LinkedIn: Should Your Profile Be Public Or Private?

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Linkedin LogoRecently a question from one of my networking colleagues took me by surprise: “Should my LinkedIn profile be public or private?”

Being a marketing specialist, I advocate personal social profiles be public, but I also looked at potential advantages/disadvantages for keeping this info private. Here’s my short list below:

  1. I don’t want everyone to see it. No problem. People won’t see your profile if: a) they are not a direct (1st-level) or 2nd-level connection; b) if they don’t have a premium account. Think about the unintended consequences of this action (will discuss below).
  2. I don’t want to be spammed. Great point, and yes — keeping your profile private will keep this annoying problem from happening.
  3. I don’t want to be stalked. Another great point. Hiding your profile will handle this issue well, but is not foolproof.

Unintended consequences resulting from keeping your profile private may not seem like a big deal, but could prove to be down the road. Below I’m outlining a few points to consider. By the way, according to LinkedIn, if you choose to switch your profile from public to private, it may take a few weeks before the search engines catch up.

Now, my reasons for keeping your profile public:

  1. Job searches. Everyone knows job searching has been very tough since the decline in 2009. Potential job employers are searching LinkedIn profiles by both job titles (current and past) and your skill sets. By keeping your profile public and posting 1-2 updates per day, you will increase your chances of being viewed by a potential employer. Unintended consequence: your profile won’t turn up in Google or Bing search results. Think about your strategy for finding employment.
  2. Project searches. This is, to me, the same as landing job opportunities. You have great thoughts and a strong background in your industry. When you participate in groups daily (keep your target market in mind!) and post 1-2 updates per day to your own profile, you will be found more often in Google searches. Unintended consequence: you are invisible, and potential projects could wind up in your competition’s arms.
  3. Influencer marketing. Businesses look ways to not only reach their target market, but also those influencers that positively resonate with their target market. Could you find an influencer if their LinkedIn profile was marked private? Likely not.

Bottom line:

  • Hiring managers look at profiles to determine the legitimacy and credibility of a potential candidate;
  • CEOs and business owners look at both the personal profile and the business page to confirm the credibility of a potential contract or project award;
  • Marketers look at profiles to find the influencers of a particular industry, including groups they participate in, posts/blogs they follow, and brands they support.

If you know other reasons to keep your profile private, please share them here — I enjoy learning from others! If you want help setting up your profile or business page, please contact me here.

Be strategic. Be visible. Be found.


Written by Lisa Raymond

Lisa Raymond

Lisa Raymond is the owner of Visibly Media LLC, a marketing company specializing in social media and inbound marketing strategies. She has a 20 year background in print and website graphic design. Lisa is a member of the Social Media Marketing Society, Business Mentor Team, AmSpirit Business Connections, and Toastmasters International. Lisa is a fanatic about sharing new ideas & tips about social media to business owners and has given presentations at both The Hive @ Central in Phoenix and THINKspot! in Mesa. Lisa has been married to the love of her life, Michael, for over 25 years; she is a mom of 4 (two still at home, one a proud Marine!), and a new grandma of a beautiful granddaughter! Lisa is THE QUEEN in her realm of organized chaos!