As I have been conducting LinkedIn profile reviews for job seekers and business owners, I have noticed that the LinkedIn profile ACTIVITY UPDATE is often overlooked and underutilized.

Context… and the Danger of Hootsuite

The Activity status bar feature gives you a chance to report on your personal or business-related “current events.” You may recognize the status bar from other social media sites.

Facebook users change their status regularly and can be rather creative with the things they report. You might see anything from “I was rudely introduced to the hungry Pothole from Hell in Boston which ate my tire” to “Delayed in Atlanta. Renewing vow never to take connecting flights” to “…is saving lives one shopping mall at a time.” You probably would not want any of these status updates to show up on your LinkedIn profile.

Then there’s Twitter. How can you sell your wares, report important news, or, better yet, say something pithy, in 140 characters or less? Yesterday I saw this one:

“This dream today embattled with its back against the wall, to save the dream 4 one, it must be saved 4 all” Langston Hughes (2nd time/ #fb).

Wow, was that really Twitter-compliant? Guess Langston was ahead of his time.

So what about the LinkedIn Activity status bar? What to do with this one? Well, we know off the bat that you are on LinkedIn for professional networking purposes. We also know that a Twitter-proof status update like “Discover the Best Anti Aging Vitamins That Will Change Your Life…” might not cut it on LinkedIn’s information-sharing and networking-focused site. Or would it?

To all you Hootsuite users out there, you have the option of sending out the same status update message to all your social media groups.  Be careful if you’re including LinkedIn in your Hootsuite targets!

Report on your Business-related Activities

LinkedIn suggests the following starts to your status: “working on…”, “traveling to…”, “looking for advice on…”, “looking for a job…” or “reading…” I personally have taken a bit of a direct selling posture in my status bar, at least sometimes. When I first started offering LinkedIn profile reviews, for instance, I kept track of the countdown in terms of how many LinkedIn reviews I had remaining at a bargain price. The reviews flew off the shelf! I also use the LinkedIn Activity bar to announce upcoming events and webinars that people might want to attend.

I think the most effective Activity updates report on current trainings, travels, ideas, etc. that show your readers that you are serious about your profession. If you have a blog, it’s a good idea to post a link to your latest article.

If you were looking for an SEO optimization specialist, and you were browsing LinkedIn profiles, wouldn’t you like to see that your prospective SEO optimizer is at a conference that week in the field, or that she is leading a webinar or writing a blog on the subject? You probably wouldn’t care about this person’s flat tire or shopping plans, or even about the person’s visits to see the grandchildren. It is imperative as you update your status that you consider what your audience would want to read about you.

Update Frequently

Keep your status bar current and your readers will know that you are serious about your business – plus, your connections will be reminded of your status if your settings and theirs permit it. Your status updates will also be searchable in LinkedIn Signal.

Your Privacy Settings

You can’t do anything about your contacts’ settings… but you can make sure that you have your Status Privacy Settings are set to “Everyone” under Who can see your activity feed. [“Your activity feed displays actions you’ve performed on LinkedIn. Select who can see your activity feed.”]

Isn’t it worth composing a few lines every few days to benefit from this visibility?

Frankly, if you are on LinkedIn, updating your Activity is part of your business. Do it often and do it well, and start getting the attention you want out of your LinkedIn profile.
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