Wow, the response to this year’s LinkedIn User Survey infographic was overwhelming. Thanks for all the kind words, and I’m glad so many people found the information useful.
 
From time to time over the next few months I will share some insights on what’s behind the numbers, starting with a discussion of this year’s most helpful LinkedIn feature, Who’s Viewed Your Profilea/k/a “Who’s stalking you.”

How does it work?
 
You can access this feature in the right column of your home page by clicking the number of views or the words Your profile has been viewed by XX people in the last XX day(s).
 
Those of us on the free account will see some of the details on the last five people (“stalkers”) who looked at our profile. Premium members see the same level of details but have access to the full list of stalkers.
 
The details you see for each stalker are based on a setting chosen by the stalker and not by you. Even with a paid account, you will see no more than the person has chosen to reveal to you.
 
Here are the three options available to every LinkedIn user: 
your stalking settings 

What setting is best?
 
Personally, I want my name and headline to show up in every possible place. Hey, it’s free advertising. But you may have a different strategy.
 
If you choose full disclosure but want to be anonymous for a short time while you stalk, say, a competitor, change your setting to totally anonymous while you gather your competitive intelligence. But don’t forget to change it back when you’re done.


Why should you care who’s looking at your profile?
 
People typically don’t look at LinkedIn profiles to pass the time when they are bored. Trust me — if someone is on your list, one of two things has probably happened:
 
1.  Someone has referred you. In other words, someone you know has passed along your name and maybe some information about you with a statement like, “Check out Wayne Breitbarth’s profile; this guy really knows his LinkedIn stuff.”
 
or
 
2.  You stood out in a search, a discussion, or a comment posting, and the person was interested in seeing more, so he/she clicked through to your profile.
 
But no matter how the person found your profile, it’s a good thing they’re there!


What should you do with this list of stalkers?
 
There’s very little you can do if they’ve chosen to be totally anonymous or mostly anonymous. If any of the others look interesting to you, click through and review their profile to see if there’s any reason to 

whos viewed my fprofilemessage them (if they’re already a 1st degree connection) or connect with them.

 

They obviously have an interest in you, so you should probably contact them if they look interesting to you.

 

Remember, with a free account, you only see the last five people who’ve viewed your profile. So check your list frequently. You wouldn’t want to miss someone who’s dying to be your next customer or future employer.

 

 

Final thoughts

 

The more time I spend using this feature and discussing it with LinkedIn power users, the more I understand why

Who’s Viewed Your Profile is the top ranked feature on LinkedIn, with over 70% of survey respondents giving it a thumbs up.

 

And the more popular this feature becomes, the more important it is that you have a great profile, don’t you think?

 

For help with sprucing up your profile, be sure to check out the new edition of my book, which includes a special resource titled Profile Perfection: A Checklist for LinkedIn Optimization.