Yesterday, I received an e-mail from LinkedIn congratulating me for having a profile that was “one of the top 1% most viewed LinkedIn profiles in 2012.” Wow! Then, I went back to work.
“Wait,” you might say to me, “isn’t that some kind of achievement to stop and appreciate? Doesn’t it mean something?”
Nope. Well, probably not. Well, very unlikely.
Just as we hear how every company is “#1 in LIMS” or “Top ELN in the World” or “Best Services Vendor, Ever,” any number I hear just leaves me unimpressed. Statistics are too easily created and too difficult to make meaningful AND to be properly understood. Thus, being in the top 1% means that my profile is viewed more than the next 99 profiles around me, more or less. In a specialty world such as laboratory informatics, is this some kind of feat? After all, it’s much less likely anyone would want to see my profile than that of a web developer or a dentist, so could this truly be some true achievement on my part?
I’m still not convinced that it is. First of all, I notice that there are many profiles in LinkedIn that barely have anything in them. People want to get in there because they know recruiters hang out there and it’s a good way to help find a job, or because everyone they know urges them to create a profile in there. At the same time, running my own business, I do make some extra effort to be noticed. Between those two factors, that probably does have a lot do do with my profile being quite noticed.
For those small businesses reading this thinking they need to immediately get into LinkedIn because a highly-viewed profile will get them business, I would caution them that this is not what it means. First, I’ll just add that LihnkedIn is known as a great area for recruiters for a reason — because it is a great area for recruiters. Putting a profile in LinkedIn is going to attract people in a similar way to building a web-site. I mean that it could be a factor in your marketing mix but those who take the “build it and they will come” attitude toward it will be disappointed just as they always are. Marketing is a lot of work — never quite that simple. On the other hand, LinkedIn can be one more useful place to post business-related material. My view is that its best use is as a way to stay in-touch with people in a world where everyone switches jobs, moves around, and is constantly changing. For that, alone, I find it useful to be in. But beyond that, don’t give up the other marketing vehicles in your marketing mix for it.