Whenever I start a new job, one of the ways I get to know my fellow colleagues is to take a tour through their social media networks and complete a LinkedIn audit.
This helps me learn more about their backgrounds, to see what the company values terms of accomplishments, and to get a pulse on how much of the organization’s content is being shared by employees.
And I’m not the only one who does that—your prospective clients, existing customers, and reporters are also looking at your employees’ profiles, and making key business decisions based on them.
This makes it essential that your employees are actively engaged on social media, and acting as a brand ambassador, especially on LinkedIn.
But too often, those valuable LinkedIn profiles are incomplete or feature seriously outdated messaging.
That’s why there’s no better time than now to tackle a quick LinkedIn audit.
A LinkedIn Audit: Seven Profile Elements to Review
The seven elements that are essential to review are:
- Profile picture
- Company description
- Contact information
Your LinkedIn profile photo acts as your avatar across the site, showing up in search results, your connections’ news feed, and any comments you make. A great LinkedIn photo is one that shows off a little personality while still being professional.
A few things that should not appear in your photo:
- A photo with additional people (or their appendages) in it
- Photo of a child or pet
- Inappropriate backgrounds, such as a bed, scantily clad people, etc.
- Photo that not even your mother would recognize as present-day you
An up-to-date company description is one of the most frequently outdated items I come across in a LinkedIn audit.
Similarly, new hires may forget to update their LinkedIn profile to note their new role with your company, leaving their old place of employment (who may even be a competitor) front-and-center, which can cause confusion.
Additionally, every time your company rebrands or expands its core business, company descriptions included in job accomplishment and summary fields need to be updated.
Provide your employees with a solid messaging one-liner to use to describe who your company is and what it does.
Another frequently overlooked area when employees change jobs is the URL field.
Although this is an optional item for your employees to include, you’ll want to make sure, at a minimum, that there aren’t links to their former employers’ blog or website lurking there.
Every profile needs to include some publicly accessible (or at least accessible to connections) contact details.
Corporate email addresses don’t need to be shown as the default, but it’s helpful to add them to each employee’s profile, to make it easy for other employees to more easily find and add them.
LInkedIn has stated profile activity is one of the factors that determine where a profile shows up in search results.
In addition to updating job descriptions and adding new project examples, status updates also count as activity.
Encourage your employees to regularly share relevant company or industry content to keep their profile active.
There are differing points-of-view around building connections on LinkedIn.
There are many members who ascribe to an open networking policy, frequently connecting with relevant people they haven’t met or worked with.
Others guard their connections fiercely, preferring to add only current or former co-workers.
I personally encourage using LinkedIn as a replacement for trading business cards.
This is another place to check for outdated company descriptions.
Also ensure it provides an engaging description of each employee’s area of expertise, to provide customers and prospects with context when they are communicating with them.
Post-audit Action Steps
To capture and share the results of my LinkedIn audit, I created a standardized template for capturing and comparing results across the team being audited.
Feel free to make a copy of it and use it as a starting point for your LinkedIn audit.
In addition to the LinkedIn audit tab, I also include a reference tab that has the two to three sentences worth of corporate messaging that should be reflected in LinkedIn profiles whenever your team is talking about your company.
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