LinkedIn has grown up. Officially launched in May 2003, the platform is now 18 years old. Gone are the days of it just being a place to post your resume and look for a job. Now at approximately 756 million users, it has evolved into the largest professional network and one of the top social media platforms in the world.
Individuals from all walks of life use the platform to consume content, make connections and review profiles. So, employing the Field of Dreams approach of “if you build it, they will come” is not the way to leverage LinkedIn to it’s fullest potential—it could even be a costly mistake.
In my conversations with financial advisors, I traditionally find two broad categories of concerns when it comes to LinkedIn:
- I don’t know where to start
- I’m active but I’m not seeing results
Levelling up your LinkedIn is a conversation that incorporates several different strategies and components. Let's tackle a few ideas for these individuals to incorporate.
The “where should I start” advisor
Start with your profile since it's the foundation of LinkedIn whether you’re new or experienced.
A LinkedIn profile is not just about you. It’s about your audience (prospective or current clients) first, and you second. It’s also NOT a resume, rather an extension of your digital storefront (an electronic representation of your business).
Table stakes for your profile are items like correct contact information, making your profile public, and having a professional photo and banner image. When it comes to levelling up, there are two specific areas: your picture and headline. These items will often be seen first on your profile and are visible any time you comment or post. So, getting that first impression right is crucial. Here’s how:
- Picture: Look professional. Wear what you would normally wear when meeting with your clients and make sure you smile. You also want to make your face the largest component of the picture. This is because over 60% of all searches are being done on mobile phones. Remember those images are very small when viewed from a cellphone screen, so make it easy for the viewer to see what you look like.
- Headline: Make a bold statement. Don’t just put your title, instead make an eye-catching statement that speaks to your current or prospective clients and piques their curiosity. If you only put your title, you could be missing an opportunity to highlight your area of expertise or what you do in layman’s terms. My headline litmus test is whether it gets them to say “tell me more” or “that’s what I’m looking for”.
The “I’m active but no results” advisor
Growing connections and publishing content is a great way to keep yourself top of mind, but to truly maximize the potential you can’t ignore the social part of social media. Take a physical world example—a networking event. Are you going to have success just running around collecting business cards and not doing anything with them after? Unlikely.
As a result, this is a crucial part of levelling up your LinkedIn and moving beyond that “Field of Dreams” approach. One key strategy to doing so is:
- Commenting: Comment often, positively and professionally. This can help you increase your visibility on other people’s posts and demonstrate your expertise. You shouldn’t be providing a recommendation, rather contributing your insights and furthering the conversation. LinkedIn posts with comments tend to be favoured in terms of views as well. So, this becomes a win-win situation as your comment increases the post's visibility and creates the potential for social reciprocity on your next post, when others become more likely to comment on your ideas in return.
As I mentioned, these items just scratch the surface. While they likely won’t turn you into a social media guru any time soon, many financial advisors I engage with aren’t looking to become the next influencer. They are looking to grow their business, engage with current or potential clients and demonstrate credibility. Levelling up your LinkedIn is a strategy that can help you advance your business goals, while leaving you more time to do what’s most important — service your clients.