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Revealed: 5 mistakes financial planners make on LinkedIn (plus 5 things the most effective planners do)

The thought of spending time on LinkedIn might fill you with dread.

If that’s the case and your target client doesn’t use LinkedIn you get a pass this week. You can stop reading and go do something else!

However, if the people you want to attract as clients do use it, carry on reading, because we’re on a mission to get advisers and planners to see LinkedIn differently and use it more effectively.

We’ve noticed that there are a bunch of common mistakes being made, which can easily be avoided. There are also some advisers and planners using LinkedIn really well.

So, here are our top five mistakes, plus five things advisers and planners who use LinkedIn effectively do.

5 mistakes financial advisers and planners make on LinkedIn

#1: Bitching, moaning and whining about LinkedIn

LinkedIn is my favourite social media platform. The quality of interactions and engagement is better than Twitter and it doesn’t have the systematic and algorithmic issues that Facebook does.

That said, there’s no doubt the way some people use it is bloody annoying. But let’s be clear, that’s a people problem, not a platform problem.

So, rationalise your connections, make liberal use of the ‘ignore’ button and change your mindset to focus on LinkedIn’s benefits, not its faults. If you can’t get there, then ditch it. Life’s too short. But, if you can, there are huge benefits to using LinkedIn. Assuming your target audience hangs out there, of course!

#2: Tagging random people into your posts

We’ve noticed a growing number of people on both Twitter and LinkedIn randomly tagging people into their posts in a crude attempt to attract attention and solicit shares or retweets.

Sure, if there’s a genuine reason to tag someone, go for it. There’s no doubt it increases engagement because they receive a notification letting them know they’ve been tagged. Then hopefully they’ll read the post and then like, share or comment. That plays well with LinkedIn’s algorithm which will then promote the post more widely.

However, the trend of tagging in all and sundry is annoying and will alienate people. Far better to focus your energy on writing valuable and engaging posts which will be shared without the need to resort to such tactics.

#3: Selling too quickly

Everyone is selling something and as soon as you stop your business starts to die. But, there’s a time and a place and an unsolicited sales message sent a few seconds after making a new connection is neither.

Far better to connect with the right people, then consistently add value through insightful posts and great content. Follow this formula and you will never have to resort to unsolicited sales messages.

#4: Posting without images

Convention dictates that a post with an image will get more engagement than one without. However, we still see people posting on LinkedIn without going to the trouble of adding an eye-catching image.

In common with adding links in the comments rather than the post itself, it’s a pain to find a royalty-free image, download it, then add it to your post. But, if it means your carefully crafted post gets more engagement, surely it’s worth it?

#5: Stalking people who’ve viewed your profile

LinkedIn allows you to see who has looked at your profile. It’s interesting, but what do you do with that information?

I know some people who send: “I notice you looked at my profile” messages. I’ve been guilty of this in the distant past, but I’ve now stopped. It’s just odd, people didn’t respond and it created a task (responding to you) in their otherwise busy day.

Now, I still look but I don’t send the messages. I might find another, genuine, reason to connect or engage with their posts.

5 habits of effective LinkedIn users

We’ve also identified five things the advisers and planners who use LinkedIn effectively do. So, we thought we’d share those too.

#1: They’re consistent

Life’s busy. But, if you’re going to get the best out of LinkedIn you need to show up regularly. That means setting time aside, perhaps each day, or a couple of times per week when you give LinkedIn your full attention.

During your ‘LinkedIn time’ you should:

  • Add posts
  • Review your timeline, sharing your connections’ posts, liking and commenting
  • Seek out new relevant connections
  • Review your notifications and messages, and respond appropriately.

I spend the first 30 minutes of each working day on LinkedIn. I’ve forced myself to get into the habit and reward myself after I’m done with my first cuppa of the day. It works for me. It might not for you. But find what does and get into good habits.

#2: They know how to construct posts

We know certain tactics will result in more people engaging with your posts:

  • Be interesting, relevant and add value
  • Draw from their experiences (if you’ve not read it yet pick up a copy of Austin Kleon’s Show Your Workit’ll change the way you post on LinkedIn forever)
  • Write your posts as carefully as you would a blog following the same process of writing, editing and proofing
  • Include images
  • If you’re including a link, put it in the comments, not in the main post (here’s how and why)
  • Tag in relevant people or your own business (avoid mistake #2 though)

#3: They build effective profiles

Posting effectively means more people, some of whom will be prospective clients, will visit your profile. That means it needs to be as effective as possible.

We’ll write a piece soon on how to build a killer LinkedIn profile.

In the meantime, if you’ve not visited your profile for a while, now is the time to take a look and see whether what prospects see builds on the favourable impression you’ve already created or diminishes it.

#4: They’re selfish about who they let into their network

Networks, whether physical or online, are only as good as the quality of the people in them. However, many of us have subscribed to the view that the more connections we had, the better.

I no longer believe that’s true and now favour quality over quantity. So, a while ago I sat down and decided which type of people I wanted to connect with. Those people fell into three categories and from there I disconnected with anyone not in those groups.

Furthermore, I’m now incredibly selfish about who I let into my network:

  • Unsolicited connection requests from people not in one of those groups are declined
  • Connection requests from people in those groups are accepted
  • However, if I receive an immediate sales message, the connection is removed.

Be selfish. Decide who you want in your network and stick to it. It’s the single biggest thing which will improve your LinkedIn experience.

#5: They take the rough with the smooth

Even if you follow all our hints and tips, you will never completely eradicate all annoying practices.

But you don’t stop using your mobile phone because you get a cold call. You don’t stop answering the door because a salesperson calls. So, don’t let how the minority use LinkedIn stop you reaping the potential benefits.

And finally…

If you’d like to discuss LinkedIn or hear more about how we’re using it on behalf of the advisers and planners we work with please get in touch.

You can email [email protected] or call 0115 8965 300. We’d be delighted to hear from you!

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