LinkedIn is considered to be a business network, rather than a more personal network (like Facebook), so does that mean that your focus should be on your personal profile or your company?
Networking is about people. You meet, you get to know each other and when you have established a relationship you may work together.
People do business with people they like – and you can’t have a conversation with an organisation – only with an individual.
Yes, of course, there are times when someone is desperate for your kind of expertise, and you just happen to make contact at the perfect point in time. However, that’s quite unusual.
Let’s be honest, most business owners already have established relationships with providers of the wide range of services and products they require to conduct business. Large organisations have suppliers in place, although they may have acquired the account through a tender process or ‘beauty parade’. There are very, very few ‘blank canvasses’.
Businesses do change suppliers – for a whole variety of reasons. Surprisingly often that’s as a result of a relationship that the purchaser has established with someone.
Create a personal personal profile
No, that’s not an error – your personal profile needs to give anyone reading it a flavour of who you are and what you have to offer. It’s the equivalent of meeting someone at a networking event and introducing yourself and your business.
When you meet someone at a networking event you use conversational English (or whatever your native language happens to be). You don’t refer to yourself in the third person and you don’t use formal business-speak – so why would you write your opening ‘nice to meet you’ on LinkedIn that way?
There is a fine line between professional personal and intimate personal. While Facebook members are more than happy to talk about their families, their hobbies and their friends – LinkedIn is more business-focused. So adding your hobbies, how many kids you have or indicating whether you are single or not is unnecessary.
If you do volunteer work or are working on a research project or something that isn’t directly to do with your business, but impacts on the community or business world, that’s different. It adds a layer of information about the kind of person you are.
The Company page
It’s good to have a company page – it allows you to pull the logo into your personal profile when you enter your current position. It also gives you a place to refer people for further information.
If you have specific products or services, adding Showcase pages for each of these also offers an opportunity to add information.
This not only provides information that you can link to directly on LinkedIn, but also adds information to feed the search engines. LinkedIn ranks very, very high due to the massive amount of activity on the site. Your business information on LinkedIn may rank even higher than your company website – for that reason alone.
So the answer to the question Corporate or Personal is personal first, corporate second – but both are important.