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Control your visibility with LinkedIn privacy settings

When you make a change to your LinkedIn profile, do you want your connections to be alerted to it?

When you view someone else's profile, do you want them to know you did?

Did you know that you can control these things? In fact, your LinkedIn account has a variety of privacy settings that you can customize and change as often as you’d like. What's the benefit of getting to know these features? Many of them help you control your visibility.

How to access your privacy settings

To navigate to privacy settings on your LinkedIn account, start at your homepage (the first page you see when you log in). A navigation bar at the top of your homepage shows the main areas and features available on LinkedIn. To access privacy controls, move your cursor over your profile picture in the upper right-hand corner of the page (see arrow) and in the dropdown menu select “Privacy & Settings.” (Alternatively, you can get there by typing in your browser.)

Menu dropdown

And here is where you’ll end up. Notice the privacy controls highlighted below:

Privacy settings page

LinkedIn has a number of privacy settings, but we’ll focus on the four that I’ve gotten the most questions about from financial advisors. You’ll notice a common thread: they all help you manage how your information and activity is seen (or not seen) by others.


Turn on/off your activity broadcasts

If you do not want your connections to know when you make changes to your profile, follow companies, or recommend connections, you can turn your activity broadcasts off. To do so, select Turn on/off your activity broadcasts and uncheck the command box.

My recommendation: Consider leaving your activity updates on.

Activity broadcasts

A key feature of LinkedIn is the ability to immediately notify connections about updates (such as a title change, additional skills, groups you’ve joined, and so forth). This can lead to positive exposure, or even new business. Remember, your goal is to be found, to engage, and to network.

It’s important to note that, if you do leave this setting on, you may want to make changes to your profile only periodically. This way, the announcements can be strategic in nature and create impact, as opposed to spamming your connections with a barrage of notifications at once.


Select what others see when you’ve viewed their profile

When you view others’ profiles on LinkedIn, you have the option to be visible or not. By default, your name, photo, and headline will appear. For additional privacy, you can choose to display only general information about yourself, such as your industry and title. The third option is to be completely anonymous.

To update this setting, choose Select what others see when you’ve viewed their profile and update the box shown below.

My recommendation: I believe you should stay “fully transparent” 95% of the time, and “totally anonymous” 5% of the time. Why? Because anonymity is not conducive to networking.

What others see when you view their profile

The 5% of the time that your profile is “totally anonymous” could be reserved for when you are, for example, gathering information on a prospect and you don’t want them to know that you’ve looked at their LinkedIn profile at that stage in the relationship. To do this, simply toggle the setting to anonymous before you view the prospect's profile. Then change the setting back when you're done.


Select who can see your connections

You can share your connections’ names with your other first-degree connections, or you can choose to keep your list of connections private. To change this setting, go to Select who can see your connections and in the dropdown choose “Your connections” or “Only you.”

My recommendation: Keep this setting at the default: “Your connections.” Again, LinkedIn is made for networking — why limit it?

Who can see your connections

In my experience, advisors have expressed concern that this would allow competitors to view their clients. However, only your first-degree connections can view your other connections, so if you are connected to a competitor, you can simply remove him or her as a connection.


Change your profile photo and visibility

You get to choose who sees your photo: either first-degree connections, your entire network (including second-degree connections and fellow group members), or anyone at all who views your profile. Go to Change your profile photo & visibility and update the box shown below.

My recommendation: Make your profile photo available to everyone.

Profile photo

According to LinkedIn, those with 100% completed profiles are 40 times more likely to benefit from search and connection opportunities. Step one to a completed profile: a professional photo.

Note to mobile users

The LinkedIn app offers a different experience than the website. To access your LinkedIn privacy settings, you must use the website. On your iPad or other mobile device, simply visit with your mobile browser (such as Safari or Chrome).

I hope you find these tips useful as you continue to fine-tune your LinkedIn profile. To learn more about networking with LinkedIn, contact your Delaware Investments® regional director today.

D. Bruce Johnston speaks regularly with wealth managers and financial advisors nationwide about social media engagement strategy, often in partnership with Delaware Investments® regional directors.

He is a 30-year financial services career sales executive and a social media expert. His website is dedicated exclusively to the social media, technology, and digital marketing needs of financial advisors.

FINRA regulates the use of social media. Advisors should consult their compliance departments about restrictions regarding the use of social media before accessing any social media networks for a business purpose.

This content is for informational purposes only and is not an endorsement of any content on LinkedIn, or any app, service, or publicly traded company. It is also not a recommendation to buy or sell a particular security.

D. Bruce Johnston and Mobi Digital are not affiliates or entities of Delaware Investments or Macquarie Group. Mobi Digital is a private firm, providing enterprise level marketing automation solutions to entrepreneurs, small business, service providers, and institutions worldwide. Mobi Digital is responsible for the information in this presentation regarding D. Bruce Johnston and Mobi Digital.

All third-party marks cited are the property of their respective owners.

The Evolving Advisor