LinkedIn, as you already know, is a social networking platform for professionals. It is no secret, then, that there is business to be found on LinkedIn for companies of many sizes and industries. If you are a small business owner, you may be confused as to whether you should use your company name or personal name for your LinkedIn Profile name. Be confused no more, as I always recommend you use your personal name, and here’s why:
- As mentioned, LinkedIn is a network for professionals, not companies. We’re not talking about Hoovers here; instead of being a database of companies, LinkedIn is a database of people. Professionals are connecting with each other, finding each other and creating new relationships, answering questions, providing advice, etc. If your name is a company name, why would I want to connect with you? What value is there from a social networking perspective of connecting with a business? I realize that, as a business, you want to get some free advertising on LinkedIn, but do this in your profile, not in your name. And you will find that people are not necessarily looking for vendors, so an indirect approach (utilizing Q&A and/or Group Discussion Boards with your expertise, etc.) will establish your credibility better than merely sending out advertisements to all of your connections.
- In general, the more real and genuine you are the more people with trust you. A lot of professionals are still turned off by social networking, and are especially weary of their privacy on social media. If you, with a business name, wants to connect with someone, they might think suspiciously of you. After all, a business name creates a shield and makes you a little invisible. Social networking is all about being transparent and paying it forward, so drop the shield.
- People buy from people, not companies. Even companies buy from people, because it is the people inside the company making the purchase. If you want to connect with future customers, connect with them from a personal perspective, in which case you’ll have a much higher potential of winning business from them.