You are almost certainly on LinkedIn, the professional social network, which was recently purchased by Microsoft for the modest sum of $26.2 billion USD. When you’re logged in, you probably often encounter this picture instead of a real face on a good number of personal accounts.
What goes through your mind when you see one? Do you think they are a newbie who hardly knows anything about social media? Or maybe someone who hasn’t had time to complete their profile and put their picture in? Or someone who has a reason to hide his or her real identity? Or perhaps refuses to be clearly identified, or who simply is there without really wanting to be.
Unfortunately these profiles remain “anonymous” for a long time, if not forever.
It’s a shame. Actually it’s almost appalling.
LinkedIn the place for networking business people
LinkedIn, like other socio-professional networks, was created to promote trade, contacts, jobs searches and meetings between business people and professionals. If your presence on this platform is a “non-presence”, you’re harming yourself as much as you are your business. You’re sending a signal that you don’t want to be there and that your company is not willing to do business with anyone on social networks. Above all, you’re sending the message that you don’t want to be contacted. So why be half there, or a quarter there?
Also, ever notice the titles of many of these anonymous people? Presidents, vice presidents, officers, directors, vendors and other key corporate positions are represented, without a photo. Sometimes, without even a company name or logo link, which can very easily lead you to conclude that the company doesn’t even exist.
Are you ready to do business with faceless people? Would you accept an invitation from an anonymous contact? How could you possibly recognize such a person at an industry event? Why would someone neglect a simple photo and deprive themselves of potential business relationships?
Still skeptical? Here is some proof for you. The heat map (The title picture of this blog) represents what LinkedIn users first look at when viewing profiles on LinkedIn. The picture is the number one area, followed by your professional title. This also applies to other social networks in general.
Grab your cameras !
If you don’t have time to fill out all the profile information fields on your LinkedIn profile (including your professional title without a spelling mistake!). Set aside a minute or two to take a nice relaxed professional photo to accompany your profile. That it in itself is a good invitation to make contact. And in business as in the rest of your life, don’t forget to smile. Its much more inviting!
What is less inviting however is the LinkedIn news feed. As mentioned, in addition to enabling Job searches and meetings, LinkedIn was founded on the principle of networking between business people and professionals, as well as the exchange of expertise.
There was a time where members could submit questions to the community that now has 433 million members, and get an answer quickly. In fact most of the answers were quick and relevant. The more answers and better quality of answers a person provided, the more they became an expert in the eyes of others and the LinkedIn algorithm. Hence, the need for a photo to be well recognized by other members.
This function has disappeared and LinkedIn has put priority on newsfeed. As stated by Sébastien Provencher, on the sale of LinkedIn to Microsoft LaPresse +: “Microsoft is well positioned to improve certain aspects of the LinkedIn platform, such as “news feed” which today, you would have to agree, is poor. ” Mr. Provencher also notes that advertising, which reportedly was 581 million for LinkedIn in 2015, also represents a golden opportunity for Microsoft’s search engine, Bing. “They have just acquired something that allows them to push harder in the B2B network. ”
It is true that the current thread is a somewhat crappy. Posts are impossible to change once published and are used primarily for members to submit “news” without much interaction. It is in sort of a no man’s land between Facebook and Twitter versions of this function. It attempts to imitate them but without the objectives of either.
Much has been done to create a clear and detailed presence for you, with your photo as an identifier. It is a virtual CV into which the sum of your professional experiences are grouped, which happens to be LinkedIn’s basic function as social and professional platform. Likewise, the newsfeed function deserves to be reviewed and refocused on professional communication among its members. LinkedIn stands to gain a lot if Microsoft can get the current LinkedIn team to put priority on such issues.
Oh, and don’t forget to add comment when you go on the newswire instead of just “likes”, a feature that was copied from Facebook and should be replaced by something more … let’s say professional?