LinkedIn remains one of the most powerful social media marketing channels available to financial firms in 2020-21. Yet few use the platform effectively to achieve their goals.
How can you – as a financial planner, financial adviser or wealth manager – best make use of LinkedIn to engage and retain current clients, whilst attracting new ones?
In this first part of our 2-part guide, our financial marketing team here at CreativeAdviser offers some practical guidance on how to bring your LinkedIn marketing to the next level – starting with your own profile page.
Why does LinkedIn matter for financial firms?
First of all, many people use LinkedIn as a search engine and a due diligence tool. Suppose you meet someone who hears you speaking on financial planning at a local pensions seminar. They are interested in what you may have to offer. So they go straight to LinkedIn and check your profile.
What they find could be “make or break” – determining whether they decide to take the next step (e.g. reaching out to you online).
Secondly, Google still offers LinkedIn profiles in its search results. Perhaps the prospect types your name into Google search after attending your pension seminar. They might get a mixture of results – e.g. an interview with you in the local paper; perhaps one of your website pages; and your LinkedIn profile.
Again, what they find on your profile could make a big difference in their customer journey.
Thirdly, if you are active on LinkedIn (commenting on others’ posts, “Liking” them and sharing your own) then users on the platform will naturally find their way to your profile. What impression will they get when they visit?
Creating a strong LinkedIn profile
So, there are many reasons why prospects might see your LinkedIn profile. How can you make the best impression and encourage qualified visitors to take a next step (e.g. booking onto your next webinar, reaching out with a private LinkedIn message or downloading your PDF guide on IHT)?
Here are some key steps to consider taking when strengthening your LinkedIn profile:
- Have a professional profile picture. Few things make a poor first impression like a poorly-shot picture of yourself. Some financial advisers even lack a photo entirely! Put serious thought into your posture, the background colour and how you face the camera. Make sure the final image is clear and sharp.
- Strengthen your URL. By default, LinkedIn gives your profile a hideous, number-based website address which can look off-putting. Consider updating this to reflect your own name or brand. Be careful to update links to your LinkedIn profile in other locations (e.g. your website) if you do this.
- Background picture. The space behind your profile picture on LinkedIn can be customised to include an image of your choosing. This can be a great place to include your brand colours, images and may even an inspiring quote. You might even want to put your website address, contact details and awards (or average Google reviews) on here.
- Professional headline. Underneath your profile picture, you have the opportunity to write 3-4 lines highlighting some of your skills, qualifications and experience. Be careful not to simply list a range of industry jargon in here – which visitors may not understand or appreciate as you do. One good approach is to use this space to describe what problems you solve for people, and why you do it.
- Compelling “about” section. Here, you have the opportunity to go into more detail about the copy you displayed in your headline. This can be a good place to tell a bit of your story – how you arrived where you are as a financial planner/adviser, and some of the milestones you’ve achieved along the way. You may wish to list some of your areas of specialisation and how they benefit people.
- Contact information. It’s still surprising to us that many LinkedIn profiles in the financial sector leave out key contact details such as their website address, phone number, office address and links to other social media accounts (e.g. Facebook and Twitter). Make sure you include this information if you want to encourage qualified prospects to reach out to you.
- Previous roles & experience. It’s true that LinkedIn also serves as your “online CV”, so people expect to see a list of your previous jobs and positions before arriving at your current role as a financial planner (or other). Make sure you don’t skip over this part. It’s not merely a box-ticking exercise, but another opportunity to demonstrate how your previous experience links into what you are doing today. It gives people a better feel for who you are – building trust and credibility.
- Experience & education. Did you achieve a Merit or Distinction at Masters level at unversity? Consider including this – even if you think your degree is irrelevant. Do you have Chartered status? This is a good place to advertise this achievement. All of this can make you look more impressive to people.
Of course, improving all of the above (and more) is not guaranteed to open the floodgates for your lead generation efforts. However, it will make your LinkedIn marketing a whole lot easier. It will start to feel like you are running with both feet, rather than with one weighed down and dragging behind you.
Remember, your LinkedIn profile will be a key focal-point for any marketing you decide to do on LinkedIn from this point – e.g. if you start running LinkedIn Ads. The effort you put in here, making your profile as strong as it can be, could make a huge difference to your conversion rate.