Establishing social media relevancy and maintaining a positive online presence is essential for the modern advisor. Online platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are great for showing personality, both socially and professionally, and they’re relatively easy to use and understand. LinkedIn, however, is another story.
As a financial advisor, LinkedIn is a great tool to both connect with other professionals in your field or even with potential clients, so it’s important to take advantage of all that LinkedIn has to offer as the top business social network out there. But first, make sure you’re aware of the common mistakes that could make or break your image and effectiveness on the platform. Take a look at some of the Do’s and Don’ts of LinkedIn etiquette to put your personal or business brand a step ahead.
DO treat your profile like a professional brochure – By keeping your profile up-to-date, you will be showing everyone who visits your profile the best of your experiences, accomplishments and skills. This can be an effective way to stand out against other financial advisors who are either in the same area or present the same services. This includes choosing a profile picture that also portrays professionalism. It doesn’t need to be a professional headshot— although having one is beneficial—but make sure you add one as soon as possible.
DON’T allow your profile to be stagnant— Keep your profile a relevant source of news for the financial services industry. You don’t want to post too much, but posting relevant content or news to your profile once a day can help boost your credibility and show your connections that you are invested in your work.
DO provide a summary – In relation to keeping your profile up-to-date, writing a great summary and clearly stating your mission or personal brand is one of the best ways for other people to determine if they should connect with you. This is also where you can reel in potential clients by ending your summary with a call to action; let them know what you can do and how they should get in touch with you other than on LinkedIn, if you wish.
DON’T ask people you don’t know for recommendations or endorsements—This can go both ways. Save recommendations and endorsements for people you either know well or have worked closely with. Asking for these from people that you haven’t worked with or know may come back to bite you in the future if a client or employer tries to follow upon them. Furthermore, you never know if the person you’re asking has a poor reputation, which will reflect negatively on you in the end.
DO personalize connection requests– LinkedIn’s biggest purpose is networking. As a financial advisor, you want to make sure that you’re connecting with people relevant to your business or expertise. Show that you’ve taken the time to research why you should be connecting and what they are about. Some people may report random requests from people they don’t know as spam, and if it happens a few times LinkedIn could suspend your account.
DON’T send messages without unselecting— This is a common mistake that can lead to an embarrassing blunder. If you want to send the same message to several different people, make sure that you unselect the option that says, “Allow recipients to see each other’s names and email addresses.” Some people may be offended that they are just a number in a message blast, and others may view it as spam. Make sure that each time you reach out to someone it’s as personal as possible.
DO nurture relationships— You may find that you have a lot of connections if you’ve had a LinkedIn profile for a while, and it’s impossible to speak with each of these people every day. However, it’s important that you try your best to nurture any relationship you can, especially if it’s with a potential client. Just because one of your connections doesn’t need your financial advice right now, that doesn’t mean they may not need it in the future. By keeping up with your connections, sending a positive comment when you’re notified of a change in their profile or on something that they’ve posted, you can let them know you’re open to speaking with them. Respond promptly to any messages from your connections and keep in touch with as many as you can.
DO keep your contact list open– Again, networking is a large portion of LinkedIn’s purpose. By hiding your contacts, you may come across as self-serving. By keeping this list open, you allow for people to see who you know in the industry. This can both boost your credibility and, if a connection asks for an introduction to someone on your contact list, present an opportunity for you to be able to ask for an introduction in return if you ever need it.
LinkedIn should be a tool that enables you to make connections that can further your business or success as a financial advisor, help you stay updated on news in the financial services industry and build brand awareness for both you and your firm. Make sure to put time and effort into crafting your online image, and do your best to shed light on what you can do and who you are as a professional.
Sara Kosior is a Junior Public Relations Associate at Flackable, a national public relations agency supporting the communications needs of registered investment advisors (RIAs) and other forward-thinking financial services firms. To learn more about Flackable, please visit www.flackable.com.