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What sort of LinkedIn user are you?

Whenever I talk about the types of users on LinkedIn there are always people that look sheepishly at their shoes as they embarrassingly recognise themselves.

That’s not something to worry about – it’s great as now you can evolve and move forwards.

You need to think about how you want to be seen, where and how to make that journey as you read this post as lots of LinkedIn users fall into these categories:

Collectors: These have a profile, but it isn’t very reflective of them, often doesn’t include their value or their outcomes. They connect with everyone as they “might be useful” one day, or they “might” recall their profile amongst the thousands, and “might” buy from them. They don’t do anything else but collect. They haven’t stopped to think about commercial peril, algorithms, IP, or data protection.

Models: See their happy smiley photographs of holiday, wedding or in a bar. They wonder why no one takes them as a serious business professional and often their profiles have way too much personal content and information, but their “personal brand” and internet profile is the reason why they’re there, but they often either accept the odd connection from someone they know or collect (as above) as more makes them look #instafamous

Dolphins: Boom! They explode out of their quiet corner and make their presence felt, changing profiles, connecting with people they know, maybe even comment in a group, or do a status update post, or two, for a week …. and then disappear for another six months to wonder why LinkedIn doesn’t work for them.

Panicking people user: Many don’t appreciate that you can “read the ripples” once you have worked your way around LinkedIn. For example, I bet you have all had connection requests from people you haven’t spoken to in ages (just before, or after you have read that their firm or business has had layoffs or redundancies) and they’re desperate to be your best friend and to have some of your time or insight (as their current role has just been put at risk, or they’ve lost their job).

Before this you have probably been ignored for years! But now that they need you … Panic! Panic! Must get LinkedIn sorted, frantically polishing profile, telling everyone that will listen about your situation.

Now on a personal note I feel for them and their situation, but LinkedIn is something everyone should be doing all the time, not just when they or you need it.

Bats: These users sit silently in their corner until you wake them by sending them a connection invite or a message which they will respond to … and then go back in their corner to wonder why LinkedIn doesn’t work for them.

Shouters and braggers: Must tell the world they are fabulous at every opportunity and that we should read their blog, see their latest website, complete their survey, read their torrent of group posts, buy their book, follow them and more. Posting loads of times each day how fabulous they are and that we should read, buy … Look at me I have thousands of connections (and I don’t know many of them), thousands of endorsements, and I am the most influential in the group (maybe proving they have lots of free time and no work?), probably a headline image including a Forbes logo or Fox News.

Recycler: These people share general good content, sharing the posts of other users, other thought leaders, and famous types. Becoming great providers of information, great people to follow but very few know what they do as they don’t tell anyone and don’t demonstrate any thought leadership of their own just share others.

International Man of Mystery: Now these come in both male and female types, but when you read their profile they are so empty or, on the flip side, jam packed full of jargon and buzzwords that you have no idea what they do or talk about! You need to consider your audience and talk to them in language they understand, and that might not be yours.

Professional: Your profile looks like you, includes your value, you talk to people, you connect with people that you know and are happy to be associated with and get all your work through word of mouth or referral, some of which comes from LinkedIn. The digital twin of you.

Now I bet as you read that you were reflecting on not just your own profile but those people that you know and are connected to and you put them into those categories – am I right? Now imagine all the people you know doing the same thing to you – scary isn’t it?

Just as you think about others based on their profile and actions, they are doing the same to you.

It amazes me the Mexican wave of realisation when I ask at a conference who looks up people before they decide to meet them, and all the hands shoot up – but the sheepishness when I ask who realises that people look them up before they decide to meet them? This stuff works both ways.

23 May 2023