We’ve been writing quite a bit about LinkedIn and for LinkedIn in various capacities. LinkedIn is one of the main platforms we work with and on, because we mostly serve B2B businesses (we have proven LinkedIn to be extremely valuable for B2C businesses as well, but that’s for a different post).
Over the years we have taught and mentored many people (mostly C-Level but not only) on the proper use of LinkedIn for personal branding and for marketing. Lately, we noticed a growing trend in what people search for – information on the LinkedIn Private Mode.
We’ve written about the private mode, what it is and what it is used for in the past. However, the growing trend in searches, combined with the insights we get from our own profiles on LinkedIn and the number of “anonymous” searches, shows us that many people are simply getting obsessed with “not being seen”.
We will not repeat the LinkedIn private mode pros and cons here (there is a dedicated post for that on our blog), but we will repeat several key points and facts:
- We assume the growing trend in search for private mode on LinkedIn is correlated with the growing interest in privacy in light of GDPR laws and news about privacy breaches.
- LinkedIn private mode surfing means that you do not see who is searching for you in addition to not exposing yourself to others.
- LinkedIn private mode does not hide your profile in general, it only prevents people from seeing you looked at their profile. If you want to hide your profile (partially or fully) you need to mess around with the privacy settings on your account and on your profile.
Having said that, we have to wonder – what’s the obsession with this Private Mode on LinkedIn all about?
LinkedIn is a social media platform, albeit business oriented. With all the perfectly good and valid reasons for wanting to maintain privacy, you still have to remember, and realize that the main focus of LinkedIn (just as with any other platform) is the “social” aspect of it. It is a network and therefore cannot exist and cannot be beneficial without ….people and without connections between people.
Let’s suppose you are looking for a new prospect for your business, a lead, client, partner or anything else. What good would it be to not show other people that you have searched for them? In most cases these leads will not yet be in your network, meaning you cannot see their full contact details or send them an inMail (message inside LinkedIn) unless you pay for a very expensive premium account. However, if you search for them, find them and go look at their profile, while not in Private Mode, chances are they will see that you looked for them, go look at your profile and maybe even ask to connect. Even if they do not, they will be more responsive to connection requests if you have already openly gone and looked at their profile.
Private Mode surfing on LinkedIn also means you do not see who searched for you, even if they are not in Private Mode. This means you are missing out on important and rich business Intelligence information and insights. Again, where is the logic in that?
The only situation where private mode can be somewhat beneficial is for spying on competitors when you don’t want them to know you did this. However, for that purpose as well, there are ways and tools to do that without having to go into Private Mode on LinkedIn and you should first exhaust these ways before you choose to go “anonymous” on LinkedIn.
As a rule, we advocate for open and transparent conduct on social media (any and all social media) for both Individuals and Brands. This goes deeper into strategy and brand building than just the Privacy concerns, but simply put, if you really are obsessed with your privacy, don’t go on social media. Any social media. Otherwise, take a deep breath and invest in learning and understanding the proper use, the do’s and don’ts for each platform and use them well.
We realize this article doesn’t go into as many details about LinkedIn as it could have, but that’s because we could spend years and write whole books about LinkedIn (or about social media use). We just want people to stop for a moment, relax and think before they act.