LinkedIn is a powerful social media channel for business. With a strong plan and a long-term commitment, LinkedIn can help advisors increase visibility and boost their reputation. Advisors should play to their strengths on the platform, sharing content that positions them as a leader on topics that differentiate their practice.
Advisors should use LinkedIn as a platform to display their talent and unique character. While it’s not a personal social media outlet like Facebook, it is important to add a personal touch to each post and connection invitation. When used correctly, LinkedIn helps advisors boost their credibility, strengthen client relationships and develop a strong presence in their absence. Here are 6 tips that can help advisors make the most of their LinkedIn profile.
1. Spend time on LinkedIn regularly
To develop a strong presence, you must put in some time upfront, then maintain and improve it incrementally over time. As a simple rule of thumb, plan to spend 15 minutes per day on your LinkedIn until it’s complete. You can adjust this number as you polish your profile, but a commitment to maintaining your profile and a regular posting cadence is key to seeing success on the platform.
We recommend you schedule recurring appointments in your calendar to ensure you truly commit. For example: block off 15 minutes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings to adjust your profile, scroll through your feed and engage with followers. If your scheduled time gets pushed for a higher-priority item like a client meeting, make a point of rescheduling and following through the next day.
2. Optimize your profile
According to the 2019 Putnam Social Advisor Survey, 92% of advisors using social media for business can attribute asset gains to social media activity. If this stat doesn't convey the importance of a strong LinkedIn presence for advisors, I'm not sure what will.
If you have a LinkedIn profile already, review what you have and take the time to get re-oriented with the platform’s interface. Then check in with your team's marketing and compliance departments to see if they have branding or social media guidelines you need to include. Finally, gather any items that are keeping your profile from “All-Star” status: headshot, bio, job description, key skills, etc.
Pro tip: Use a professional picture. If you need to take a new headshot, plan to come to work one day in business formal attire. Ask a friend who has a phone with portrait mode to photograph you standing against a well-lit, nondescript wall. Lighting is key – don’t stand directly underneath a ceiling light! Finally, crop the image at your shoulders, save it and upload it to your profile.
Let’s move onto the meat of your profile:
- Name: Add relevant certifications to your name to strengthen your first impression.
- Profile Picture/Cover Photo: For tips on your profile picture, see the pro tip above. Cover photos should be professional but can help to add a personal element to your profile. City skylines, company-branded images, repeating company logos and pictures of you speaking on stage all encapsulate the perfect blend of personal and professional.
- Tagline/Summary: Include keywords relevant to your advisory niche and value proposition in your tagline and summary. Your summary should highlight your accomplishments while showcasing parts of your personality. You can include your current firm, but the summary section isn’t meant to be a full bio. It’s meant to briefly introduce yourself, showcase your differentiation and build rapport with your profile visitors.
- Work history: Thoroughly fill out your work history, starting with your current position and working backward. Reference your current job description if you're having trouble with this section. Keep all descriptions clear and concise without skipping important details.
- Volunteering/Awards/Recommendations: To round out your profile, include your volunteer experience, awards, and other profile sections that help to showcase your personal side. Clients may have trouble connecting with you if your profile is all business from start to finish.
Build your tribe by following and connecting with current and former clients, colleagues, prospects, friends and fellow alumni. Follow your custodian contacts. Follow new acquaintances after meeting them. And follow all contacts from both your personal and professional emails (to learn more about syncing contacts, look at this article). Finally, send a connection invitation to the people you’ve made a real connection with.
Pro tip: Add a step to your meeting prep and connect with prospects before your initial meeting.
4. Post, share and engage
It's very important to publish content regularly. 91% of executives rate LinkedIn as their first choice for professionally relevant content. A few tips to help you get started:
- Post a mixture of company content, lifestyle articles and industry news relevant to your clients.
- Research hashtags related to your content and include them in each post.
- Share your news: blogs you’ve written, speaking engagements, conferences you're attending, and any awards or accolades you receive.
- Share engaging content from fellow advisors, prospects, colleagues.
- Comment on and react to shared content from your network.
- Join groups: Search for groups relevant to your ideal prospect, and use these groups to source content ideas, engage with potential clients and discover fresh ways to start a conversation with your prospects.
5. Prospect and network
Maximize the value you’re getting from LinkedIn by networking and prospecting on the platform. Use their search functions to hone-in on your ideal target. Once you’ve mastered the search function, consider upgrading to LinkedIn Sales Navigator. While it’s a paid subscription, the tools included in the subscription are unmatched by any other social network. We recommend you spend time prospecting on LinkedIn every week.
Once or twice a year, look at your engagement over time. What type of content resonates with your audience? What characteristics do your most active followers have in common? How has your follower count increased? Think about how you'd like to grow your presence further based on what you've discovered, and develop goals for the coming year.
Full disclosure: Developing a strong LinkedIn presence requires effort and commitment, but the value you’ll get back is priceless. It’s not a set-it-and-forget-it activity. After all, advisors who are taking an active approach to LinkedIn are realizing the greatest gains.
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