There are a number of social media networks, but LinkedIn stands out among the others as a place where professionals can share their insights, grow their spheres of influence and virtually rub elbows with other industry thought leaders, clients and prospects.
Having a presence on LinkedIn to represent your role as a financial professional 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 common LinkedIn mistakes.
Mistake #1 — Focusing on yourself
It’s important to thoroughly complete your LinkedIn profile. Include 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 the occasional personal accomplishment, but those types of posts shouldn’t dominate your LinkedIn newsfeed.
When posting, concentrate on content that helps the reader and offers value. Rather than writing, “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 mind-numbing acronyms that aren’t familiar to the average person. 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 they’re being engaged to like or comment for the sake of improved analytics rather than to gain information that’s truly valuable.
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 — Focusing on quantity rather than quality
Seeing multiple posts from one source in their newsfeeds each day annoys recipients. It can also be a quick way to diminish your reputation and number of followers. Too-frequent posts can feel like spam and could give the impression that you spend more time on social media than developing financial strategies for your clients.
When it comes to followers, more isn’t always better. When seeking connections on LinkedIn, make sure there’s an actual connection underpinning the request. Inviting strangers to connect without any context could breed mistrust. Personalize your requests with a message outlining who you are and why you want to connect.
Mistake #3 — Getting 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 inappropriate on LinkedIn.
Likewise, musings about your night on the town, vacation photos from the beach and videos of your pet’s antics will undermine your professionalism. Those posts are best left to other social platforms. One exception might include your involvement in community events, such as a fundraiser or local celebration. Showing that you care about causes and the place you call home can help build rapport and trust.
Mistake #4 — Not Engaging 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. Contribute 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 acknowledging others’ responses. Social engagement should be a two-way conversation.
Mistake #5 — Inconsistency
There are daily tasks you routinely complete: You check your email, review your calendar, set aside time for phone calls, and touch base with clients. Maintaining your LinkedIn presence requires a similar type of 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.
Instead, 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 translates to the level of 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 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.