LinkedIn Profile Name: Should I Use My Personal or Company Name on LinkedIn?

LinkedIn Profile Name: Should I Use My Personal or Company Name on LinkedIn?

LinkedIn, as you already know, is a social networking platform for professionals.  It is no secret, then, that there is business to be found on LinkedIn for companies of many sizes and industries.  If you are a small business owner, you may be confused as to whether you should use your company name or personal name for your LinkedIn Profile name.  Be confused no more, as I always recommend you use your personal name, and here’s why:

LinkedIn is a network for professionals, not companies.  

We’re not talking about Hoovers here; instead of being a database of companies, LinkedIn is a database of people.  Professionals are connecting with each other, finding each other and creating new relationships, answering questions, providing advice, etc.  If your name is a company name, why would I want to connect with you?  What value is there from a social networking perspective of connecting with a business?  I realize that, as a business, you want to get some free advertising on LinkedIn, but do this in your profile, not in your name.  And you will find that people are not necessarily looking for vendors, so an indirect approach (utilizing Q&A and/or Group Discussion Boards with your expertise, etc.) will establish your credibility better than merely sending out advertisements to all of your connections.

In general, the more real and genuine you are the more people will trust you.  

A lot of professionals are still turned off by social networking, and are especially leery of their privacy on social media.  If you, with a business name, want to connect with someone, they might think suspiciously of you.  After all, a business name creates a shield and makes you a little invisible.  Social networking is all about being transparent and paying it forward, so drop the shield.

People buy from people, not companies.  

Even companies buy from people, because it is the people inside the company making the purchase.  If you want to connect with future customers, connect with them from a personal perspective, in which case you’ll have a much higher potential of winning business from them.

My brother, who owns his own wine label, is an example of someone who created a profile using his name (Larry Schaffer) and not his company name (Tercero Wines).  As you can see from his profile, he includes enough information on his profile to get you interested in his company without flat-out advertising it.  And thus people who would want to connect with Larry would naturally want to know more about his wine label, don’t you think?

If you are a business owner and you want to register your company name on LinkedIn, instead of using your company name for your profile name you can simply register your name in the LinkedIn Company Directory.  In this way, if people are searching for companies with your expertise, you can be found.

Hero photo by Mayank Baranwal on Unsplash

LinkedIn Profile Name FAQs

Can I change my LinkedIn profile name?

Yes, you can change your LinkedIn profile name. To change your LinkedIn profile name, go to your profile and click the pen icon located on the right side of your profile picture and name. You will then see a pop-up window with First Name and Last Name fields. Put in your desired name in the text boxes and hit Save to apply the changes. In addition, you will see a link to add a former name if you want to add.

Should I use full name on LinkedIn?

It is always advisable to use your full personal name on LinkedIn. The social networking platform is initially created for professionals to connect and grow their network. Using your full name will make you be searched easily by other users as that is the common identity you are known for. The more genuine and credible you are, the more people will trust and connect with you.

What is the best LinkedIn profile?

The best LinkedIn profile looks professional and credible. You need to familiarize yourself with must-have items for an outstanding LinkedIn profile. The first thing you need to do is to choose a professional-looking profile picture. It is the first thing people will notice when they visit your profile so you would want to pick a picture that best represents you. Additionally, use your real and professional name only.

What is your LinkedIn profile?

Your LinkedIn profile serves as your LinkedIn resume. It is the page that people will see when they visit your profile. It should have your basic information, contact details, employment history, skills and experience, education, and other professional-related items you can include. If you want a professional-looking profile, check these LinkedIn profile tips that detail the 10 mistakes you need to avoid when creating a LinkedIn profile.

Can I use my nickname on LinkedIn?

Ideally, you should only use your real name on LinkedIn. However, if you are also known to most people by a nickname, LinkedIn allows its user to add a former or a maiden name on their LinkedIn profiles. To add a nickname, head to your profile and click the Edit Icon on the opposite side of your picture. Once you see the pop-up window, click “Add former name” and enter your nickname in the text box. Then hit Save to update your name.

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Neal Schaffer
Neal Schaffer is a leading authority on helping businesses through their digital transformation of sales and marketing through consulting, training, and helping enterprises large and small develop and execute on social media marketing strategy, influencer marketing, and social selling initiatives. President of the social media agency PDCA Social, Neal also teaches digital media to executives at Rutgers University, the Irish Management Institute (Ireland), and the University of Jyvaskyla (Finland). Fluent in Japanese and Mandarin Chinese, Neal is a popular keynote speaker and has been invited to speak about digital media on four continents in a dozen countries. He is also the author of 3 books on social media, including Maximize Your Social (Wiley), and in late 2019 will publish his 4th book, The Business of Influence (HarperCollins), on educating the market on the why and how every business should leverage the potential of influencer marketing. Neal resides in Irvine, California but also frequently travels to Japan.
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