Many financial planners spend too much time moaning about LinkedIn and ignoring its huge potential. I one was of these people. I was on there, but it wasn’t a great experience.
Then two years ago, I reached a crossroads. I needed to decide: should I continue to focus on the negatives (unsolicited sales messages and a timeline full of rubbish) or should I change things to make it work for me?
I took the second option and decided to focus on the opportunities that a platform with 31.2 million users in the UK alone offers.*
Since changing my mindset and behaviour my LinkedIn experience has improved tremendously. It’s delivered great results too:
- People visiting our website after clicking a link on LinkedIn is up significantly
- We regularly get new enquiries from people who have seen our posts on LinkedIn
- The number of useful connections (see tip #1 for more info) has doubled
LinkedIn won’t work for everyone
Of course, LinkedIn will only work for you if your target audience uses it. So, it’s useful to understand the age profile of users*:
- 18-24: 15.1%
- 25-34: 57.7%
- 35-54: 22.1%
- 55+: 5.1%
Clearly, the demographic most planners want to work with are underrepresented in LinkedIn. However, there’s still over 1.5 million over 55s using it*. That’s still plenty for most planners to focus on, especially when only a handful use LinkedIn effectively.
So, here are my top 10 tips, based on my lived experiences over the past two years, for getting the best out of LinkedIn:
1. Clean up your timeline by culling your connections
Your LinkedIn experience is largely a function of who you’re connected to. If it’s not working for you, you’re connected to the wrong people.
The solution is simple.
Firstly, decide on the type of people you want to be connected to. I have three categories (clients and prospective clients, people I can learn from, potential recruits). If you’re not in one of those categories, sorry, you aren’t coming in!
Secondly, disconnect from anyone not in those three boxes. It’s easy to do and the people you remove will probably will never notice.
Those two easy steps will make LinkedIn a far more pleasant and productive place to hang out.
2. Add value consistently
The equation for LinkedIn success is simple:
Add value + demonstrate knowledge = positioning yourself as a go-to expert
It really is that easy.
Adding value means sharing useful and relevant content through regular posts. Ideally, it’ll be content you’ve produced yourself, but there’s plenty to be gained by sharing other people’s content.
There are other ways to add value too. Comment on your connections’ posts and answer their questions. Join relevant groups and comment/answer questions on there.
Never forget though that the key to LinkedIn success is the value you add to your network.
3. Get people to click that ‘see more’ button
Scroll down your LinkedIn timeline and you will notice that only the first two or three lines of a post are displayed, accompanied by ‘…see more’.
If you’re going to achieve your aim of adding value and demonstrating knowledge you need people to read your post. That means they need to click ‘see more’ which effectively makes your first two lines your headline. So, you’ve got to make them good!
4. Don’t be shy
A few weeks ago, a financial planner told me she planned to post once a week on LinkedIn as she didn’t want to flood her connections’ timeline. It was an interesting conversation and a valuable insight into her concerns about posting online.
However, her anxiety is misplaced.
Firstly, one post a week isn’t going to flood anyone’s timeline. In fact, it’s going to get lost. She might as well not bother.
Secondly, if you’re consistently adding value, don’t worry about the frequency of your posts.
Finally, if you’re not adding value, you shouldn’t be posting anyway.
5. Ignore the noise
If you’ve got a phone, you’re going to get spam calls. And, if you’re on LinkedIn you’re going to get sales messages and recruiters pestering you. But the LinkedIn platform is no more to blame for these than Vodafone or BT are for spam phone calls.
Again, the answer is simple, change your mindset, hit delete (it literally takes about 2 seconds) and focus instead on the possibilities.
6. Build your connections
You will get far more out of physical networking events by engaging with people than spending your time sheepishly glued to the wall.
The same is true of LinkedIn. If you’re not going to make connections and build relationships, then it’s not going to work for you. That means actively building your connections, including through carefully targeted unsolicited requests.
I know some LinkedIn purists and those looking for a reason to dislike the platform won’t like this tip, but it works.
7. Change your banner image
Everyone who visits your LinkedIn profile, including people recommended to you who’ve landed there after a Google search, will see your banner. That means it’s incredibly valuable online real-estate. Unfortunately, too many advisers and planners fail to make the best of it.
Your banner image should include:
- Your logo
- A hero statement, explaining what you do and who you do it for
- Social proof
- Contact details
8. Put links in the comments
One of the key reasons for using LinkedIn is to promote content that you’ve published on your website. To be successful, you need to gain your audience’s interest (see tip #3) and encourage them follow a link to your content.
There are two places to put that link: in the post itself or in a comment below the post.
Right now (although things could change) LinkedIn’s algorithm seems to favour links in the comments. So, for now at least, that’s where you should put them. Add your post, include an image, and click ‘post’. Then, immediately add the link in the comments.
Click here to see a recent example of how this looks.
9. Encourage your team to comment on your posts
LinkedIn’s algorithm places greater value on comments than it does likes or shares. To put it another way, the more comments you get within a few hours of your post going live, the more LinkedIn will share it with other people.
So, harness the power of your team. Share your post with them and ask them to add a comment.
10. Consider some of the paid for tools
For the past two years I’ve had a Premium Business membership costing £40 per month. It’s paid for itself many times over.
If you’re serious about LinkedIn that’s the minimum level of membership you need. Then, when you’ve got to grips with that it’s worth looking into Sales Navigator and other tools built by third-party developers which allow you to get even more out of LinkedIn.
LinkedIn isn’t for everyone. To start with, your target clients must hang out on there. Next, you’ve got to have the right mindset and thirdly, you’ve got to find the time. If now’s the time to start using it, here’s some further reading to help you get the best out of LinkedIn and the 31.2 million people in the UK that use it:
*Source: Statista as of April 2021