A social media presence is critical to making it in the world today. Facebook has become our go-to conduit for sharing news. Instagram has evolved into a verb in its own right. If we want to know what President Donald Trump is up to, we check Twitter.
But when it comes to LinkedIn, the top professional social media outlet, many of us have a much more distant relationship, only updating our profiles when we’re looking for a job. It’s time to change that attitude and start embracing LinkedIn as a channel that deserves our daily attention.
I’ve been speaking about the importance of social media in financial services for a decade now, and it’s still a topic that requires conversations and education. Finance is composed of mainly left-brained quantitative thinkers who are not always naturally social or inclined to taking risks. The industry as a whole has lagged behind consumer brands and other sectors that have embraced social media as a way to reach clients, build brands, and expand professional networks.
LinkedIn is the best and easiest platform from which wealth managers, private banks, and similar entities can launch their social media efforts. The familiarity of its user interface along with its obvious business applications make it the path of least resistance. That is why I call LinkedIn social media’s “gateway drug.”
But how do you make your LinkedIn profile attractive and compelling? How do you stand out? You can start with these easy first steps:
1. Update Your Photo
Most financial professionals already have LinkedIn profiles. But these are often out-of-date. Your profile picture should be recent and accurate enough that clients and contacts could identify you on the street. While everyone wants to look their best, if you have way less hair and much more weight than in your old photo, it’s time for a change.
2. Check Your Headline
You’re more than just a “financial professional.” Make that clear in your LinkedIn profile header: Have a clear job title and company or organization. Identify the keywords with which you want to associate yourself and your personal brand. For example, I like to reference “wealthtech,” “content,” and “digital.”
3. Rewrite Your Introduction
Go beyond your headline and reveal more about who you are. Be clear and transparent about your past experience and use those easily searchable keywords. Talk about your passions. Are you a volunteer on your child’s soccer team, an active gardener, or a charitable fundraiser? Mention it. Wealth managers often underestimate the difference relationships can make in attracting and retaining clients. According to Capgemini’s “World Wealth Report 2018,” feelings of personal connection can be more important to client satisfaction than investment returns.
4. Be Social
Put the “social” in social media and post updates, exchange articles, and engage with others. “Like” content that you find interesting. Leave feedback for your connections. Share your interests and hobbies, work-related and otherwise, whether through videos, podcasts, or other media. After all, your posts shouldn’t just regurgitate company reports. So if you volunteer with the local animal welfare charity, share its posts with your followers. Or post a new recipe for the cauliflower that you grow in your garden. This type of content will help people relate to you and see that you’re more than your job title and professional experience. Try to make this part of your daily routine.
5. Make Connections
LinkedIn is a great way to network. Use it to prospect for new referral sources and new clients. Individual firms have social media policies that must be followed, but you can still make connections and have conversations just as you would over coffee at a conference. Add those people you meet socially and professionally each day. If there is someone you want to meet, reach out to them.
The professional opportunities on LinkedIn are limitless. So use it often, expand your social profile, and make LinkedIn the social platform it was meant to be.
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All posts are the opinion of the author. As such, they should not be construed as investment advice, nor do the opinions expressed necessarily reflect the views of CFA Institute or the author’s employer.
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