Understandably, LinkedIn is a very attractive marketing channel for financial services firms.
Not only is it a great potential source of new talent for a growing firm, but it can be a powerful source of leads – with the right strategy.
Currently, about 26m people use LinkedIn in the UK. Research suggests that 14% of these people use it multiple times per day, 17% once per day, 10% a few times per week and 30% once per week.
Together, that’s at least 18m people (71% of 26m) who use LinkedIn at least weekly. Moreover, many of these users represent exactly the type of person financial planners would like to go after:
- Business owners.
- Senor managers.
- Successful entrepreneurs.
- Wealthy individuals nearing retirement.
The etiquette on LinkedIn also lends itself to financial services. People regularly talk about “serious” topics like pensions and investments. This sets it apart from other platforms like Twitter (which is much faster-paced and sensationalist – good for journalism) and Instagram (which is more image-based – good for fashion and food).
How, then, can financial firms make use of LinkedIn effectively in their financial marketing strategy?
Part of the answer is to have a great LinkedIn profile. Below are some ideas to get you started with improving your image and presence.
If you’d like to speak to us about your own financial marketing strategy, you can arrange a free online consultation with us here.
#1 Publish regular, meaningful posts
It may be tempting to think that, to make LinkedIn work as a marketing channel, you need to log in and start messaging dozens of prospects. However, take a step back and consider the fact that LinkedIn is a “social” platform.
Whilst there is a sales aspect to LinkedIn, most people do not log into LinkedIn to be sold to. They tend to go there to find out interesting news about their colleagues, business connections and wider industry. In short, they’re looking for valuable content.
Are you publishing great content on your profile regularly? If not, it might be time for a change.
A good starting point is to take your weekly website blog and publish a link to it – with an introductory snippet – on LinkedIn. This starts to get your profile active, and could even start generating a big of extra website traffic.
However, try to go beyond this – or, you risk being seen as just pushing your own material. Consider posting about interesting things you’ve seen in the news, together with some of your thoughts on the subject.
Another idea is to re-post what another LinkedIn user has said, credit them and offer some of your own perspective.
#2 Invest in great imagery
One reason people want to click on your profile is because of how it looks.
If you have a blurry or non-existent profile picture, for instance, then this is hugely off-putting for most people. However, a professional photograph which shows that you “look the part” in your field goes a long way to making a good first impression.
Another important element is your background image. This is a landscape banner which sits immediately behind your profile picture, when someone arrives on your page. Again, many people use a generic picture or don’t even have one. This is your chance to stand out.
Perhaps you could put an attractive picture of your office or branding here?
You could even put some useful information within the image – such as your company phone number and URLs to other social accounts.
#3 Create a stand-out headline
When you log into LinkedIn, the first thing you see is your timeline – where other people’s posts appear.
Under their profile picture (above their post), you should see a headline which describes who the person is, and what they do.
Here, many financial planners do not have a great headline. It is (frankly) boring and often not even all that informative, due to the high use of jargon. Instead, put yourself in the shoes of your target client and imagine what copy would best connect with them.
Try to think of this in terms of offering solutions to problems, rather than offering “products” which you think people want.
For instance, a mortgage broker may, indeed, be a source of mortgage deals. Whilst stating a headline along these lines is better than nothing, is there a way to phrase this that engages the audience’s emotions?
For instance, instead of a headline like: “Mortgage specialist for first-time buyers“, could the following work better?
“Helping young people find their dream home“.
#4 Build your connections
It’s great to follow the steps above. Yet if you are still talking to a nearly-empty room, what’s the point?
This is where you need to start being proactive if you want to gain any traction on LinkedIn. Here, you need to consider sending LinkedIn connection requests to people in your target audience.
Such an idea is often deeply uncomfortable for financial planners. It can feel too aggressive or “salesy”. Yet, typically, most recipients of a request like this either ignore it if they don’t like it, or they accept it. Very rarely do you get a bad reaction (unless you say something daft or offensive within your message!).
You can’t spend all day sending requests, however. Moreover, you shouldn’t just send them out to anyone. Here, the LinkedIn search facility is a great tool to narrow down on your target audience and focus your connection requests to the most relevant people.
Over time, your connections should build and you should also invest in socialising with them on the platform – liking and commenting on their posts, for instance. When you then post your own content, more people should start seeing and engaging with it.