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Want Government Contracts? Revamp Your Personal LinkedIn

A recent survey confirms that government employees are increasingly turning to online platforms like LinkedIn to vet potential vendors. A poorly optimized personal profile could cost a vendor valuable contracts.

State and local government procurement specialists are becoming e-sleuths, digging deep into the Internet for information about vendors, even scanning employees' personal social media profiles.

Lumino, a B2G marketing agency, recently released The Pulse of Procurement Report, featuring the results of a survey of 100 state and local government and 100 federal government budget owners about how they find, evaluate and select new vendors.

“Some of the biggest takeaways from state and local governments is now how much they’re relying on online,” said Jenny Karn, CEO and founding partner at Lumino. “For instance, they’re not using directories very often to find vendors.”


According to Lumino’s report, 35 percent of state and local government respondents said they are exclusively vetting vendors online, a statistic Karn found eye-opening.

“I assumed it would be quite a small number and that they would be doing other interviews or using other ways to vet,” Karn said in an interview with Government Technology. “But a lot of state and local governments really do just look at that online presence, which really underscores the importance of making sure ... you’re easy to find online, that when someone finds your website, they get a good impression of your company.”

According to Lumino’s research, an established web presence, paired with a strong SEO strategy is critical from the start, as 71 percent of state and local agencies surveyed responded that they find vendors to invite to RFP through company websites, compared to 61 percent of federal respondents. The search for those websites most often starts on a search engine such as Google or Bing.

“If you're not discoverable, your competitors are, and they’re going to find those solutions instead,” said Karn. “I would think that needs to be the priority, if that’s your goal, is to reach state and local government agencies.”


According to the survey results, governments of all sizes have identified LinkedIn as their social media platform of choice to find new vendors. Meanwhile, TikTok ranked the lowest; fewer than 10 percent of respondents reported they turned to that platform to look for new vendors.

Additionally, governments aren’t only looking at the company's main profile — most say they at least sometimes look at vendor’s personal accounts during an RFP review.

“I found it so fascinating because a lot of companies are active on LinkedIn. They think about their company page, but not their own personal page. It’s clear from these results that government budget owners are looking at those personal LinkedIn profiles as well,” said Karn.

“I think having an incomplete profile is a clear sign that you’re not taking this channel seriously,” she continued. “So having an image, making sure your title is updated, your headline is updated, your current role is there, all of those things are really important. I would go one step further and think about the keywords that you want to be associated with. If someone is working in a government agency and they’re looking for somebody who can help them with a certain thing, does your profile mention that certain thing?”


While the Internet has become an essential tool to connect governments and vendors, Lumino’s survey revealed that in-person contact still plays a significant role in the process.

A large majority of state and local governments, 83 percent, said discovering new vendors is “definitely” or “probably” a reason they go to trade shows, versus 74 percent of federal respondents.

Meanwhile, 37 percent of state and local respondents said they evaluate new vendors through trade shows, compared to 26 percent of federal respondents. A larger number of state and local respondents also reported that they plan to attend at least one trade show in person this year than federal government respondents.
Nikki Davidson is a data reporter for Government Technology. She’s covered government and technology news as a video, newspaper, magazine and digital journalist for media outlets across the country. She’s based in Monterey, Calif.