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Forget Everything: A Guide to Optimizing Your LinkedIn and Building Your Network

by The Seven Team

LinkedIn – the 800-pound gorilla in the professional social media world. No other platform comes close. 530 million members worldwide, 260 million are active regularly – it can be an incredible platform for network building and business, especially for financial advisors. In fact, there are over 40 million users fitting into the mass affluent category on the platform, and it’s the number two digital channel for investors when searching for information about financial advisors, second only to Google.

We connect with advisors on LinkedIn every day, and every day we see advisors work to build their network, drive engagement, and build their brand. While some advisors do it well, others are clearly struggling – boring content, profiles that aren’t optimized, selling too hard.

If you boil down LinkedIn to three things –it’s a network builder, lead researcher, and soft-sell tool. So when it comes to being successful on the platform you need to forget everything you know and ensure taking the proper steps, which we cover below.

Optimize Your Personal Profile

The first step is getting your personal profile built out to help you attract and engage your network. There are a few key areas that you need to focus on.

 

Profile image

  • Make sure this is a clear, professional picture – avoid a messy background, ensure there’s a focal point. People want to be able to see who they’re connecting with. Also, don’t hesitate to add a distinct color to the background of your profile image – many companies do this to create consistency across their team.

Banner image

  • Ensure your banner speaks to the brand and/or your location (i.e. cityscape photo). Use clear, minimal copy in the banner image, and don’t let your profile photo block any copy. A profile banner is more important than you think – it’s the introduction to your brand on the site, and a poorly designed one is off-putting for anyone viewing your profile.

Headline

  • Don’t create a long fancy headline. We see it all the time where advisors will write a sentence or two describing themselves and their role. Don’t do this – keep it simple, keep it brief, keep it functional.

About Section

  • Spend the time to fill this out with intention, it’s valuable space to hook people into you; don’t let it go to waste. Break up your about section into key areas, including:
    • Who you are
    • What the company does
    • What you specialize in
  • A good way to think about the structure of your about description is: a brief paragraph, followed by bullets points, and wrapping it in another brief paragraph. This allows you to engage the reader without exhausting them through 4-5 paragraphs.

Experience

  • When it comes to experience, a lot of people think company and job title is enough. It isn’t. You don’t need to include a ton of information but it should paint a picture of the role and how you succeeded.
  • Add 2-5 sentences or bullets on your current and past roles that highlight divisions or aspects of the business you were responsible for and what your contribution was. Again, there’s no need for substantial detail, but you want enough to drive home your points.

Additional Detail

  • Continue to keep the advisor role in mind as you fill out all sections. This includes education, certifications, and any volunteer experience. These help you connect with people and networks.
  • Request recommendations from colleagues who have worked with you. These can go a long way and allow you to show your expertise through your network.

Expanding Your Network

LinkedIn is not about hard selling, it never should be, ever. This is where LinkedIn’s value is:  

  • More connections = more prospective clients
  • Opportunity to add value to more people
  • The network effect – LinkedIn’s algorithm exposes your content to 2nd and 3rd connections

LinkedIn loves consistency. The algorithm rewards dependable users  so it’s important to make your engagement strategy as much a part of your routine as any other critical part of your business.  The entire goal of LinkedIn is to bring your target audience into your network so they can start to learn from you, and you can learn from them. Ultimately, the key is to become familiar and known, so it’s easier when you go to make an ask over time.

Connect with 10-50 people a week in your target market – doctors, lawyers, dentists, business owners, etc.

  • Build templatized messages that can be customized to connect, but don’t spam. Be more methodical – lower volume, but better-quality volume.
  • Find commonalities that you can bring up in the first cold message, make the introduction about them, root it in something unique about their profile.

Share 1-5 pieces of content a week on LinkedIn. As you expand your network with those in your target audience, it helps keep you top of mind.

  • Lifestyle, third party articles/videos, from-the-road content. Videos, articles, third-party/first party – build your content strategy around what could be interesting/valuable to your community.
  • The key is not to carpet bomb – that’s where a lot of advisors go wrong. You have to root it in experience, and add some flavor to each post.

Get involved in conversations surrounding a specific topic. Hashtags and groups can be incredibly useful in this context.

  • Set alerts on leads via Sales Navigator so you can track their activity, then engage with them on the platform as they share content, move jobs, etc.

Finally, one of the best tools out there to connect with people is Sales Navigator. If you don’t have it, look into it – you can get very specific on searches, save leads to lists, set alerts for connections you want to track, etc. Especially if you’re trying to market strategically vs. going with the shotgun approach.

Looking for more? Here’s another good read on Leveraging LinkedIn

Any questions on LinkedIn, feel free to email the team at info@thesevengroup.com.

 


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