There are a lot of social media networks, but LinkedIn stands out among the rest as a place where professionals can share their insights, grow their sphere of influence and virtually rub elbows with other industry thought leaders, clients and prospects.
Having a presence on LinkedIn to represent your professional advisory role may be a good idea, but it’s important not to treat it the same way you would a personal account. There are boundaries to keep in mind when sharing LinkedIn content and engaging with others.
To help represent you, your services and your firm in the best light, avoid these five LinkedIn mistakes.
Mistake #1 — Focus on Yourself
It’s important to thoroughly complete your LinkedIn profile, including your experience, education, credentials and a professional headshot. But that’s about the extent to which you should focus on yourself. Of course, it’s okay to humbly share about the occasional accomplishment, but those types of posts shouldn’t be the dominant focus.
When posting content, the focus needs to be on helping the reader and offering value. Rather than saying, “Read my latest blog about market volatility. Let me know what you think,” address your readers’ pain points. An alternate lead-in might be something like, “Are you worried about how market volatility will affect your retirement plans? Here’s what you need to know.”
Another consideration is the type of language you use. The financial industry is filled with complex jargon and a plethora of mind-numbing acronyms that the average person may not be familiar with. Using industry speak may make you sound smart, but it won’t matter if you talk over people’s heads.
Another way that some LinkedIn users focus on themselves is to “fish” for attention or engagement. Your readers can sense when you’re just trying to get people to like or comment for the sake of improved analytics rather than offering something that’s truly of value. And just as someone walking into your office probably doesn’t want to hear one long sales pitch after another, the same goes for LinkedIn.
Mistake #2 — Focus on Quantity Rather Than Quality
Filling people’s news feeds with multiple posts each day isn’t just annoying, it can also be a quick way to diminish your reputation and number of followers. Too-frequent posts can feel like spam and may also give the impression that you spend too much time on social media rather than developing financial strategies for your clients.
When it comes to the number of followers, more isn’t always better. When seeking connections on LinkedIn, make sure you really do have a connection. Inviting strangers to become a connection without any context could breed mistrust. Personalize your connection requests with a message outlining who you are and why you want to connect.
Mistake #3 — Get Too Personal
LinkedIn is a place where people go to engage in professional conversations. Just as you likely wouldn’t bring up strong personal, political or religious beliefs while meeting with someone in your office, these topics are typically inappropriate on LinkedIn.
Likewise, musings about your night on the town, vacation photos from the beach and videos of your pet’s antics will do little to build rapport or demonstrate your professionalism. Those are best left to other social platforms. One exception might include your involvement in community events, such as a fundraiser or community celebration. Showing that you care about causes and the place you call home can help build rapport and trust.
Mistake #4 — Don’t Engage With Others
Would you go to a dinner party and not talk to any guests? Having a LinkedIn presence without actively engaging others is a similar scenario. Sitting in the corner while you simply observe will do little to build relationships or add energy to the conversation. Focus on a few high-quality posts each week, and spend most of your time engaging with what others have to say.
When someone shares an interesting article, let them know what you took away from it. See an accomplishment that warrants a congratulatory response? Give it. Is there a community event that could use a little more recognition? Share about it. Add to the collective good by asking thought-provoking questions and then acknowledge when someone answers. Social engagement needs to be a two-way conversation.
Mistake #5 — Inconsistency
There are tasks you routinely complete each and every day. You check your email, review your calendar, set aside time for phone calls, and touch base with clients. Maintaining your LinkedIn presence requires similar discipline. Frantically flooding your news feed and then going dark for weeks at a time will do little to build your audience or engage those who already are connected with you.
Schedule 10-15 minutes on your calendar each day to review engagement and respond to comments, even if you don’t have anything new to say. While reading articles or insights from others, keep your LinkedIn presence in mind and save a few items that you think might offer value to your audience. Demonstrating consistency and professionalism on your LinkedIn profile can be a reflection of the professionalism clients and prospects can expect when working with you.
Check with your firm and governing authorities to see whether they have a social media policy with clear rules and compliance requirements. Using LinkedIn can be a valuable way to connect with clients in between meetings as long as you remain in compliance and avoid other common mistakes.
For additional client engagement tips, view our Acceleration Resources. You’ll find helpful information on setting a social strategy, cultivating referrals and maximizing client relationships.