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Screen Shot 2013-02-13 at 11.46.40 AM Last week the Internet exploded with lots of “Hurray! I have one of the top (1/5/10%) most viewed LinkedIn profiles for 2012” tweets, Facebook messages and emails. What’s going on here? Slick marketing campaign or desperate attempt to get more people talking about LinkedIn? In this article, I analyze the whole Top Percent phenomenon and Campaign.

 

MATH
So if you’re lucky enough to have gotten recognition for being in the Top 1% of most viewed, you’re actually one of 2 million (roughly) celebrated recipients. 1% of 200 million LinkedIn members = 2 million. I say ‘roughly’ because the award is technically for last year and there were approximately 178 million LinkedIn members in December 2012. Feeling slightly less special? I expect so. And you 10 percenters? There are 20 million of you. Looking at the big picture, congratulations it seems, are thick on the ground.

 

METRICS
How exactly did LinkedIn decide who got the Top Percent recognition? Here’s an official explanation from LinkedIn courtesy of Jorgen Sundberg at Link Humans:

 

“We have reached out to our members who were one of the first to have become a member, who have had the most profile views, who are the most connected in the world or a specific country, and our members who have received the most endorsements. From our 200 million members, we looked at those who have active accounts and were within the first million to register, have more than 100 profile views (excluding self-profile views), have more than 100 connections, and have the most endorsements for popular skills in their country. Unfortunately we aren’t sharing specifics around the details which make up this number, but want to thank you for being a part of the LinkedIn network.”

 

So it’s really a shout out to the early-adopters which is the sort of thing that a company that thinks like a start-up is prone to do. “Most profile views” is interesting but what does that measure, exactly? This recognition has nothing to do with Recommendations, so Recs are apparently lacking currency. “Most endorsements”, there’s a poke in the eye for everyone who’s ignoring the whole Endorsement game. They won’t tell you how many Endorsements count but that’s in line with the anti-gaming strategy of limiting everyone with the 99+ badge. These metrics measure ‘activity’ of folks who were first in line.

 

MONEY
Perhaps there’s a revenue strand to this marketing exercise? Diane Tuman made the same point in her Guardian article on Feb 11th after finding herself amongst the ‘active’ elite:

 

“Now what? Find out who viewed my profile on LinkedIn? For $7.95 a year, I can do that by “unlocking the full list of people who have viewed me”. Pretty cheap to find out who’s trailing me for an entire year. But let’s do the math again. If just 20% of the 10m people who got this message were curious enough to pay $7.95 to see who’s following them, that’s 2m people generating approximately $15m for LinkedIn’s bottom line. Fifteen million dollars – all as a result of an email telling us we are special. Brilliant, LinkedIn. But you’re not getting my $7.95 today. Probably not tomorrow, either. I might be curious who is viewing my profile, but I’ve gotten this far without knowing. And if someone wants me, they seem to know where to find me.”

 

Will this campaign pique interest in the “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” section of LinkedIn? Absolutely. Will it persuade more LinkedIn users to pay to see the entire list of who’s been browsing you? Of course! So in that sense, this campaign had solid revenue building ambition and objectives. Many (hundreds of thousands) Basic LinkedIn memberships will have been upgraded to Personal Plus as a direct result of this Campaign. Personal what? you ask.

 

PERSONAL PLUS
Personal Plus costs $95.40 per year ($7.95 per month) before tax. (Not $7.95 a YEAR as Diane has written). Personal Plus is the upgrade I always recommend to my clients because it provides the most value in terms of features that everyone, regardless of what they want to get out of LinkedIn, will benefit from. One of the features I use regularly is “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” which allows me to see all of the folks who have looked at my Profile listed by day. Knowing who has stopped by to read my Profile is an essential tool in my networking strategy. Without it, I’m flying blind. There are a handful of other features (InMails, OpenLink) with this upgrade that I would categorize as useful. (You can read more about Personal Plus features by clicking on ‘Personal Plus’ in the index on the right of my blog). Getting Personal Plus used to involve a backdoor since it was hidden from plain view. Now it’s much easier to find, lurking under “Other Premium Accounts”. Follow these steps to get it:

 

  • Click on “WHO’S VIEWED YOUR PROFILE”
  • Click on the yellow “Upgrade your account to see the full list of who’s viewed your profile” bar.
  • Click on “Other Premium accounts:
  • Click on “Personal Plus” and decide whether you want to try Monthly or Annual

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WHAT’S THAT NOISE?
Pictures speak louder than words, so here are some screenshots I took this morning from my TweetDeck:

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Conclusions? People couldn’t be bothered to change the default “Hurray” message which gets old very quick. Hurray does not translate well, apparently. There’s some attempt at humor and self deprecation which is a clever and oblique way of drawing attention to your new status. But mostly it’s just mildly annoying noise. It’s just as bad as the other perennial nuisance LinkedIn spawned by encouraging people to share their LinkedIn Profile, randomly all over the Twitterverse, yep that’ll work, NOT. So this is LinkedIn’s attempt to ‘do social’ eh? Meh.

 

PROPS
Apart from the spammy noise. The other issue I have with this campaign is that LinkedIn have decided it’s perfectly happy to risk alienating the other 180 million who get zip, nada, zilch. Ouch. I’m one of the 180 million. I didn’t get into the Top Percent category but I’m totally ok with that. As a Johnny-come-lately to LinkedIn (I started getting active in 2008 – 5 years after LinkedIn launched), this makes complete sense. As someone who’s focused on many different aspects of LinkedIn over the years, I’d like to see recognition for those folks who have done the heavy lifting in terms of building LinkedIn’s professional community, one virtual village at a time. I’m talking about LinkedIn Groups and the millions of Group Members, Managers and Moderators who share best practices, spark engagement, encourage collaboration, get people hired and generally make LinkedIn a darn useful place. How about recognizing the Group Founders, most active Group members and “Top Influencers” LinkedIn?

 

LINKEDIN CONSULTING
If you liked this article, you’ll love my customized consulting service. I’ve helped many professionals to achieve their full potential on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is not somewhere you paste your resumé, sit back and wait for things to happen. It’s a complicated and nuanced website portal that requires action, insight, branding strategy and marketing know-how. What you don’t know – could hurt you. Whether it’s getting more traffic on your Profile, engaging with a stunningly good Summary or refreshing your LinkedIn presence and brand – share your goals with me and I’ll help you to achieve all of them via LinkedIn.

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That’s all from me for this week. Please take a few moments to share this article with your network. I read and respond to all comments.

By Andy Foote