, the websites of many smaller firms of accountants don’t contain any such photo or personal data anyway.
Other people who may want to find you are ex-colleagues who want to get back in touch. Perhaps they want to refer some work to you? Or maybe they are an ex-client who worked with you when you were with a previous firm. Or are they simply looking for someone with specific experience? Perhaps someone has recommended you but didn’t know your website details? Maybe they’ve checked your website but want to see what other people have said about you on your Linkedin profile?
Then there are the recruiters (in commerce, practice or in the recruitment business itself) who are looking for someone just like you. However secure you may feel in your current role, nothing lasts for ever. Far better to have built up your online profile BEFORE you need to rely on it. And in the current climate you may need to do so even if you think you have a strong offline network of business contacts.
Equally you may be able to source a new senior recruit through your Linkedin contacts. You could also find out more about newer clients and about key contacts at target clients before you approach them. Maybe someone you know, already knows them and could effect an introduction? The facility to do this in a professional way is one of Linkedin’s key distinguishing factors.
Many people use Linkedin as a directory and to find the profiles of other senior business people. Many of those who have their profile on Linkedin are happy passive users. Yes, there’s a lot more you can get from Linkedin but for many people it’s enough to simply ensure that they can be found if someone’s looking for them.
Linkedin also has the potential to be a more intimate way of networking than simply exchanging business cards with a stranger when attending networking event, conferences or exhibitions. In this connection I recently attended a social party, met an interim FD and remembered his name. The next day I looked him up on Linkedin and connected with him. This sort of facility allows us to maintain a wider network of contacts that has ever been possible in the past.
If you don’t yet have a profile on Linkedin or feel yours could do with a refresh, please download my free Linkedin profile tips – from the ‘free stuff’ page of this website.