Wondering whether to add in extra words to your name on LinkedIn? | AccountingWEB

Wondering whether to add in extra words to your name on LinkedIn?


I’ve noticed an increase in a practice on LinkedIn of adding in extra information to your LinkedIn name. In this article, I will explore the pros and cons of doing this practice and better ways to achieve the visibility and credibility you require on LinkedIn. 

So, what do I mean by this practice? It could be:

  • adding in your phone number or contact details to your name, e.g. Heather Townsend 01234 48 0123
  • adding in stars around your name, e.g. *Heather Townsend*
  • adding in keywords to your name field, e.g. Heather Townsend | Executive Coach
  • adding in your qualifications, e.g. Heather Townsend MCIPD

Why do folks choose to do this:

Greater visibility in searches for their profile
They believe, in the case of keywords, that they will turn up in more searches. Having done a selective trial of this, I saw no evidence for this. In fact, after I had removed the offending ‘executive coach’ from my name, I saw an increase of 20% of the number of searches I turned up in, and a 100% increase in the amount of views of my profile.

If you want people to find you, when they are looking for you then you must not add in extra characters to your first or second name field. Otherwise, your profile – the one they are trying to find – will end up at the bottom of the search results. (Seriously!)

Makes you more memorable when you participate in discussions
Mmmm. Really? It may make you more memorable, but probably for the wrong reasons. It seems gimmicky, potentially desperate, spammy and is that the type of 1st impression you want to give? Actually, you want to be memorable for all the right reasons, for example:

  • adding in valuable and insightful comment to discussions
  • including in some personality to your profile, rather than a bland corporate type of profile
  • starting interesting discussions

Makes it easier for prospects and people to contact you
There is no counter argument to this. If you do add your contact details into your name it does make it very easy for people on LinkedIn to contact you. After all, they don’t need to go to all the hassle of becoming a 1st degree connection. However, and this is a big however, the LinkedIn terms of service expressly forbids the practice of adding in anything in the ‘First and surname’ fields that is not your name.

What happens if I break the LinkedIn terms of service?

Sometimes nothing happens. However, without warning LinkedIn may suspend your account, without warning for breaking it's terms of service. You will then be left without a LinkedIn account for generally a week or so. Therefore, if you do decide to add in extra stuff to your name fields on LinkedIn, be aware that your LinkedIn account could be suspended as a result...

In summary,
There is no magic solution, short cut or easy ways to win business on LinkedIn. Focus on letting your content do the talking in the right places – that’s the best way for success on LinkedIn

Author Credit

Heather Townsend helps professionals become the Go-To-Expert. She is the author of the  award winning and best-selling book on business networking, the ‘FT Guide To Business Networking’ and the co-author of ‘How to make partner and still have a life’. Over the last decade she has worked with over 300 partners; coached, trained and mentored over 1000 professionals at every level of the UK's most ambitious professional practices.

Heather Townsend will be appearing at the 'How to make partner' conference in London on the 24th April 2013.

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This blog

I help professionals, mostly accountants and lawyers become the Go-To-Expert. After joining BDO LLP in 2004, I have now almost clocked up ten years working predominantly with accountants helping them achieve their career and business goals. Unusually for someone with an Engineering Degree, I accidentally became a writer and used my knowledge on social media to write the current best-selling and award-winning book on networking, The FT Guide To Business Networking. (over 100 five star reviews on amazon) In 2012, the book I always wanted to write, 'How to make partner and still have a life' was published. In March 2014, my latest book, 'The Go-To-Expert: How to build your reputation, differentiate yourself from the competition and win business' was published. People frequently talk about me as someone who really knows her stuff – which may be the reason I have, over the last decade, worked with over 300 partners, coached and trained over 2000 professionals at every level of the UK’s most ambitious professional practices. 

I am honoured to have been asked to judge the British Accountancy Awards in 2011 and 2012. I am a member of the Accountant's Club Global Advisory Panel, and write regularly on practice management issues for CCH.

Myself, and Jon (my co-director) are approved Growth Accelerator Coaches. This means that we can if you are eligible, through the Growth Accelerator scheme, help you get some coaching funded by the scheme. Click here for more details to see whether you are eligible for the scheme.

Read how we have helped one of our accountancy clients access Growth Accelerator funding to grow their turnover by nearly 50% and profits by over 200%

The types of work I am currently helping my small professional practice clients with, includes:

1) Helping a £2m t/o practice grow to £4m by restructuring the firm and helping the management team step up 

2) Working with a £1m t/o practice to grow to £2m by generating more leads, and getting more work from existing clients

3) Enabling a £300k t/o practice grow to £1m by helping it sort out it's profitability by adding in efficient systems and processes, and increasing the quality of the  lead generation by marketing to a niche

4) Facilitating the growth of a one man band practice into a 3 person practice by helping increase the lead generation and conversion rate of leads, plus keeping the practice owner accountable to his goals.

The Excedia Group was founded by myself and Jon Baker to bring clarity, perspective and knowledge to help our clients achieve their business goals. We specialise in working with highly technical individuals, typically lawyers and accountants, helping them to get out of their comfort zone and build a profitable and sustainable client portfolio whilst handling the challenges of leading a business. 

My work splits into about 50% Executive & Business Coaching with Partners & potential partners, with the rest split between training, consultancy and writing.

My articles & quotes regularly appear in the press, e.g. FT, Guardian, Accountancy Age, Accounting Today, Economia, ACCA's publications. I regularly blog at Partnership Potentialventure-NowJoined up networking and How to make partner.

To book me for a speaking engagement please contact my PR Agency, Meerkat PR, on 020 8563 0182, and ask for David Stoch. For any other work related enquiries, please contact me directly.

My clients have included: Deloitte LLP, KPMG LLP, BDO LLP, Haines Watts, MSI Global Alliance, UK200 group, Macintyre Hudson LLP amongst others.