LinkedIn: Top 5% Viewed Profile

linkedin scam?The other day I got an email from LinkedIn congratulating me for having one of the top 5% viewed profiles for 2012. My first thought was, “According to what math?” Is that unique views? How are repeat views weighted? I resisted posting their pre-loaded tweet because I wanted to consider it more. That rockstar number didn’t seem to match the stats I saw on my profile. But then again I don’t pay for premium membership so I don’t get all the information on who’s viewed my profile.

This evening in my Facebook feed people are mocking the acknowledgements of !%, 5% and 10% most viewed profiles as BS equivalent to the Who’s Who books that get people to pay money to see their name in print. In this case the commodity is that most precious of resources – social media buzz.

True with 200 million members on LinkedIn, even the top 1% viewed profiles are in very good company with 2 million other people. The 5%ers with 10 million  and the 10%ers with 20 million.  Using the stats of percentages LinkedIn can send out congratulatory notes to many more people.  And with percentiles that means there are outliers on the other end as well.  Profiles that never get viewed.  Yes, percentiles are rather mushy math, but that doesn’t make them bogus.

But does that really mean those statistics are completely meaningless? Another way of looking at it is, if your profile was in one of those percentiles viewed out of the 200 Million possible profiles to view, that means MANY, MANY people viewed your profile.  And that’s good for your business.

One of the other reasons I didn’t post the pre loaded tweet was I saw an opportunity. If I did make the top 5% of viewed profiles that must mean I’m doing something right.  Maybe not as right as the 1%, but something different from 95% of the other users on LinkedIn.  Why just tweet LinkedIn’s pre-loaded “Yay Me!” tweet?  Why not also consider what I might be doing, write the blog post and share my strategies?  Not just building LinkedIn’s brand, but also building my growing reputation as knowing about social media.

Then I started thinking about it.  It could be.  I live my life very differently from a good 95% of the world.  I’m doing some things very differently than the vast majority of LinkedIn users.

Here’s my best guess on some of the ways I engage with LinkedIn that may have gotten my profile in the top 5% viewed.

1) Follow Up Within 24 Hours - when I go to networking events or meet someone new with whom I would like to stay  in touch for business purposes I follow up within 24 hours with an email and/or a LinkedIn connection request. And I personalize the message referencing our conversation.  The reply and acceptance rate is much higher within that 24 hours.

2)Engage in Groups – I engage in conversations in groups that I’m genuinely interested in and I don’t just post my link and leave. When I answer people’s questions or engage in the conversation I notice the people with whom I’m engaging tend to look at my profile and often send a connection invitation.  I’ve even had “conversations” that began in LinkedIn groups turn into live meetings – via  Skype due to geographical differences.

3) Maximize My Profile – Have you noticed how much real estate LinkedIn gives you?  Thousands and thousands of characters!  I’ll bet a good 90% of people on LinkedIn aren’t utilizing this resource! Add the summary section – this is a great opportunity to articulate who you are and what you are about.  Don’t just cut and paste your resume into the job descriptions.  Use real sentences to describe what you do and use all the space they provide you. And use Keywords!  Recruiters, event planners seeking speakers, etc search LinkedIn via keywords.  Use those words in your profile and it will pop up in more searches – maybe the search of just the person with whom you need to connect.

Also you get to tag your profile with up to 50 keywords in the “Skills & Expertise” section.  Use all 50!

4) Lead a Public Life – This isn’t going to be for everyone and isn’t appropriate for every one. It is in my case, probably a contributing factor to the number of times my profile is viewed.  I speak regularly and lately have begun to give presentations hosted by organizations such as the Silicon Valley Business Journal and the San Francisco Bar Association.  Those audiences tend to do their homework and research who they are going to be listening to and most use LinkedIn.  I do notice spikes in my views around speaking presentations.

Even when I’m not promoting or following up on connections made at a presentation, I have many fishing nets out there in the raging river of online communication.  People may be finding my LinkedIn profile via my MeetUp profile, or the button on my website or my Wall Street Journal or Forbes profiles.

It doesn’t diminish the value for your personal brand and your business if lots of other people are also having their profiles viewed.  The point is lots of people are viewing yours and every set of eyeballs is a potential connection, client, or joint venture.  So before you dismiss it all as a gimmick and scam what about a moment of appreciation for this powerful tool for 200 million people to connect and generate business.  Gratitude for this tool that is making it possible for people world-wide to engage in capitalism through collaboration & cooperation.  If you were lucky enough to get one of those 1%, 5% or 10% congratulations you are a leader.  People are tuning into find out what you have to say. What ‘cha gonna do with it?