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Fear of exposure

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On your LinkedIn profile, you can hide all sorts of things. But why would you want to?

I have heard people comment that they want to hide their connections on LinkedIn and on other social-networking sites so that others can’t see their connections and, more specifically, their clients. On LinkedIn, however, it is hard to distinguish who among our connections are clients and who are friends, family, college acquaintances or strategic alliances, right?

On LinkedIn, if you go to Settings (drag you mouse over your name at the top of your profile), you can hide your first-level contacts, picture, activity broadcasts and activity feed. But why would someone using LinkedIn as a social-networking tool, especially a financial advisor who could potentially work with the many successful people on LinkedIn, want to hide anything? For some people it may be appropriate, I suppose, but for those marketing and looking to expand their networks, it doesn’t seem wise.

A better strategy may be to edit your profile on LinkedIn to make sure that all elements of your profile are marked “public,” so that even those who aren’t connected to you can see all about you. (They would not be able to see all your connections, only those you have in common.)

If you are afraid your clients will leave you if a competitor contacts them through LinkedIn, perhaps your problem is far worse than being overexposed on LinkedIn. In truth, you may have a client problem. A good client will not leave you because a competitor contacts them through LinkedIn.

Don’t hide yourself and your connections. Expand on them and use social networking to expose yourself to a wider audience. The only thing you should be afraid of is remaining a well-hidden secret.

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Maribeth Kuzmeski is the founder of Red Zone Marketing, LLC, which consults to Fortune 500 firms on strategic marketing planning and business growth. For more information, go to


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