Something strange has happened over the past couple of weeks. I’ve had three financial planners tell me that they’re making LinkedIn work for them.
That’s right, they’re actually getting leads from LinkedIn.
Surprising, isn’t it?
Actually, it’s not when we consider that LinkedIn has 33 million users in the UK (according to Statista) which is around 70% more than Twitter. Also, the three planners were investing time into LinkedIn – connecting, networking, and posting.
The combination of LinkedIn’s reach and their efforts are paying dividends.
Here’s the thing though. Most advisers and planners get nowhere near the same results. For some, that’s down to their attitude, dismissing the platform as a home for scammers, spammers, and recruitment consultants. For others, it’s down to how they use it.
We want to help.
So, we’ve researched 250 profiles of advisers and planners and uncovered five simple mistakes that most are making but are easy to fix.
Mistake #1: A poor banner image
Everyone who visits your LinkedIn profile (which, remember, is indexed by Google and will be found by potential clients) will see your banner image. That means it’s a great opportunity to impress and get some key messages across.
Your banner should ideally include:
- Your logo
- A short sentence explaining what you do and who you do it for
- Social proof, for example testimonials or online ratings
- Contact details.
Unfortunately, it’s an opportunity most advisers/planners aren’t taking.
Our research shows:
- Just 30% of advisers/planners have a logo in their banner
- A tiny 3.60% include their contact details
- A similar number (3.20%) included the short sentence explaining what they do
- Only 4.8% include any social proof.
Developing an engaging banner is simple enough to do. But, if you don’t know how, we’re here to help. Click here to email us and we’ll get back in touch.
Mistake #2: Generic headline
Your headline sits below your image. Again, it’s above the fold so everyone who visits your profile will see it.
As Phil Calvert said when I presented with him at an event in London a couple of weeks ago, your LinkedIn headline should explain what you do for your absolute ideal client.
If you help heart surgeons plan for retirement (the example Phil used), then that’s what your headline should explain. If you specialise in mortgages for doctors, that’s what your headline should say.
However, it’s another opportunity that’s missed by most of the advisers and planners in our research – 94.40% had a generic headline.
You have more space than you think, too. Your headline can be up to 220 characters and should include:
- What you do
- Who you do it for
- Why people work with you.
A final word of warning. Whenever we speak about niches, advisers and planners get nervous. They worry about “missing out” on opportunities. If you think the same, let me reassure you that you won’t. In fact, the opposite will happen. Providing your niche is big enough to achieve your aims, it’ll make your marketing easier.
Mistake #3: Posts that don’t add value
There’s certainly a place for posting about your latest client review, exam pass, or other good news. But we have to strike a balance between self-promotion and adding value.
For me, the ratio should be around 10:1. For every 10 value-adding posts, reward yourself with one self-promotional post. However, our research shows that most advisers/planners aren’t getting the balance right. Over the past month:
- Approximately 47% of the posts we analysed were news about their company or personal achievements
- 10% were motivational quotes
- Around 32% added value, often by promoting the adviser/planners’ own content or that of someone else.
Our research shows that a rebalance is clearly needed.
You can add value by:
- Sharing your own content (blogs, essays, podcasts, videos, and so on)
- Sharing other people’s content
- Using “show your work” style posts, where you draw on your day-to-day experiences to inform, educate, and add value (this is an area where most advisers/planners are particularly weak. For inspiration, read Show Your Work by Austin Kleon.)
Never forget that the key to LinkedIn success is the value you add to your network.
Mistake #4: Posting too infrequently
We’ve had a planner tell us they only post once a week as they didn’t want to “flood their connections’ timeline.” Another said they’d post once a month “because they didn’t want to bombard people.”
LinkedIn isn’t social media, it’s networking. Like all networking, both physical and online, if you don’t show up consistently, it’s never going to work.
So, if you’re going to get the same results as the planners I mentioned at the start of this article, you need to show up regularly. That means posting frequently, ideally every day. If you can’t do that, then every other day.
However, our research shows that most advisers and planners post nowhere near that frequently:
- On average, advisers and planners are adding only one post a month to LinkedIn.
- Only 6 out of the 250 advisers and planners in our research posted more than 10 times in the past 30 days.
- Only one posted at least once per day.
Of course, there could be many reasons (in addition to feeling anxious about flooding people’s timelines) why advisers/planners post so infrequently on LinkedIn. They might not:
- Have the time
- Know what to post
- See the value.
Consistency isn’t easy, but it’s a superpower all great marketers have.
There are plenty of examples in our profession to take inspiration from. Chris Budd of The Eternal Business has been publishing insightful and valuable videos on the subject of employee-owned businesses for the past three years. In January, Alan Smith and Nick Lincoln each wrote 30 essays in 30 days – that’s really impressive levels of consistency.
If they can do it, so can you!
Mistake #5: Not building an audience
Attending a physical networking event is pretty pointless if you’re going to be a wallflower. The same is true of online networking. Even if you regularly post insightful and useful content, it’ll take years to build up a significant base of connections if you wait for people to approach you.
You need to be more proactive and build your audience.
That means sending unsolicited connection requests. Yes, you heard me right, an unsolicited request. I know that many people will disagree with this piece of advice. That’s fine, but it works and it’s a hill I’ll happily die on!
For various reasons, often because they are worried about the reaction they will get, most advisers and planners don’t do this. Again, that’s another missed opportunity.
If you’re up for it, here’s what you should do.
Use the search facility to identify people that you want to be connected to. Next, send a connection request (you can send up to 200 of these each week) with a carefully worded message explaining:
- Your motivation for requesting the connection
- Reassuring them that you won’t follow up with a sales message
- The benefit to them in accepting your request (in other words: what’s in it for them?)
Some will ignore the request while others will accept it. When they do, send a message to start a conversation and take things forward from there, preferably away from LinkedIn, on a Zoom call or over a coffee.
I’ve been doing this now for 18 months. Sure, it’s time-consuming, but it’s worth it. My network has grown by around 3,600 connections. During that time, I’ve had:
- One person object to the request (you can’t please everyone, right? And nor should you try to)
- A connection rate of around 40%
- Some fantastic conversations
- New clients, directly as a result of my proactive approach.
I know that other people are seeing similar results too. If your target client uses LinkedIn, there’s no reason why this wouldn’t work for you.
Three key messages you should remember about LinkedIn
There are three key things all advisers/planners should remember about LinkedIn:
- Only use it if your target clients hang out there.
- Focus on the positives and possibilities, not the negatives.
- If you avoid the five mistakes in this blog, show up regularly and add value, you will stand out because almost no-one else is doing it.
We’ve regularly written about LinkedIn. Here are three articles to help you get the best out of the platform.
If you’re making LinkedIn work for you, we’d love to hear your story. Please drop us a line to email@example.com or call 0115 8965 300.