“STOP RIGHT THERE, POLICE!” Why did he bother? It never bloody worked.
DI Jamie Harding took the narrow, dank stairwell three at a time, legs screaming in protest as he reached the tenth floor of the car park. Through the double doors, bang, and out into the cold night air.
Fluorescent strip lighting flickered above his head as he scanned his surroundings. He can’t have gone far, surely. Jamie needed a break, and tonight he was going to catch the lying bas…
There! A glimmer of movement in his peripheral, disappearing behind a battered old Transit about 50 feet away. “DI Harding to DC Michaels, where the hell are you?!,” Jamie roared into his radio as he hurtled forwards, heart pounding in his chest.
“Guv… I…. last… park,” came the reply, peppered with static.
“Oh, to hell with this.” Jamie gave up with the comms, hoping his colleague would have enough common sense to have followed him up from ground level with the car. This was his collar, after all.
20 feet, 10 feet. He hadn’t seen any more movement. Not necessarily a good sign.
Flattening himself against the passenger side of the van, Jamie tried to steady his breathing, quietly freeing the CS spray from his utility belt. Deep breath. Edging around the rear of the vehicle, Jamie readied the canister.
“HANDS WHERE I CAN SEE THEM!,” he shouted, swinging out to the driver’s side. Feet firmly planted, strong body upright and poised, he was confronted with a sorry figure slumped against the neighbouring Mondeo, breath heaving.
Jamie was glad to know he wasn’t the only one who’d found this latest pursuit a challenge.
And, always just that little bit too late, blue flashing lights careered into view. With a sad attempt at a J-turn, DC Michaels haphazardly swung the Astra to a screeching halt vaguely nearby, leaping from the car and rushing towards them.
“Yes, thanks, Matt, I’ve done that bit. And that manoeuvre was embarrassing.”
Reaching the front of the Transit, Matt looked up at Jamie. “So, what are we going to do with this one?,” he said, eyeing the unusually defeated man on the floor.
Crouching, Jamie came eye-to-eye with his adversary. “Well, while it’s just the three of us,” he said, a wicked grin darkening his handsome features, “you’re going to tell us exactly where to find those LinkedIn tips you’ve been hiding.”
Sorry, I should explain
So, I’m on holiday in Malta at the minute. Good wine, gorgeous weather, and better company. Oh, and if you hadn’t guessed, quite a lot of crime fiction to while away the long days by the pool. Poor me, eh?
Hence my little intro. Do forgive me, we’re here to talk about LinkedIn really.
This time last year, I shared 50 ways to stand out from the crowd on LinkedIn. But, as any social media user will know, a lot can change in a year!
So, since I’ve taken up quite a bit of your valuable time with my histrionics, let’s get straight down to brass tacks.
Here’s the 50 up-to-date top tips DI Harding was so keen to get his hands on.
#1: Your profile URL should be your name, combined with your business name, separated by hyphens. For example, “abi-robinson-yardstick”.
#2: Your banner is prime online real estate. It should include your logo, some social proof (like your VouchedFor or Google rating), your contact details and website address, and a short statement explaining what you do and who you do it for. Check out ours if you’re not sure what I mean.
#3: Upload a clear, professional profile picture. Your face should fill most of the little circle, and ideally you’ll be wearing what you’d wear to meet a prospect for the first time. LinkedIn says you’ll receive 21 times more profile views than those without a picture.
#4: Don’t miss a trick when it comes to your name. Phil’s is “Phil Bray – Financial Services Marketing Specialist” so, when someone happens across his profile, anyone who reads it knows who he is and what he does. (It’s a real mouthful when one of us across the office needs him.)
#5: Your headline demands some serious thought. Nope, sorry, your job title alone just won’t cut it these days. You’ve got 220 characters to show your ideal clients you mean business. What do you do? Who do you do it for? Why should people work with you? Bonus points if you can squeeze some social proof in.
#6: Neglect your contact information at your own peril. Your website address, telephone number, office address, email address, links to other social media channels and, perhaps most unexpectedly, your birthday. Everyone in your network will get a notification on the big day. I’ve known prospects be nudged into getting in touch by that.
#7: Switch Creator Mode on. It’s a profile setting that can help grow your reach and influence on LinkedIn, marking your card as a thought leader who knows their stuff. We weren’t convinced before, but we are now. Please drop me a line if you can think of a good reason why you shouldn’t take advantage of it.
#8: Think of your “about” section as a longer version of your headline. Use sub-headings, make them stand out using YayText, and use graphics (Phil won’t let me say “emojis”) to add some visual diversity.
#9: Let’s say you have to sell yourself and your business using an elevator pitch. That’s your “featured” section. Often overlooked, but very important. You could include your best LinkedIn posts, links to your website, client videos (I haven’t seen anyone do this), your latest webinar registration page… the world is your small rectangular oyster.
#10: Turn off the People Also Viewed feature. It’s LinkedIn’s version of a big neon sign on your profile that says, “If you like the look of me, you’ll love my competitors!”
#11: Write a powerful hook. As David Ogilvy said, “When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.” Whether your reader hits “see more” or scrolls on is down to your opening line(s).
#12: It might be a text-based platform, but silence is golden. Clever formatting means making good use of white space and considering both desktop and mobile viewing. It’s stealth marketing at its finest.
#13: Use at least 80% of your posts to add value and position you as a go-to expert in your field. Learn to say one thing 1,000 ways, and say it loud and proud. Gatekeeping your expertise is a surefire way of turning prospects off.
#14: Repurpose content. Promotion > production. No, really.
#15: We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again… links go in the comments! There used to be a 20% penalty for being the first person to comment on your own post. Now, you won’t even get a slap on the wrist. But if you stick the link in the post itself, you’re looking at 55-60% less reach. Need I say more?
#16: Have a personality. It’s all well and good being an expert in your field, but if your content is as dry as a good Sauvignon, your prospects are going to find someone more approachable to do business with. Personality trait + professional niche = winning strategy. There are over 10,000 financial advisers/planners on LinkedIn. But how many of them also go bouldering every weekend?
#17: Storytelling is your best friend. There’s a time and a place for “X top tips to do Y” (right now and here, for example) but it’ll never beat explaining how you’ve used your years of experience to help a real-life client achieve their dreams. Showing always beats telling. See #23 if you’re stumped on this one.
#18: Define your content pillars. By this, we mean three to five themes that you rotate through every week. For example, for some of our clients, that might be; retirement planning, estate planning, investing, and “personal”. Every week, the content varies, but your themes are a constant. Unsure about that last one? Phil’s #neronuggets or my weekend in photos, anyone?
#19: Encourage engagement. Ask questions, invite comments, spark a dialogue with your online audience. Despite the algorithmic changes, we’ve consistently seen great results from high-quality, thoughtful polls.
#20: Successfully navigate the spam filter. Avoid bad grammar, multiple links, tagging 5+ people who are unlikely to engage, posting too regularly, and hashtags such as #comment, #like or #follow. Oh, and any more than 10 hashtags is too many.
#21: Once your post has made it past the filter, capitalise on your golden hour – the 60 to 90 minutes after sharing your post. If you get 10 comments in that time, it’s odds on that you’ll reach 1,000+ impressions within 24 hours.
#22: Wherever you can, use photos you’ve taken rather than stock photos from the internet. They don’t even need to directly relate to your post. Selfies, a photo of your desk, your lunchtime walk, your commute, your family… it really does make a difference. And please stop using that shot of the two businessmen high-fiving.
#23: Buy Show Your Work by Austin Kleon. It’s a treasure trove of ideas to help you with #17.
#24: When writing a list, start with the longest item and work your way down to the shortest. Either that, or try to make every line in the list roughly the same length. No fancy algorithm hacks, it just looks better!
#25: Short posts > long posts. Now, as a caveat, we’ve written long posts for clients that have done very well. I’ve uploaded long posts that have done very well. But we’re all bombarded by masses of information these days. Get in, make your point, get out. It’s very refreshing for your audience.
#26: UGC (User Generated Content) is a gold mine. If your clients are happy for you to share photos, videos, and stories of how you’ve changed their lives, you’ve hit the jackpot.
#27: Even without UGC, social proof should be a major feature of your posting strategy.
#28: Avoid paralysis by analysis. Data is your friend, but you can have too much of a good thing. I’m thinking six-monthly or annual reviews once you’ve reached a nice, consistent groove with your social presence. Treat your socials like your clients’ investment portfolios.
#29: Community building is more important than the figures. 1,457 impressions aren’t going to pay the bills. “Hi, could we arrange an initial call?” popping up in your DMs is moving in the right direction.
#30: If you only remember one word from this blog, it needs to be “consistency”.
#31: Include a personalised note when you send connection requests. In an experiment we did, it increased acceptance rates by 146% when compared with no note.
#32: But please don’t pitch slap anyone as soon as you connect with them. Your message should be genuine and non-salesy. Email me if you want to see a few examples.
#33: Grow your network in a meaningful way. Use the various search filters, the “alumni” section of university pages, or the “people” area of company pages to find your ideal clients (or recruitment candidates). No scattergun approach, please.
#34: Take offline networking online. Met someone at an event? Send a request. Attended an online webinar and rated the host? Send a request. Read a blog about LinkedIn, thought it was the bee’s knees, and want to connect with the author? Why, thank you.
#35: Add all your current clients on LinkedIn. They’re probably your most powerful advocates on social media. Nothing beats a comment of praise from someone who your ideal clients can relate to. And, while we’re at it, add your prospects and professional connections too. LinkedIn is a vital part of your nurturing process with them.
#36: Don’t send too many connection requests in a short period of time. A restriction could be heading your way. A sweaty-palm inducing prospect when you’ve spent valuable time working on your profile. It’s hard to put a figure on it (as LinkedIn won’t tell us what “too many” looks like) but the upper limit is 200 per week. That’s around 28 per day. If you’re planning on using up all 28, spread them out through the morning or afternoon.
#37: Clear pending requests that haven’t been accepted within two weeks. Hundreds pending = a red flag = more chance of account restriction.
#38: Don’t be afraid to cull your network every now and again. Unless you work with them, if they don’t educate, entertain, or inspire you, I say get rid! (Ok, even if you do work with them, they aren’t notified if you remove them, but you’re not putting that one on me.)
#39: There’s no obligation to accept requests, you know. If someone doesn’t fit the above criteria, or they don’t look like your ideal client, you have my permission to ignore. They don’t receive a notification if you do.
#40: At the end of every week, spend a few minutes reviewing your diary. Spoken to someone you aren’t connected with on LinkedIn? You can guess the rest.
#41: These days, engagement is (arguably) as important as posting. If you only have a few minutes to spare, spend it reacting to, and/or commenting on, other people’s content.
#42: Whose content, I hear you ask? In order of priority: ideal clients, current clients, people in our profession. But keep it simple. If you see a post you can add value to, leave a comment. It’ll be pushed out onto the feed of your connections.
#43: But please, please, please, don’t use that comment to sell your wares.
#44: We haven’t spoken much about company pages but, if you have one, get your colleagues involved. Start a social media super group of willing and committed people within your business who can engage with the content regularly.
#45: Do. Not. Share. Posts. Comments > reactions > reposts.
#46: Oh, and comments of more than twelve words are king. Anything less than that, you won’t be getting an algorithm-shaped pat on the back.
#47: Don’t be afraid of direct outreach in the right circumstances. “I’ve seen your recent posts and thought X might be of interest” is unlikely to get anyone’s back up.
#48: Reply to comments on your own posts in a timely manner. A) it’s polite, and B) it pushes your post up in the algorithm if you reply within the golden hour.
#49: Did I mention not to share posts? If you can show me some hard evidence to convince us otherwise, you need to get in touch!
#50: Scorecards are a fantastic way of broaching a conversation, especially in someone’s DMs.
Can’t wait another year?
If 2024 feels like a long time to wait for the next instalment of DI Jamie Harding and DC Matt Michaels on the hunt for LinkedIn-top-tip-hiding crims, there’s no need for delay.
My team have a wealth of experience in social media management for the financial services profession. If LinkedIn is something you’ve dabbled with but had little success, or one of those things you’re keen to start taking seriously, you know where we are.
You can email firstname.lastname@example.org, call 0115 8965 300, or jump on live chat using that pop-up on the bottom right of your screen.