30th August, 2023 - Webinar replay
How financial advisers can make LinkedIn work for them in 2023 and beyond with Antony George Recruitment
For those that wanted to attend, but couldn’t, they wanted to make sure that we recorded it. So I’ll make sure that we send that across to everybody. I’m always keen to start on time. Because most likely people are in their lunch break or something like that, so, I’m always keen to start on time. You should all be familiar with Zoom, if you can hear us, please use the chat function to say “yes, hi.” or whatever you like. We’re also using questions and answers today. We want this to be super, super engaging webinar, we want you to maximise your time today. Ask Abi many questions, she’s an absolute dream and she will help us through.
For those of you that don’t know me, my name is Lewis Byford, I’m the co-founder of Antony George recruitment, we’re a specialist recruitment agency that focuses solely on the financial planning industry. For us, it’s all about adding value. That’s the main reason we do these webinars; it’s to add value to the industry that we work in and to the industry that we love. Today, we are joined by the fabulous Abi. Abi is Head of Social Media at The Yardstick Agency, now the highest-rated marketing agency specialising in financial services in the UK. She has had a varied career. But directly prior to her employment with Yardstick, she was awarded a Masters of Arts with distinction in early modern history from the University of York, York is one of my favourite cities. My add there Abi. She’s also worked as a careers adviser at a university and has worked as an assistant producer for two podcasts assisting with with their social media efforts. When Abi joined Yardstick, and they didn’t have a social media department, and now she manages a team of three social media executives offering paid and organic social media to over 81 clients globally. So thank you so much for joining us this afternoon, Abi.
Thank you for having us.
Absolute pleasure. So what we got in store for everyone today, then from your side?
Oh, shall I not keep the suspense? Shall I just share my screen?
Oh, go on then, let us in. Let us know what’s going on.
I’ve got a little question for everybody, so, I’ll stick that up now. Can you see the presentation?
Yes I can, crystal clear.
Wonderful. So yes, basically what I wanted to – Hello, everybody. That is a good start. – what I wanted to know to start with is what do you want to get out of today? Obviously, I’ve got my big long list of things that I want to talk to you about. But it’d be really nice to hear if there’s one thing that you’re really keen to know at three o’clock that you don’t know at two o’clock. Put something in the chat now and I will do my best to cycle around to it if I don’t cover it anyway. So while you do that, I will just go over a bit of housekeeping. Now it says no backup, obviously we’ve got Lewis here, but anybody who has been on a Yardstick Webinar will know that we don’t often come in on our own. We go mob-handed and we come at you with me, Phil and Dan. So, that just means that it’s just me and Lewis today. So just bear with us with the chat and the Q&A. If it takes us a couple of minutes to get around to your question, don’t worry, we’re on our way, we can see that you’ve messaged, and we will do our best to get everybody’s questions answered before the hour is up. I can already see that a couple of bits and pieces are coming in, so, thank you for that. The follow up email, Lewis, I believe that will have the recording, as you said, and I’m happy to share these slides as well.
Fantastic. Thank you. Yep, we get that up either this afternoon or it’ll be first thing in the morning.
Perfect. The structure of the session will just be a bit of an overview of LinkedIn. I imagine everybody here knows what it is. But just in case you don’t, we’re going to have a brief overview and then we’ll just get right into the mistakes that people make, why we think you should be using LinkedIn, and the four key things that we think that you should be prioritising when you’re using LinkedIn. It says, enjoy, because that’s what we’re here for. I don’t want this to be a drab, boring hour of your life that you don’t get anything from. If you think I’m talking rubbish, or you want to know more, please tell us. Like Lewis said, we want as much engagement as possible and we’re really grateful that you’re sharing this hour of your life with us. So, just let us know if there’s anything that isn’t clear, or that you want more information on. In terms of the PS, you might see in some of these examples that I’m not taking my own advice. Now, I feel like I need to caveat that. So, as Head of Social, I feel it’s my responsibility to try things that maybe we don’t recommend at the minute to see if we should recommend them in future. So, Phil is the golden boy and he will follow all of the advice that we recommend because we know it works but I’m doing things a little bit differently just to see if there are any improvements that we could make. So don’t tell me off if you see anything that doesn’t quite make sense. Does that all sound okay, Lewis?
Yeah, very much looking forward to it. Absolutely. Some of the stuff that I’ve done historically that’s worked really well, for me, I’m happy to share that and my best practice. I know there’s some key things here that I particularly use LinkedIn for. That has come in by Paul, about networking, engaging professional introducers, how to win the professional introducers over and what they actually want to hear from you. So there’s some key things that we’ve done as well. So yeah, happy to have to have a real open chat around that, too.
Perfect. Sounds good. So thank you to Robert, Phil, Karen, and Paul, for putting your questions in the chat. So we are going to come to those later on. So what I’ll do is circle back around to those questions at the end and if I don’t feel that I’ve answered them, we’ll get hold of them then. So thank you for putting them in. That’s really useful.
So, what is LinkedIn? this screen looks very old and that’s because it is 20 years old. LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network and it was launched in 2003. As of January this year, it had 35 million users in the UK, and when I start referring to a feed, that is what we can also call an algorithm. So the way that LinkedIn displays your feed the things that you see when you log in, that is because of the algorithm that’s working in the background. So if you hear me use those two words interchangeably, that is why. This next screen should look a lot more familiar. This is what we enjoy when we log into LinkedIn these days. And I think the first thing to iron out before we talk about where everybody’s at with their profiles, is, do we think LinkedIn is social media or networking? Now, if we are getting technical, the definition of social media is apps or web browsers that allow you to share content or participate in social networking. So we’re sort of straying into both areas there, and networking is when you interact with others to exchange views, and develop your relationships. So I’ve said at the bottom, shall we just call it quits and say social networking? I think it’s a bit of both. But I definitely think we come down more on the side of networking. The kind of people that you can expect to find on LinkedIn are business owners and professionals, which is entirely why a lot of financial advisers and planners use it for their business efforts, because a lot of us are targeting those kinds of clients. It’s great because you’ve got 24/7 access to it. As Lewis said, we look after clients globally, and LinkedIn is a tool that allows us to do that. The main things that we always recommend doing, and this is another reason why I think it’s more networking than it is social media, is because you need to be demonstrating knowledge, as Lewis said at the beginning, adding value is a key part of anybody’s business strategy, and never more so on LinkedIn where there is so much noise. It’s a space to develop your network and build your relationships with other people and I would say that it’s far more in a professional context than it is in a social context, at least for my work anyway. So it’s up to you. But I’m going to stick with social networking for now.
So, why should you care about LinkedIn? Thank you to the people who sent their profile URLs over, because I did have a quick look at where people are doing really well on LinkedIn and whether they’re potentially falling down a little bit. If Sandy’s on the call, very well done, because you were the only person I found, whose banner image had everything that we’d recommend. So, well done Sandy if you’re here and watching. The main areas where people were falling down, were the profile URL, the banner image, the recommendation section, not having creator mode switched on, your name, and your headline. We’re going to talk about all of those in a minute, so just bear those in mind, have a think about your own profile and if you think you’re falling in the naughty category there. In terms of what people were doing, well, most people have got a really good picture, nearly everybody, which I was quite impressed by, had got some activity in the last month, either reposting or commenting, or posting something themselves, which I was really surprised about. I’m not surprised to see that the experience and education sections are filled in for most people, because that’s what LinkedIn has always been known as, a jobs board, so those are the first things that you would fill in. We’re going to come back to those in a minute. Why should you care about LinkedIn at all? Google will index both your personal profile and your company profile and that means that if somebody searches for you, or your business, then the likelihood is, that your personal and company profiles on LinkedIn are going to pop up on one of the first pages on Google. So, if you’ve not posted anything, you’ve not even claimed your page, or, it really isn’t very effective, your prospects are still going to find it as are your existing clients, your professional connections, and potential recruitment candidates and they’re all going to be pretty disappointed. So if you want to stand out from the crowd, there are roughly 15,400 financial advisers and planners on LinkedIn. Now some people could say “Oh, so many people, what’s the point?” but equally, I think the last figures in 2021 was something like 28,000 financial advisers in the UK; that didn’t stop you from entering the industry, so don’t let that figure stop you caring about LinkedIn. So this is from Phil’s webinar that he did last year, if anybody can remember it, and it’s worked really well, because the five key things that we think you might be doing wrong with LinkedIn, form the strategy for what you need to do, right. So, if any of these are familiar to you, if you think, yep, that’s me, then don’t worry, because that’s exactly how we form the basis of an effective LinkedIn strategy is by challenging some of these mindsets. That is the first mistake, the wrong mindset. A lot of people think, there’s so many people on LinkedIn, what’s the point? Or, my clients aren’t on there, without doing any research at all, and all of these things will stop you from having a consistent approach to something that could be a very powerful tool for your business.
First things first, you’ve got to come into this with an open mind, everything that we’re going to discuss today, a lot of it will probably be new to you but just give me a bit of time to explain. Second thing is a poor profile. We’re about to go into all the different bits and pieces we’d recommend in a good profile. So as I’ve said, a lot of people are falling down in easily fixable areas that are not going to take you long to sort out. The third one is a bit of a bigger issue; if you’re not posting consistently, or the posts that you’re posting, are just getting tumbleweeds, then that’s something we need to tackle. Not building an audience i.e. not sending connection requests, you’ve just solved your posts, you’re putting out some brilliant content, but if you haven’t got the right clients in your network, if you haven’t got people in your audience who you want to work with, then, there is no point putting those posts out because the right kind of people aren’t going to see them. Equally, failing to engage with other people is a bit like going to a physical networking event, doing a speech and then leaving immediately afterwards. You’ve missed so many opportunities there to speak to potential clients to speak to professional connections. So there is no reason why you shouldn’t see LinkedIn as an extension of physical networking as a form of digital networking, and you should treat it in exactly the same way. So if you’re doing any of these things at the minute, we’ll try and challenge those today. Let me just see if there are any questions about the profile that we need to deal with now. No. Karen, you’ve asked about the featured section. That’s something we’re going to cover in this section. Is there anything else we need to tackle first, Lewis, do you think?
I don’t think so, no. Yeah, she’s wrote about a featured profile, why it’s important, what should be included. The others are not relevant yet, I don’t feel.
This is your personal profile. It is your hub on LinkedIn, it is a digital representation of you, it’s not about your business, it’s a place to build authentic personal relationships. There’s a reason why Bill Gates has got 55% more followers on LinkedIn than Microsoft, it’s because people buy from people. It could be exactly the same content but if your face is attached to it, it makes a difference. So I would say, arguably more important. I definitely think there’s a place for both, but if somebody came to me and said, I only have the time to work on my company profile or my personal profile, every day of the week, I would recommend that you prioritise your personal profile. So if you’re sitting there thinking, I haven’t got a lot of time, I’m not sure I can dedicate enough to make this worth my while, I would hone in on your personal profile.
I definitely agree with that, because if I look at some of the Financial Advisers that we speak to, that have maybe got their own brand as well and they’re thinking about building their own brand, it’s having the time for two. But, the reality is, like you said, people buy from people. People don’t ring up Antony George recruitment, they come straight to me, they remember me. So they’ll remember you, you’re the adviser, they’ve been recommended to you. So yeah, that’s a really valid point. I think people could be daunted by that, can’t they? Think they’ve got to do both and they haven’t got the time. So that’s a good point there.
One hundred percent, yeah. I’ve seen your posts on LinkedIn Lewis, and your videos really stick in my mind, I might not be able to remember all of the content, but I’m seeing your face, remembering your name and remembering who you work for, remembering the point of that post, and that that is the bottom line, I think. But like I say, having said that, if you have got the time or if you’ve got an in-house, social media department, or if you’re thinking about outsourcing your social media marketing, then a company profile is definitely something worth considering. This is ours, that says 3842 followers, we’ve now got more like 4200, and to say that when I joined, we only had about 1500. It just goes to show that there is still a desire for company-based content online and on LinkedIn specifically. Because it’s a digital representation of your firm. It’s not solely about you, it’s a place where you can showcase everybody in your team, the services you offer, you can get your team involved. My new starter Jess, is on the call today and she said to me when she joined last Monday, that our company LinkedIn page was one of the main reasons why she was so attracted to Yardstick, and because of the way that we advocate for our team to get involved with the posts, engaged with the posts. So, there’s absolutely a place for a company profile. I’m not going to spend too much time on these, because we’ve got a lot to cover, and you’re going to get hold of the slides at the end of the session. So what I would say is just have a look at this page once you get hold of the slides and have a think about each of these areas on your own profile, and whether you have covered them as effectively as we’re going to discuss. Equally with your company profile, the items are largely similar, but all of these things are just something to think about after the session today. So let’s get into the meat and potatoes of it.
A lot of people haven’t got the profile URL format that we would recommend. The default string that you get allocated when you sign up to LinkedIn is sort of Abi Robinson 927410. And it’s ugly, and it doesn’t do anything to sell you or sell your brand, so we’d always recommend one of the first things you do is change your profile URL. It’s a thirty second job, and we would recommend your name hyphenated with your business name, as I’ve said there so mine is Abi – Robinson – Yardstick, and I believe Phil’s is Phil – Bray – Yardstick. Equally, we’d say to anybody in the business who wants to use the same format, that that is a great way of doing it. I talked about Google indexing your profile. This way, if somebody searches for you, or your business, either on LinkedIn or on Google, the chances are that they’re going to find one or both of your profiles, if you’ve got personal and company, and why wouldn’t we want that? You’ve got one hundred characters to play with, so I can’t think of many businesses where you wouldn’t be able to get at least some of it in there. For example, Lewis-Byford-Antony-George, even if you can’t get “recruitment” in there, you can’t have spaces, you can’t have symbols, and you can’t have special characters, but I definitely think that everybody on this call can have some variation of their name plus their business name.
And that can easily be done can’t it? It’s super simple in your settings of your LinkedIn, it’s quite simple for you to find how to change your URL. So if anyone needs any hints and tips finding that, you can drop us an email after and we can point you in the right direction.
Yeah, absolutely. It’s funny you should say that, because when I was editing the slides and trying to get them down from the one hundred and twenty figure when we started, one of the slides did have a how-to, but I just don’t have time to cover all of them. So yeah, absolutely, as Lewis says, If you’re not sure how to do it, just drop me or Lewis an email afterwards and we’ll absolutely point you in the right direction. But yeah, if you’ve got your profile open in front of you, there’s an option in the top right-hand corner that says “edit public profile”, If you click on that, you can edit your URL in there, as I say, it’s really quick, but if you have any trouble, then just drop me a line equally for any of these, if you need guidance, just please drop me an email. Second item, banner image. A few people had a banner image, but I’m afraid to say it wasn’t very good. A few people had a banner image, that was a bit better and Sandy is top of the class with everything we ask for.
Sandy has absolutely smashed it out of the park, hasn’t she? Well done. She’s on the call so she’s probably hearing this thinking, thank you very much.
The reason why it’s so important is because everybody will see it. It’s at the very top of your profile, above your name and profile picture, and if you’re not making good use of it, it’s a missed opportunity. So, who recognises these? Especially that bottom left, I feel like that is the default that everybody gets when they join LinkedIn and a lot of people don’t change it. As it says there, it’s simply a missed opportunity, because of what it should contain. I’ll show you a couple of examples of ours in a second, but unless you’re doing this on a company page, where the likelihood is that your profile picture is your logo, we’d recommend having your logo on there. Most people if they did have a banner, were missing social proof. This can be as simple as the Google reviews widget in the bottom right-hand corner. I appreciate getting Google reviews isn’t simple, but putting the widget in there is. If you’re a VouchedFor top-rated adviser, that’s absolutely a perfect thing to have on there. If you are a start up and all you’ve got is a really good line from one of your first ever clients, even if it’s just one line, that’s all we need, just something that is not in your words from an independent unbiased party showcasing you and how good you are for the people you work with. Contact details should be on there because although you have a contact info section on LinkedIn, not everybody’s going to make it there. Your website address and probably most importantly, a short statement saying what you do and who you do it for. Let’s have a look at an example. Lots of green circles there. If we start at the top you can see “Marketing excellence for the financial services profession” straight away. I can’t take credit for that, that’s Phil’s doing. It shows who you are and who you do it for. Underneath that, we’ve got our contact details and our web address. As you can see, the widget that I talked about, that social proof, it doesn’t need to be anything fancy, it doesn’t need to take over the whole screen. But that, straight away, tells anybody who visits my profile, anybody on the business’ profile, that we’ve got one hundred-plus five-star Google reviews. Then we have our logo just above that. Just to show you the example on the company page, everything’s the same except for the fact that we haven’t got the logo, and that’s because it’s the profile picture. If you’re struggling to design a banner image, our branding and design team do create banner images, both as one off projects, and as part of larger strategic pieces of work that we’re doing with new clients. So if at any point, you think, I would like to spend a bit of money on a new banner image, I can see how important it is, then please just drop us a line. It’s email@example.com we’ll be more than happy to help you with that. Profile pictures, most people have got a good profile picture, so I won’t spend too much time on this, but I do think it’s worth just dropping a line into it to say how important a profile picture is because there was one person who’s profile picture I couldn’t see. I think it’s because their visibility settings will be set up in such a way that only their connections can see it. I wouldn’t advocate for that, because if you’re trying to add new people, if you’re hoping that prospects are going to find you on LinkedIn, what you want is for somebody to see your face. With the best one in the world, you could have an amazing profile, it really ticks all of their boxes, but if they can’t see the person that they’re working with, I don’t think they would accept a connection request. I wouldn’t, what about you, Lewis?
No. I totally agree, I always recommend that as well. So when we speak to advisers on a one-on-one basis, and they’re thinking about their LinkedIn profile, I look at it to build connection requests. So, If you’re outside of my network entirely and I go to connect with you, It might just say your name and Financial Adviser, but there’s no substance behind that, you can’t see anything, you don’t know who they are, so there’s no relationship there. Again, that can be done simply on your settings. On your settings icon, you can make everything public, so people can see you. Look at it as if it is your business card, you would actively give your business card out, so, let people see your face, let them know who they’re going to be connected with, because that just builds rapport straightaway, for sure.
Yeah, I couldn’t agree more. I think that relationship was the most important word there. So what LinkedIn tells us is that they agree, and that people with a profile picture get 21 times more profile views than somebody who doesn’t have a profile picture. What we recommend is that it’s professional, it’s clear, that your face fills most of it. There were a couple of people’s where I could see the background of a pub, which is fine, but if it was up to us, we’d probably have it set up with whatever you’d wear to meet a client, ideally taken by a professional photographer, but phones are so good these days, we understand that you can get good one without that.
I’ve had some advisers that have got Hawaiian shirts on on the beach somewhere, and one of them’s got their sunglasses on. I’m thinking what image are you trying to portray? You have got to think about it from that perspective. Yes, it’s social, you want your personality, but also, this is more of a professional side to networking. We can talk about posts a little bit later on, but it’s a more professional side of things, keep your holiday snaps for Facebook, I’d say to a certain degree.
Oh the “This isn’t Facebook” brigade are here already. I thought we’d be through it before we got there. But no, I agree, I totally understand what you’re saying. What you used to be able to do is have a profile video as well, and that went where your profile picture went, hence the name. You can’t do that anymore, so what I would recommend instead, is still uploading a video, but putting it in your featured section. Karen, we’ll get to that part shortly. I think a little video in your featured section that says “Hi, I’m Abi, here’s what I do, here’s what I can offer you.” is a really nice way of bypassing that lack of LinkedIn video element. So we can talk about that a bit later on if we get a chance.
That’s a fantastic point I’ve learned something already this afternoon. I’m going to do that, that’s something that I’m going to do, it’s going to be my little top tip to implement, and we’re only 20 minutes in!
Perfect, what I would say is that you get bonus points if you can get your brand in somewhere. So who you can see on the screen there, is myself and my lovely colleagues, Jess, Bee and Chelsea, and what we’ve done is just get the yardstick green in there, it’s really eye catching when somebody sees you on their feed, and it just starts to build that relationship between your brand and the people in your business. So I would recommend that, particularly if you’ve got a very nice brand colour. So that last one, badges for job status, I think we’ve all probably seen these, whether you’re a recruiting manager or you’re open to work, these are things that you can add on to your profile picture, to make people aware of the status of your job at the moment, that’s just something to bear in mind.
Okay, we’re gonna fly through these because I want to be done by with profile by half past. So do forgive me if I don’t go into too much detail on the next few, but do email me if you’ve got any questions, and equally, please use the chat so it’s not you having to listen to me rattle on about whatever I want for 35 minutes. Name, is a really quick one, what we’d say is, and we can have an argument about this another time, but, are letters after your name a differentiator? I personally would argue not, but if you think it would mean something to your ideal client, having DipFS after your name, fine, go for it. But in my mind, I think plain simple English is a far more effective strategy here, which is why Phil’s name on LinkedIn, is Phil Bray – Financial Services Marketing Specialist. I appreciate it’s quite hard to find a nice snappy way of saying what you do, and who you do it for without just listing your job title, and why people do write letters after their name, but I do think it’s worth thinking about. I haven’t done it yet, because I haven’t thought of a nice, catchy, snappy way of saying it. That’s something I’d recommend, it’s something that I don’t think anybody on this call today has done, other than the letters after their name, so if you do it, you will really stand out from the crowd.
Headline goes right under your name, it’s just as important as your name and your banner image, and traditionally, people would just use it, as a few people have done on the call today, to tell me what their job title is and where they work. Abi Robinson, Head of Social Media, The Yardstick Agency. What does it add? It doesn’t draw in your ideal client. It doesn’t say what you do, who you do it for, and why people work with you. The best example I can give here is to go and have a look at Phil’s. It’s something along the lines of “The founder of The Yardstick Agency, offering expert marketing services to the financial services community, one-hundred-plus five-star reviews on Google”. Perfect, done. It doesn’t need to be complicated and you’ve got two hundred and twenty characters to play with, and that “check yours here” is a link to a character checker. So you can type it in and it will keep a log of how many characters you’re up to and play around with what you’ve got to get the best combination. As I’ve already said, it’s displayed really prominently, but it’s also used by the LinkedIn algorithm, so it’s a bit like SEO in the sense of being able to get some keywords right in there at the top of your profile, so that when somebody is searching for “Financial Adviser, Bristol”, you’re gonna get right up at the top of their search results, if you’ve made your profile as effective as possible.
Contact info, I’m not going to spend too much time on this because you can come and have a look at the slides afterwards, but we’d recommend including all of these things. The reason we recommend including your birthday, It’s a bit of vanity, to be honest, but if you put your birthday is on there, all of your connections, get a notification on your birthday, and it’s a really nice way of encouraging a bit of engagement. The amount of times you’ll get a happy birthday message and yeah, okay, they probably have just hit the preset message
It’s still a nice feeling, isn’t it?
It’s a nice feeling, but it also sparks a conversation. If somebody who engaged on my posts last week, I don’t normally speak to comes and says Happy Birthday today, I’d try and be a bit clever with it, “Oh, thanks for liking that post last week, were you interested in talking about pension consolidation? because that’s what that post was about. Do let me know if I can help at all.” Okay, it might not go anywhere, and they might think ‘Oh you schmooze’ but, it might, and that’s exactly what we’re on LinkedIn for, we’re on it to network.
Providing services, quite a few people had done this, so, again, I’m not going to go into in too much detail, but what this is, is a box in the top section of your profile above your activity and your featured section, that tells an audience what services you offer. It’s not an indescribable list, it is predetermined, and you’ve got 10 services to choose from, and then five hundred characters to talk about them a little bit more. For our clients, it’s normally retirement planning, wealth management, financial advisory and financial planning. They’re normally the ones that we go for, but as you can see there, you’ve also got insurance and loans, and you can add samples in as well. You can add links to your website, you can add images, you can have client stories on there, I’ve never seen anybody do that, so, if that was something you did, then again, you’d be really standing out from the crowd.
Your about section is just a longer version of your headline, and for all the ones that I saw, there are a couple of people who didn’t have an about section at all, most people did, but what I would say is there weren’t many people who would use subheadings to break it up, and if you had, you hadn’t then included social proof. Nobody included social proof in their about section. It’s exactly the same as it would be in your banner image, Google reviews, VouchedFor, a line from a client, and you can use YayText and Emojipedia which are both linked to get hold of these subheadings and different fonts, and to add in a bit of visual diversity with the emojis. The blog linked at the bottom, if anybody works with us, or has ever worked with our Head of Content, Nick Parkhouse, he wrote a pretty timeless blog on this a few years ago, which is about the value of headers and what subheadings can do to a piece of content. So I would really recommend having a read of that. This is Phil’s about section. After the session, you can have a look and see how he’s laid it out, and if the word emoji has made you go, ‘Oh, God, no, my clients will not be interested.’ all I really meant was, as Phil has used them here. A couple of ticks, it doesn’t need to be anything much.
Karen, we finally got here. Thank you for waiting thirty-one minutes for me to finally stop talking about the featured section. “Why is it important?” you asked, “what for and what to include?”. The reason why it’s important is because your activity section isn’t static, every time you post, older posts will get pushed down the feed in your activity section and you’ll lose that amazing post that gained loads of impressions and likes three weeks ago, that you think is a really valuable piece of content and you want anybody who visits your profile to have this front and centre when they open your page. That’s where the featured section sits, just underneath your name, headline and contact info, you can add, I’d recommend three, because you can see three things before having to scroll along, a lot of people aren’t going to bother scrolling. You can add three links, you can add, as it says there your best LinkedIn post you’ve ever done, articles that you’ve published on LinkedIn, a page on your website, maybe your client stories page, your blog, your meet the team page, if there’s specific services you want to direct people to, you can also put media on there. I’ve never seen anybody put a client video directly in there. So, that would be a very stand-out-from-the-crowd thing to do. A top tip, when it comes to your featured section is don’t worry about the description, because it asks you to put in a description if you’re adding a link, but if you add a description, when somebody clicks it, it opens a pop-up and then they have to click it again to take them to that link. If you don’t put a description in, it will go straight to the link, and it’s just a far smoother experience for the user on the other end. Hopefully that explains what I think about featured sections, Karen. But if you think ‘no, that was rubbish, I need more’ then please just put another message in the chat. This is my featured section, I’ve just got two things on there, and let me tell you, it took a long time to get those images level. For my OCD, that needed to happen, if you’re not as picky as me, then you can not have descriptions, following the advice that I just said. But what that takes you to is my meet the team page on the website, and our social media page on the website that explains what services we offer for clients. This was a while ago, but this is roughly what Phil’s looks like. He tends to go for posts that he really wants to get in front of people’s noses, especially the third one, which was one of our clients, Delauney Wealth, winning the Best Adviser Website Award at the Professional Adviser Awards earlier this year. So, anything like that, good news, a really well-performing post, or anything like that are good things to have in your featured section.
I’m not really going to go on about activity, because we’ll get to posts in a minute, but just remember that anything you comment on, anything you react on, people can see that as well. If your mate is trying to rile you up, and you’re thinking about leaving a bit of a cheeky comment, maybe save it for Facebook like Lewis said. This is how you get to your activity section. So you can now break it down into the different elements. You can look at what posts somebody else has put up, videos, images, articles, it’s all broken down really easily these days. Experience, there’s no need to talk about this because everybody had done it really well. Any current and previous roles we would just recommend having a brief summary of that position and why you left. If it’s a really long one, then just do the same as you would in the about section, use emojis and YayText to create different fonts to break that up. The only thing I would say, and it’s the same thing that I’d say about the education section, is that when you make any changes to it, you’ll get a pop up that says “Do you want to notify your network?” if you’ve noticed a typo, or if you’re changing a tiny bit of the section, I wouldn’t notify everybody because that’s a bit annoying, isn’t it? Getting a notification for no reason? But, if you’ve just found out that you’ve passed your exams and you’re now chartered, or if you become a Fellow, or accredited, I would absolutely be notifying your network of that, because if you’ve got prospects lurking in your connections somewhere, finding out that you’ve just had that amazing news, might just be the thing that gets them to get in touch.
Recommendations, we do recommend that people do this, but we say that Google and VouchedFor are far more important than LinkedIn recommendations. However, if you do get a review on one of those platforms, don’t be afraid to ask the client if they wouldn’t mind copying and pasting it into LinkedIn, it’s a minute job. Something that we’ve done internally is offer a recommendation, for a recommendation. So I’ve done one for my colleagues, and they’re going to do one in return, and there’s no reason why you couldn’t have that reciprocal relationship with your clients as well. If you want to test your profile, and see how effective it is, I produced a scorecard a few months ago, which is thirty-two questions, and they’re all based on what we’ve just discussed. It says five minutes, that’s a bit ambitious, it’s probably more like ten to fifteen minutes, if we’re honest, but you get a personalised report at the end, which details all the ways that you can improve your profile, and gives you a score out of one hundred for each of the categories. There’s a category about your banner image, so it’ll ask things like ‘have you got social proof in there? Have you got your contact info’, and then at the end, you’ll get say, fifty, out of one-hundred and you can work through the recommendation. So it’s a nice way of just testing your profile specifically. And the link is here. So when you get the slides at the end, you can go and have a look. Right, whirlwind, let’s keep going.
Posting and connecting, I think this is really important factor this one isn’t it?
It is. So, why is posting important? All of these reasons. There’s no point being on LinkedIn, in my opinion, unless you are simply claiming your page for the SEO benefits, I really don’t think you’re using LinkedIn effectively unless you’re going to post, because it positions you as a thought leader in your field, it positions you as an expert, and it gives confidence if you’re consistent, if you’re turning up every single week, then it breeds confidence in your prospects and in your professional connections, as well as, when they engage with your content, it’s going to be pushed out to their connections, therefore it’s a compounding impact when you post on LinkedIn. There are no negatives to it, except the fact that it takes time. What are my top tips? So this guy, Richard Van Der Blom, I would say that he’s pretty much the expert, when it comes to LinkedIn in my opinion, anyway. Every September, he and his team produce an algorithm report, which goes into a hell of a lot of detail about all the different ways that you should be using LinkedIn to be as effective as possible. It’s very granular, I would say that as somebody who doesn’t work in social media, you don’t need to worry about it, but I think it’s very interesting. You could absolutely follow him if you want to pick up some of those top tips from him. My advice would just be to try things out. There is nothing that beats trial and error, what works for one financial adviser will not work for another one, the kind of content your client wants to see is whatever you want to post. I don’t try and be anybody else when I’m on LinkedIn, I just share my advice, add as much value as possible, and be consistent. They’re my general rules. I do have a few more top-tips, and when I did the workshop on this a few months ago, I was probably on this slide for about half an hour, I’m not going to do that today, but there are a few bits and pieces here that you can come back and have a look at. What I would say is the two or three things from this, that I think are really important, are (1) to have your own style, don’t try and just copy what Alan Smith is doing because he’s doing really well, because it just won’t work for you, we’ve all got to be our own people online and it’s obvious. We all know these days when somebody’s used chat GPT to write a post, it’s exactly the same thing when you’re trying to be somebody you’re not. So try what works for you. (2) Feel the fear and do it anyway, I had a call with a lady last week who really wanted to start posting but just thought she was gonna get negative feedback, so didn’t want to. We had a chat, she posted the day after, got a really good response, and she’s been posting a couple of times since, with equally good responses. If it helps only 19% of your LinkedIn connections will see everything you post. So, who cares? Just put it out there, see what happens. (3) The links always go in the comments for us, it’s an algorithm thing. LinkedIn wants to keep you on platform, so if you put a link in the post, they’re gonna push that down in the algorithm, because they want people to stay on LinkedIn, they don’t want them going anywhere else. If you put the link in the comments, it negates that penalty, so more people will see your posts.
A few more bits of advice on here, the 90/10 rule is simply, for every nine value-adding posts you do, you can do one that’s a bit more showy, or a personal post or whatever it might be, but the majority of your content needs to be, how can I help my ideal client? That is the question to always ask yourself, like it says at the top, why am I posting this? What am I trying to say here? What is the point of this post? Ask yourself as many questions as you can, while you’re posting. A few more bits here, I’m not going to go into it, you can come and have a look afterwards. In terms of what you should post about, there are a few ideas on here. I think one of the questions that we got before the session was “What do I post about?” there are a few ideas on here in terms of explaining financial concepts or posting about blogs from your website. There’s a fantastic book linked called Show Your Work, which Phil always recommends, and that’s got a tonne of great ideas in it of different posts that you can do.
I think it’s important to work out why you’re on LinkedIn in the first place, isn’t it? Particularly, if I make it specific to Advisers, as that is why we’re doing this today, just think about why you’ve gone on it in the first place. Are you going on it to target? We’ve got some people here, Professional Introduces, your content needs to be targeted towards Professional Introducers, not your client. I’ve got one Adviser, that all he does is networks with lawyers, that is his key thing, because he knows if he schmoozes them, and gives them all of the benefits, he does events with them, he knows off the back of that, that will then get his type of client that he wants to deal with. So all of his posts are focused all about what he does with his lawyers, this is how I’ve done this, or this is an important subject that you need to let your clients know about at the moment, market trends, everything like that, that could be relevant to those lawyers. So it’s thinking about who you want to target, and what is of interest to them. If it’s an accountant, it might be about IHT planning benefits or EISP, whatever it may be, that will be relevant to the accountants that will engage with you, and suddenly you’re sparking that relationship. So think about why you’re on there, that’s a really good starting off page, and you can start to build off the back of tha because you’re you’re making something that’s more valuable for them and they’re more likely to think, ‘that’s a good post, I’ll like that’ or ‘I’ll comment on that’. It only starts by one or two and then you think, ‘oh, people are liking that, I’m gonna do more of that’ and suddenly, you’re away.
100% Yeah, absolutely and that’s the thing to do before you start posting at all, is think about ‘Who is my ideal client or professional connection? And what are their challenges? What keeps them up at night? Why do they come to me? Why do my current clients come to me?’ and solve those problems with your content, there is nothing wrong with giving everything away. I offered free calls a couple of weeks ago to anybody who wanted to know more about LinkedIn. You could think ‘Abi, you idiot, why? People should pay you for that!’ No, more business comes from being generous with your time and your knowledge than it does from the other way around. So, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there on LinkedIn and put your business out there because people will still come to you. Great advice, Lewis. What I would say briefly is about a few bits that we’ve picked up from our best posts. Polls are very good, because they generate engagement with other people, and it was a poll that I used to offer these LinkedIn calls. For example, does anybody want them? Yes, no, whatever the other option was, and anybody who voted yes, got a message from me. So you could do a post with a poll that says, Do you know how many pensions or pension pots, you’ve got? Yes, all of them, some of them, no. If somebody votes no, it’s the perfect opportunity to drop them a message and say, I can help with that, or I’ve written a blog that could help you with that. They can’t be annoyed, they engaged with your post in the first place. So, polls are very effective. Success Stories are great; if you can show somebody how their life will look, when you’ve finished with them, for example, “I helped my client retire at 55. Here’s what we did. Here’s the life they’re living now.” you’ve already converted them because you’ve shown them what they’ll get from being with you. Don’t tell them about the process, tell them what the end result is going to look like, we find that works very well. Use a photo, a scroll-stopping picture is very important. I don’t really engage with posts that don’t have an image, because I lose them, they’re just lost within the feed. Generally, shorter posts are better than longer posts, a big wall of text intimidates a lot of people, so just bear that in mind when you’re putting your post together.
Sometimes when you click that view more button and the rest shows up, you think ‘oh, gosh, here we go. We’re ready for a sit in here aren’t I, I’m not ready for this.’
Exactly, you need a cup of tea or something stronger don’t you sometimes? What to do when you’ve posted, is see which posts are doing well. That’s what this is. See what posts are doing well, and what it means by content pillars is, three to five topics that you will come back to every week. If you want to get more clients who need you for retirement planning, investments, and who need you for estate planning, then post about those three things every week or every couple of weeks. Obviously, the content will always be different, however, those same themes will keep returning. It’s like if Lewis posted about recruitment one week, and then the next week he’s posting about being a Librarian, and the week after, he’s postied about working in a cinema, nobody would know what to go to him for.
Yeah. I don’t think I would either.
You’ve got to keep your message consistent.
Yeah, absolutely. A question has just come in before you move on, from Julian “Where is the best place to source quality images?” I think there’s one called Getty Images, which is free images that you can download with no copyright infringement and stuff like that, is there a couple that you use within Yardstick and the business?
Yeah, we use Shutterstock, which you do need to pay for, however, we also use Unsplash, which you don’t have to pay for, there is a premium version of Unsplash, which is quite cheap, Unsplash Plus, but the free version is very good, and the images are far less stocky than the ones on Shutterstock. There isn’t as much variety, but I’d absolutely recommend starting on Unsplash, Pexels and Pixabay as well. If you Google royalty-free images, and see what you get, but what I would say when it comes to images is, if you can use a picture you’ve taken do it, because a picture that you’ve taken will always generate, in my experience, more engagement than a stock image. Because somebody just knows even if I took a picture of the floor, now, you know that I’ve taken that picture, and I’ve not taken it from the internet. And that makes people think ‘well they’ve put a bit of effort in there. They’ve not just grabbed a picture of two office workers high-fiving and thought, that’ll do.’ It really adds something, it could be a picture of you, picture of your workstation, picture of your walk to work, whatever it might be, Lewis, you know, it works.
It might be a cashflow, you might be doing a cashflow with the client, and you might take a snapshot, obviously there’s activity that you can’t show, but if you take a picture captioned “working on a cashflow this afternoon, this client has got XYZ, they can officially retire early” do the stuff that you talk to your clients about every single day. I post about that, one of my best posts was a picture of me having a coffee on the seafront, I live on the seafront, I was having a coffee thinking about what I’ve got to do with a client later on that week. Just talking about those sorts of things creates good content. You can definitely think about it. I’ve got another question about hashtags, do you want to answer this one now or maybe a bit later on?
What I’m going to do, is rattle through the rest of the slides, and then leave a good few minutes at the end, five-plus minutes to get through the rest of the questions because I’ve been banging on about profile for that long, that we’re going to run out of time otherwise. So, I’m just gonna go over connecting and engaging quickly, because a lot of these slides that I’ve put on here will make sense without me explaining them. All I would say is, like I said at the beginning, it’s important to grow your network while you are putting these high-quality posts out there, because you want to expand your opportunities, expand your client base, and develop relationships that could lead into more work or more referrals from other people. What you’ll find on the slides, when you come to look at them in a bit, is some general rules. When I say “don’t be one of those people”, if you wouldn’t do it in person, don’t be that person that sends messages that are just not personalised at all, that scattergun effect to everybody, let’s jump on a call straight away. If you wouldn’t say to somebody in person, don’t say it on LinkedIn. Instead, start a genuine conversation with somebody and always make sure it’s got a personalised note.
Just touching on the personalised notes there, you can use them super quickly, so you can still change them. So you can say, “Hi Abi, the reason I’m connecting, I work in the same network as you, I’m just looking to expand my network” something simple, straightforward. I get more connection requests accepted when doing that and I can easily copy and paste that message and change the name very quickly. Spend a little bit of time doing that you’ve got one hundred connections a week, do twenty a day, and get them done every single week.
It’s actually two hundred now.
Oh has it gone up to two hundred?
Exactly. So there are two or three examples of connection request messages a few slides down so you can grab hold of those, but what I would be doing is just having a look at your calendar, to see who you have spoken to in the last week, and send them a connection request. It’s the perfect way to do it, if you’ve already had a conversation with them, why wouldn’t you? Make sure that you’re connected to all of your clients. Three ways of finding people on LinkedIn. (1) By searching for them. This one explains how you would find clients on LinkedIn and when to ask them. It’s also talking about professional connections, you can find people through searching like that. (2) You can also do it by company or (3) by university. You’ll find on the slides when you have a look in a bit, here’s how to find people using the search, here’s how to find people by university, and here’s how to find people by company. So that’s something to have a look at in a bit, and there are three connection request messages that you’re welcome to pinch. This is mine, if I’m trying to connect with somebody in financial services, there’s also Phil’s he uses a sort of a similar one for everybody that he connects with, that’s this one. I’ve also included one which we use for a client. This is somebody who wants to work with London-based business owners, and this is the connection request message that we use. Feel free to have a look at those in a bit.
The last section, before we get on to questions, is very quick. It’s about engaging. It’s really important not to be in broadcast-only mode on LinkedIn. Don’t just post and ghost, as it’s known; it’s really important that you spend time talking to other people because if you just come on, post and go, if somebody leaves a comment on your post, how rude to just ignore that! If there’s something in your feed where somebody’s saying, “My elderly mother is looking for a care home, and I’ve actually seen this post before, and we’re looking for some recommendations, can anybody recommend a good financial planner?” You’ve missed that by not being in your feed. So, be in your feed, because you will find opportunities. Here are a few bits and pieces that I would recommend, the golden hour is the hour after you’ve posted, and that’s when LinkedIn’s algorithm is really working in the background behind your post. The more engagement it gets in the first hour, the more likely it is to get more engagement in the long term. Always make sure that you reply to comments and likes on your post because I just think that’s good practice. If you don’t know what to say, here are a few examples, ask questions, try and make your comments more than 12 words, the algorithm likes that, and use it as an opportunity to show off your expertise. I you can add value to somebody’s post, there’s nothing wrong with doing that, it’s not salesy, it’s just the way you go about it. There’s a few other bits and pieces that you can look at, to consider on LinkedIn, nobody’s asked about them, and it’s not something that we would put right at the top of your list, but I have included them for you to have a look at afterwards when you get hold of the slides because they are things that you might be interested in. Creator mode is an additional profile level on LinkedIn that’s recommended for content creators, it gives you extra tools, you get to look at analytics. You know if somebody’s got it because underneath their name, it says talks about and a few hashtags. So, you can set yourself as a thought leader in your area by saying I talk about financial services, financial planning, retirement planning, or whatever it might be. LinkedIn events, if you’re running webinars, workshops, anything like that, I would recommend setting LinkedIn events up. The people also viewed feature, turn it off, because all it is, is a big neon sign on your profile that says ‘come and look at my competitors’. If you open your profile, have you got down the right-hand side, “people also viewed” because that will be people who are working in your area, who your prospects could go on and end up on their profile as a result of yours.
I didn’t know that! Guys, you’ve all got to do that, ladies and gents, we want to take the competition away. That’s really bothering us. I never knew that.
Take them away. Company page credits. If you’ve got a company page, you’ve got Two hundred and fifty credits every month to invite your connections to like that company page, which is a really nice, easy way of building up your followers on the company page, strengthening that relationship between you and your business. Finally, if there’s somebody whose content you really like on LinkedIn, you can ring their bell. I’ve circled it on Phil’s profile, it’s just above where it says The Yardstick Agency on the right, every time they post, you’ll get a notification. You could do this for prospects, if there’s somebody really want to work with, you could get notifications every time they post and be that person who’s always engaging for them, you could also do it with colleagues, you could also do it with thought leaders in the profession.
I’ve actually done that. I also got a client out of doing that, so, I would highly recommend doing that. It was a big client, and I’d been badgering down their door for years and years. I thought, I’ve run out of options, that’s my next option. I think they just kept seeing my little face pop-up over time and then after a month or so of following what they were doing and sharing in the comments, everything like that, I then said “I’ve been following what you’re doing. I’d love to have a quick chat and talk about what your growth plans over the next 12 to 18 months.” Now we work exclusively, we cover all the recruitment across the whole of the UK for them, and we do everything for them from, adding value to retention products for their team. So, it definitely works.
Perfect. So the bottom line of what we’ve covered today is four things. You need to do your profile, you need to post consistently, you need to send connection requests consistently, and you need to engage with other people consistently. There are four elements. You’re saying, “Abi, I’ve only got thirty minutes a day, what do I do?” Spend the first week getting your profile done, thirty minutes every day, just work on a few different elements, and then follow this pattern: on a Monday spend twenty minutes sending connection requests, you could probably get ten to twenty out in that time, and spend ten minutes engaging. On Tuesday, write a post for Wednesday, and then you repeat, by the end of the week, you’ve posted three times, you’ve spent at least fifteen minutes engaging, and you’ve sent out a tonne of connection requests for just thirty minutes a day. I’m not going to go on about all the little ‘come and work with us.’ Put any last minute questions in the chat while I’m just going through this, and then we’re going to get to them all in the next few minutes. If you want to help with social media, when you get hold of the slides, feel free to look at our website and find out what we offer, and email me if you want to set up a call to discuss how it could work for your firm. Obviously, if you want to work with lovely Lewis and his team, then if you don’t have their details, then they’re on here. We’d recommend connecting with myself and Phil, and keeping in touch with us. If you’ve gained something from today, then we would absolutely love it if you would leave us a Google review. I think it’s time to get through people’s questions.
I’ll just go back up. Robert was looking to increase interactions which lead to new business. Hopefully, Robert, you’ve found out a few ways of doing that now. I’d absolutely say that posting, connecting and engaging is the strategy to bringing in new business. Our very own Phil Bray wants to know should we be clicking repost on LinkedIn? I linked one of my LinkedIn posts earlier in the slides, you can go and have a look at, as to why I don’t recommend re-posting. That’s because I spoke to LinkedIn directly and said, “whenever I do a repost, the impressions are rubbish, it never gets any engagement, what’s the point?” they came back to me and said, pretty much, ‘there is no point’ because the algorithm hides duplicates, because it just thinks that’s going to annoy people. So when you do a repost, you’re wasting your time and the person who originally posted’s time. What you’d be better off doing, is leaving a common and liking it, and if you really want to write your own post about the same topic, with a link to the original in the comments because reposting just doesn’t get you any interaction, and LinkedIn have confirmed it themselves.
Wow. Even when you share your own comments, reposting those? Wow. Okay, I’ll be updating the team about that then.
Yeah, I tried it yesterday. I did a repost of a lovely comment, a lady had left, Michelle, she might actually be on the call today, and it just didn’t do anything. It just didn’t go anywhere. It got a couple of likes, but nowhere near what I normally get. So, have a read of that post and see.
Definitely. Yeah, really interesting.
Karen’s question about featured, I think we’ve dealt with. Paul was asking networking, and I think we’ve covered that in the engaged section.
Yeah I think so. Again, if you want some one-to-one on that, let me know, drop me a message, and I can give you a rundown like we’ve done for other advisers, and maybe we can do another webinar specifically around that if you’d like to see how we would go about that and engage in [Inaudible] Paul.
Absolutely, and equally, if anybody thinks ‘you rushed through the sections I really needed you to talk about today Abi’, those three half an hour sessions are still available. If somebody wants any more of my time, then please, just let me know. Luke was also talking about generating more leads, which as I say the strategy that I have outlined, I think, is the first port of call. Also, he’s been locked out of his LinkedIn account, because they’re requested ID verification. Now my heart goes out to you because that is painful. I’ve been through that process before, and it is just a waiting game. What I would say is, keep emailing and keep getting in touch with them. If you’ve got premium, one of the only benefits of premium, I think, is that you can live chat with LinkedIn. So, if you have got premium, do that, if you haven’t, set up a free trial and just get on to them because I think the more you badger them, the better.
Guan Paulo wanted to know when you add hashtags, do people see them? Do other users have searches for hashtags? And does the algorithm make posts with certain hashtags more visible? I spoke about Richard van der Blom earlier, he recommends five to ten hashtags per post. Hashtags are never really something I’ve done, and not even for clients, because if you Google the top one hundred hashtags or LinkedIn, India’s up there, there’s things like innovation and inspiration, it’s all very generalist terms that are coming up in the top hashtags that anybody is going to be searching for. I think the amount of people who are directly searching for financial planning, or accountants, whatever it might be is very small, so, while you can put hashtags on there, I don’t think they’re going to make such a significant difference to your strategy, that you should completely overhaul what you’re doing now to make sure you get hashtags in there. We’ve got one question, which is: can I hire Y to do all this for me? I think they might mean ‘you’.
Maybe Yardstick, or You.
And what would be the charge? So yeah, more than happy to answer that, it does depend on your firm, and what profiles you want us to look after, how many posts you want to go out per week, but our agency fee is £71 per hour. When it comes to social media, you are paying for my time, or one of my team’s time. We’d normally recommend no less than eight hours per month, which comes out at £568 pre-VAT. What you’d get for that, is three posts per week. connection requests up to the limit of two hundred, and two hours of engagement a month, which is approximately thirty minutes a week, six minutes a week-day. However, it’s completely bespoke, that is a very quick rundown. If we go on the phone together, I could recommend a strategy that I think could work for you, a strategy that I think could work for your firm, and we do have other packages as well. So if anybody is even slightly curious, please get in touch and I’d be more than happy to have a chat about that.
Fantastic. Any other questions for Abi while she’s here? Live with us this afternoon? It has been a really good insight, I feel like we could just chat about this for hours, there’s so much to it, isn’t there? There really is. So a really good webinar this afternoon.
Thank you. I knew I was pushing it with 76 slides, but I think we need to hurry me up next time.
No, absolutely not. No, it’s absolutely fantastic. I’ll end the recording here.
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