As a user-generated networking database, LinkedIn is one of the most powerful business research tools available. That is, so long as your privacy settings don’t earn you a creepy reputation in the process.
I’m an active user of LinkedIn. For me personally, and for my business, it’s by far the most valuable social networking site.
I use LinkedIn it to keep up-to-date with my network’s movements and achievements, and to stay informed about topics that interest me.
I also use LinkedIn extensively for research. For example,
- to confirm or identify a person’s job title or location
- to identify buyers and influencers within a particular organisation
- to target organisations and business partners
- to monitor competitors.
There’s no shortage of blog posts about the multitude of mistakes you should avoid making on LinkedIn. However if, like me, you use LinkedIn for research, the most valuable tip I can offer is to review your privacy settings.
The key to being a good LinkedIn stalker is to look without being seen.
The key to being a good LinkedIn stalker is to look without being seen. You can do that on LinkedIn by browsing in ‘private’ mode (see below). In ‘private’ mode, your name and other profile information won’t be visible to the individuals you stalk.
As LinkedIn points out, the private mode setting is affected by the type of account you have.
In the last few weeks I’ve called out two LinkedIn members who, by each repeatedly viewing my profile without making any effort to engage or connect, were causing me to feel uncomfortable. It’s worth noting that both were male and located in Sydney, where I live.
It’s fair to say that both members were chagrined by how their behaviour had been perceived.
And, interestingly, both blamed automated processes.
“Nothing creepy, sorry. You come up in an automated search. Apologies if it seems strange. Now you have me a bit worried that I might seem that way… eeek”
“Our Marketing Coordinator uses my LinkedIn to determine the right target audience for us to work with. The processes he uses are semi-automated so I can see how this would happen – and how it might look to you. My sincere apologies – you can rest assured that I am not stalking you, and we have not been purposely reviewing your profile repeatedly!”
In professional stalking, as in life, be the best you can be. Don’t let automation creep out those you seek to be closest to.