Learn how to make your LinkedIn profile stand out. Crystal Thies covers the top 10 things you need to know to make your LinkedIn profile rock
Matt S.: Alright, thank you, Heather, and welcome everyone to this, the fifth webinar in our ongoing series designed to help you become an expert in the most rapidly growing areas of marketing and financial services today. That is social media marketing. Advisors who embrace and implement social media marketing strategies are driving prospects to them proactively and closing more business with far less expense than traditional marketing programs.
My name is Matt Sawyer, and today we will help you make your LinkedIn profile rock. Now, you will have an opportunity to ask questions today. Simply type your inquiry into the question box on the right-hand side of the screen, and we’ll field as many questions as time allows.
So I was a little surprised by the title of today’s program because I’ve never really thought of LinkedIn as a tool to really help anyone market their services to prospects. So we all know that it’s a great way to help build and maintain business contacts. But the idea of using LinkedIn to help drive prospecting was not something that I’d considered, and I guess many people on today’s call really hadn’t considered either.
So let me put a few numbers to this that’ll help us rethink that position. Incidentally, these numbers come right out of Matt and Crystal’s excellent book. LinkedIn has over 70 million members in 200 countries worldwide, so a huge following; 41% of people using LinkedIn for marketing have generated business with it.
SEO-driven leads have the highest lead to close ratio, 15%, among common lead generation sources. So paid search leads average a 7% rate, while outbound marketing leads, direct mail, telemarketing, etcetera, close at a 2% rate. So the percentage of closure is much, much higher using SEO-driven programs.
From a cost perspective, the average cost to generate a lead through inbound marketing is about half the average for outbound marketing, and that is according to Econsultancy.com. So there are a lot of reasons why we need to look at LinkedIn as an integrated part of our digital marketing, social media marketing platforms.
We’re going to have both Matt Halloran and Crystal Thies tell us today how to make our LinkedIn profile rock. So I’m going to introduce Matt, and Matt will in turn introduce Crystal, his partner. Mr. Halloran is recognized as one of the best advisor coaches in the nation. He is the president of GIVE Strategies, which is directing $1 billion to charity this year. He is the president and founder of Top Advisor Coaching. Both Matt and Crystal are coauthors of the book The Social Media Handbook for Financial Advisors, which is now available nationwide. Crystal, Matt, so glad to have you here.
Matt H.: Thanks, Matt. Well, this is an absolute honor for me to be able to introduce my coauthor. Because when I started writing the book it ended up that I was pretty proficient in Twitter and Facebook, but then when it came to LinkedIn, I mean, I knew a lot and enough to be dangerous, but I was introduced to Crystal through LinkedIn through a friend through a referral and had been following her work.
When I got to the point that I really knew that I needed to bring in the expert, that’s when I called Crystal. I said, “Hey, I know we’ve never met face to face. You’ve referred me business. I’ve referred you business. I’ve been watching your progress and taking tips from your profile on LinkedIn for a while,” over a year at that point.
I had an enormous amount of respect for what she did and how she did it, and so it was absolutely fantastic to be able to bring her onboard and have her write really the most comprehensive chapter of the book. In fact, it’s the media section of the whole book because what I’ve been talking about to all of you on these previous webinars is that most people are looking to LinkedIn as the way to grow their business. They don’t necessarily look to Facebook and Twitter with the same level of interest as they do with LinkedIn.
So you know, writing the book with Crystal was an absolute pleasure. She’s an amazing writer. It’s very, very easy to read this section that she created on LinkedIn. So I highly recommend if you haven’t purchased the book, you need to get a copy of it as soon as you possibly can. The prices, just so everybody knows, on Amazon are starting to creep up, which I think is very interesting. But it’s still at a reduced price point from the retail, so go ahead and pick that up.
But with that, Crystal has taught me more about LinkedIn in a couple of short phone calls than I could’ve learned in any other way, shape, or form. If you need help with your profile, I highly recommend that you contact her through LinkedIn. She is the LinkedIn Ninja. It is my honor to introduce you to Crystal. Crystal, take it away.
Crystal: Thanks, Matt. I am very excited to be here. I hope that you find the information that I’m going to share today to be very valuable. I do want to tell you that when I first found LinkedIn, I was contemplating going back into financial services as a financial planner. It was because of this tool that I made that decision. So I started using LinkedIn specifically as a financial advisor. Then when I decided to go into social media fulltime instead of continuing on with financial planning, I always planned to work with financial advisors specifically. I just had to wait for the financial services industry to kind of catch up with me to be able to help you guys with that.
So today we’re going to be talking about the profile, how to build your LinkedIn profile. One of the things I want to do before we get started, because this is financial services and you can’t have a presentation in financial services without your disclosures, so we are going start with some disclosures to make sure you understand when and where and how you can be utilizing this information.
Because your LinkedIn profile is advertising content, it does need to be preapproved. So number one, before you implement anything that I say today, please make sure that you are allowed to be using LinkedIn for business purposes according to your broker-dealers’ or RIA social media policy. Of course, if you are your own RIA and you’re independent, you get to make that decision. But if you are not independent, please be certain that you’re allowed to do that.
You need to have an archiving system in place to capture your LinkedIn activity and changes to your profile. If you’re not sure about what that is, feel free to ask and I can address that at the end of the session. Before you start to make any of these changes, turn off your public profile until you get your new changes approved by compliance. At the very end I’m going to show you where and how to do that. Basically, your connections will still be able to see your profile if they’re logged in, but it will not be public, which limits the exposure until you get full approval.
Also, as we all know, what is legally allowed by FINRA and the FCC may not necessarily be the same as what your compliance policy says. Because your broker-dealers and your RIAs are the ones ultimately responsible, they do tend to have compliance policies that are a bit tighter than what is legally allowed. So before you get going with this, please pull out your social media policy and look at that because there are some sections in here that I know for certain some broker-dealers do not allow. But they are things that independent financial advisors can do, so we do want to make sure that we address them to show the possibility.
So, let’s get started because I do have a lot to talk about. So when it comes to building out your LinkedIn profiles, one of the first things that you really need to do is you need to change your perspective. A lot of people who have been using LinkedIn, and when you look at it, because they ask about your resume and your experience, they think of it more as a career document.
If you’re using LinkedIn for sales and business development, the way you’re going to approach your profile is very, very different. You need to message differently and utilize these features a little bit differently. Because for you to use this for prospecting and marketing your practice, it’s not as much about what’s happened in the past. It’s not about your history. It’s about what you can do for your clients today and tomorrow.
Particularly, if you have been on LinkedIn for a little while and you used your profile in the past before you became a financial advisor and you used it for job seeking, a lot of the information that you put on that is not speaking to the right audience; because the things that you would say to a potential employer as a job seeker are not the same things your clients would want to hear.
You know, think about it. Your employer does want to know how great your sales skills are. So if you have something in your profile that says, I’m an excellent salesperson, able to take a cold lead and convert it into a new customer for the smallest ROI, your employer wants to hear that. Would a potential client want to hear that? Do they want hear you talking about them in that way? Probably not, so you really need to think about who it is that you want to be reading this and how they’re going to perceive the messages you’re going to be putting on it.
So put yourself in your client’s shoes – you know, what does your profile say to her; what does it say to that person; what are they reading about it? – before you go and build anything into your profile. So always look at it from that perspective.
So when you’re using and building your profile, you always want to use first person. This is not your biography. You’re not supposed to be talking about yourself in third person. You also want to stay away from resume-speak. Hopefully, you know what I mean by resume-speak. You know, in a resume we always take away the personal pronoun and start with the verb so we can save space. So you want to make sure you’re actually starting with I. I do this for my clients. I work and specialize and am an expert in this area. You don’t want to say Joe specializes in. So think about it.
You need it to be compelling. You know, the profile, once you fully build it out, if you fully build it out and take advantage of all the sections, can get very long. You want people to continue reading it, so the way you write the content needs to be compelling and make them want to read more.
Lastly, you want to make sure that you have a call to action, something in the profile that encourages them that if they’re interested in some way that they either connect with you, they contact you, sign up for a newsletter, something of that nature. One of things that I always do recommend too is yes, if they’re really interested, they’re going to contact you in person. But sometimes if they’re just mildly interested and want to know more, that direct contact may be a little bit too much.
So try to have a safe method of them connecting or communicating with you, which is what a newsletter would be; something of that nature where they can find out more without having to take that step of actually picking up the phone or doing anything directly as far as speaking to you in case they’re not as comfortable with that to get started. So, that’s number one, change your perspective. Look at your profile as your potential client would look at it.
Number two, being found on LinkedIn is very important. There is an advanced search functionality, and people are using LinkedIn to look for advisors because what it tells them is it will tell them other people that they’re connected to who are also connected to you. So they want to find those financial advisors that they’re looking for that are connected to people they already know, so that way they can contact those people and find out more about you. So you do want to make sure that your profile is optimized for search, but there’s a trick to it. There’s both an art and a science to optimizing your profile for search.
First thing to think about is: What would a prospect type into a search box? What would they type into Google to potentially find you? When you’re looking at your search ranking, there are two particular variables that are going to come into play: what the title is, what that term is that they’re searching for, and also is it something that people are actually searching for? How many times are people searching for it?
So back in February when I was writing the book, I pulled some statistics. I actually ran these searches on LinkedIn. There are several different titles that financial advisors commonly use: financial advisor, financial planner, investment advisor, investment manager, wealth advisor, wealth manager, wealth planner. There are probably even some more that I didn’t even list there. For the most part, we’re probably the only ones who understand the differences between those. So you need to think, who is your target market? Which title, which term, are they going to think about most when running a search?
So let’s see, how many people are using these terms? Well, financial advisor is obviously the largest, and that was probably expected. Almost 63,000 people in February in the United States were using the term financial advisor as a title; financial planner, 10,000; investment advisor, 7,000. So you can get an idea of how much competition you’re going to have for showing up in these searches. But now also, how many people are searching for those terms? Actually, I got a surprise when I ran these. Where you can find this information out is if you type in Google AdWords keyword tool, that is the tool where you can go and find out any term, any word, how often people are searching for it in Google.
What we found out is that 673,000 searches per month for the term financial advisor, 823,000 for financial planner. So when you look at that, and I definitely see an opportunity here, more people are searching for the term financial planner. Yet there’s less competition for that title in LinkedIn. Now, part of this phrase that you choose also is part of your brand, so you’re going to want to think about that and how you’re positioning yourself.
One of the things that you can do is you can pick more than one phrase to try and optimize your profile for. You always want to have a primary, and you also want to have a secondary. The primary one has to go in some specific places more than the secondary, but you can end up showing up in searches for both.
So where do these phrases need to be most in order to affect your search rankings once you’ve decided which one you want to use? First, it needs to be in the headline. The headline is that field right below your name, wealth advisor. In this situation, they were optimizing their profile for wealth advisor. It also needs to be in your summary, and it needs to be in your summary several times.
You want to use it as often as possible, but also this is where you can start adding in that secondary term. You might be able to fit the secondary term in your headline. You only have 120 characters, so it could be tight. I have put both phrases into a headline before and made it work. But your summary is where you can really start introducing that secondary phrase. So here you can see highlighted wealth advisor and financial planner.
Now, most people when they do the searches, they don’t put quotes around the term financial advisor or wealth advisor or financial planner. They just type the words. So one of the things you want to keep in mind is that although LinkedIn is looking for the two words together ideally and they’re going to weight it for those words together ideally, using the words separately and independently a lot also helps. So the more you use the word financial, the more you use the word wealth, the more you use the word advisor, the more you use the word planner, the better it’s going to be for you.
Finally, the title; the title in the experience section, this is the resume section. Ideally, you want to make sure that these keywords are in the title. The title has the biggest weighting, so the more titles you can work these terms in the better. So here this title actually has several different things. It says financial advisor. He’s using wealth advisor. He’s also a financial planner, and then he’s a founder and president of his company. He wanted to have those in there.
So the title doesn’t have to be just simply financial advisor. So think about how you can construct that title. Now, there can be some compliance concerns. I have seen some compliance policies that may not allow this. But if you can use multiple terms in your title, you want to go ahead and do that.
Number three: The headline, and we were just talking about the headline. Having an effective headline is extremely important. Again, that’s the field below your name. Many of you probably have your title there. I’m going to be honest. LinkedIn tricks you into putting your title there. It’s not supposed to be a title. It’s called a headline for a reason. This is a very important field for search results because it’s the only piece of information that you control.
So when somebody runs a search for financial advisor and they have this listing of all these people, it’s the only piece of information that says pick me. So if everybody else just says financial advisor, financial advisor, financial planner, and you say something more than that, you use this little equation that I’m going to give you, your headline is going to stand out and you’re likely going to get more people to check you out.
So what do you want to be in your headline? First, you want it to tell people what you do from a functional standpoint. You guys are lucky in that your titles actually also explain what it is that you functionally do, so that’s usually not a problem for you. Other people, it’s anyone who possibly works at a bank and you use the term relationship manager or account manager. That’s where there’s no way to know exactly what it is that you do with your title. But for financial advisors, financial planners, people have a concept of what that is.
You want to identify your target market. Who is it that you serve? Because when they see this, if they see them in that headline, they’re going to be more compelled to look at your profile because you specialize in working with them rather than someone who just says financial advisor or financial planner. So you want to identify who it is that you are focusing on with your target market.
Finally, you want to tell them what it is that you do for them, what the results are that your clients get, the benefits that your clients get, when they work for you. Now, you only have 120 characters. You’ve got to be very brief and succinct. You have to play around with this. Also too, don’t forget you have to have your primary search term in this headline.
So let’s look at some headlines as an example so you can see where I’m going with this. Okay, this was the one we’ve already looked at: Wealth Advisor helping small business and real estate owners manage their finances to help enhance personal wealth. What they do, who they help, what results do they get. So if you’re a small business owner or you are into real estate investments, then this is probably the financial advisor you’re going to want to talk to.
Specializing in Women’s Wealth Management and Divorce Financial Planning; so if you’re a woman and especially if you’re getting a divorce, that’s definitely going to be of interest to you. Financial Advisor helping professionals and retirees by investing for growth and utilizing a disciplined sell strategy; Investment Strategist at Penn Liberty Wealth Advisors helping clients grow assets, manage risk, and plan for retirement. It’s telling people a bit more about what it is that you do than just financial planner.
Then finally, especially if you have a very narrow niche market: Investment Advisor and Financial Planner helping P&G employees and retirees make sound decisions for their retirement. So this is even going after only employees of a particular company. But if you’re a P&G employee and you’re looking for a financial advisor, who are you going to pick? Someone who specializes in what your benefits are. So having that effective headline, the only thing that says pick me.
You really need to work on getting your compliance department to approve for that to be more than your title. Now, I know that may be a battle, but you definitely want to do it. Another option if you find that your compliance department does not allow you to take this approach with your headline is if you’ve had a tagline that’s been approved by compliance, that will also work in this space. So it’s not going to be as ideal, but it’s a heck of a lot better than just using your title.
Number four: having a great photo. A great photo is extremely important to your LinkedIn profile. Now, I know there are a lot of people who really don’t like this, but it does not have to be a professional photo. If you have someone who’s just good at it and can take a nice, clean, well-lit picture, that’s good enough. We’re going to look at some examples of what makes a good photo and what doesn’t.
One of the things you do not want to do is use your company logo or anything else. It’s actually against LinkedIn’s terms of service to use anything other than a photo of yourself for this. So you want to make sure that you are using a photo, not your logo. So another important reason, though, is that it is fact that more profiles are clicked through that have photos.
So if you want people clicking through and looking at your profile, you need to have a photo. They will ignore those that do not have a photo. The number of times people click on your profile after a search also increases your ranking and likelihood of being found. So there are two major issues there.
So photos, let’s look at some good ones. You know, one of the things you need to consider and understand is that this is also your brand. Not only is it on your profile, but it’s what represents you in the newsfeed. When you go to your homepage and you look below and you see all the status updates of your network, that’s the newsfeed. That is what people see most.
So you want to think about what it is that they’re seeing because also too on your profile the picture’s really big, but in the newsfeed it’s really small. So you want to make sure that people recognize it; that when they see your picture in the newsfeed they know that it’s you, and they want to pay attention to what it is you have to say.
So one of the things that I always recommend is color; have a nice bright color behind you. You don’t want it to be busy, but the bright color stands out. People will start to recognize, well, if I see an orange background, you’re going to notice that before you notice the face. So if I see orange, I know this is Ben, so I’m going to pay attention to him.
Another option is to go do away completely with the background. You know, you will need someone who can do graphic design work to make some of these changes to your profile. But if you wipe away the entire background, instead of them having a square to look at, they see just your profile, just the outline of you. That stands out a bit more. One thing that this person did also was that they added some branding. You know, so if you want to add some branding, you can do that. You can have a graphic designer add your logo.
One of the things you’re going to want to do, though, if you do this is never put it in the lower, right-hand corner. When LinkedIn sends your picture out through the API system into other programs, they put their logo in the lower, right-hand corner. So you want to keep any branding on the left-hand side of your picture.
Another way to make your picture stand out is take a different angle. Put your picture at an angle. Most people’s pictures and headshots are vertical. Take an angle. It’s going to stand out a little bit more. Now, this is big. Let’s take a look at this. This is what they look like, though, in the newsfeed, how tiny they are. This is what people have to see. What’s really great about these pictures, these photos, is that I can still see and recognize my connection, even when it’s small.
So let’s take a look at some bad photos. So, one of the things you definitely don’t want to do is make it busy, a busy background and a big print and being far away. Look at this; you can’t even see this person when it’s small. Good lighting, you want to make sure that when this picture is taken there are lights shining directly on your face because you want to make sure that your face is seen; because now when you look at this one it just almost looks like a gray square, so you can’t really see it.
Now, this photo isn’t bad for the profile, but there’s more body than there is face. So what happens is then when it gets small, you just really can’t see the face. All you see is his upper body. Now, this is the worst one of them all. So not only is he standing behind a podium, he has a microphone in front of his face. There’s some kind of really strange glare going on. So when you take that small, you really can’t see anything at all. So pay attention and think about your photo. It’s your brand. It’s what people are going to be seeing every single day when they see you being active in your newsfeed.
Now, LinkedIn does make it a little bit easier. In the Edit Photo when you add your photo, they do have this great little tool. So if the best photo you have is kind of from far away, they have this little, yellow square that you can zoom in and just catch that nice, tight close-up of your face. So you can make some adjustments within LinkedIn itself to get that nice, great picture and photo of yourself for your profile.
Okay, the summary: The summary is your biggest messaging opportunity on your profile. This is where I see a lot of people popping their biography in there. It’s not meant to be your bio, and it’s not meant to be in third person as I said earlier. This is your elevator speech. That’s what this is supposed to be.
This is you telling prospective clients and your network what it is that you do, what results do you get, who do you help, why would they either want to come be a client of yours or why would they want to refer people they know to work with you. This is your messaging. So take that headline and delve deeper. Explain what it is that you want people to know about you and to be able to communicate to other people as well. Most of your connections are not going to be clients. Most of them may not even be prospects, but they can become your advocates. They need to be able to understand what it is that you do and be able to repeat it to others if you want them to be able to refer you.
It also needs to be in an active tense. Don’t talk about the past. Talk about today. I help my clients plan for good retirements. You want to keep it active, keep it engaging.
Okay, the website links: LinkedIn gives you three website links that you can use. These are really great to drive traffic to your website and to other specific pages on your website or to other web real estate that you would want clients and potential clients to come and see. So let’s look at what some of these links are. These are links that I took straight off financial advisors’ profiles to see where they’re sending people.
Obviously, your main link is going to go to your main website or your company’s main website. But then you have two other links that you can be strategic with. Where do I want to send traffic? Where can I help grow my business by sending people to a particular link? Well, if you have a secondary website, like I know a lot of the bigger companies, each advisor can have kind of a sub-website within that system. One of those should definitely be that.
You can send them to your Facebook fan page if you have one of those. You can send them to your LinkedIn company page, or you can send them to a free report or to sign up for a newsletter. You know, think about it. Be creative. What do have that you can try to send people to in order to help engage them and possibly capture them as a prospect?
Now, when it comes to setting up these links, so you’ll notice, these website links have words. They don’t just say company website. They don’t just say personal website. They don’t just say blog. If you’ve noticed, a lot of people’s website links say exactly that. You never want to use personal website, company website, or blog.
As we see here, this is the backend of where you can add and edit your websites. There’s this dropdown list. You want to ignore everything except the very last option, which is other. As you’ll see here on this third line, there are only two fields here. It’s only when you select other that the middle field will open up and allow you to actually name what you want the words to be for your link. Then you can add your link.
Another thing to consider with your website links is that, you know, and it depends on how sophisticated you are, if you’re familiar, and I don’t want to go into too much detail with this, but if you’re measuring or monitoring the number of clicks your links get, you may be using a tool like Bit.ly, which we do talk about in the book, to monitor how many clicks. You can use a Bit.ly link for this. So as you see here, the second link is actually a Bit.ly link, so whenever anybody clicks on that Bit.ly will keep track of that and will tell me how many times people click on that specific link.
So always use other. That’s all I have to say. Always use other, and add the name of where it is that you’re sending them. One of my biggest pet peeves is when I go and it says just company website, company website, company website. You know, well, they only work for one company. So how am I supposed to know what those links are and where they’re really sending me? So name your website links.
Okay, there are many parts of the LinkedIn profile that you may not be aware of. You know, one of the great things about the LinkedIn profile is that it gives you the opportunity to provide the full version of you as a professional person. It’s not just about you as a financial advisor. Chances are you probably engage in other things, such as volunteer work or community work or professional organizations or possibly publishing articles or engaging in other leadership projects within your community. You get to share all of that type of content on your profile.
It gives a more well-rounded, broader picture of who you are as a professional person, not just who you are as a financial advisor. For a lot of clients that matters. They want to know that their financial advisor is a real person and that they do more than just be a financial advisor.
So to find these extra sections, because you have to add them in, when you’re in the Edit Profile, it does say underneath the big box, Add Sections. That’s what you can see here in this first image, where you click on to add these. When you click on that link, it’s going to bring up a popup. Here you’ll see in the lower image there are several different sections that you can add into this.
In the next slide, I’m going to demonstrate some of the most valuable sections for you to add. One of them, though, I’m not going to talk about is highlighted right here in this image, and that’s the certifications. This is the section where you list your licenses. If you’re a CFP, if you’re ChFC, any of those certifications you have, this is the section that you need to add. So pretty much everybody out there needs to at least add this section to their profile. You can add it in some other places, but this is really where it belongs. So you’ll need to add your certifications.
So, what other sections can you add to add greater depth to your profile? Well, they have one for volunteer experience and causes. With this section, you can be very general. They have little check boxes underneath here where it says Causes I Care About, children, economic empowerment, education. They have some preset check boxes of common missions that people like to support. So you can just put a little check in that box and share it.
Then there’s also a text box where you can just list the organizations that you support, financially or through volunteer work. If you happen to do more than just give money, especially if you have any leadership positions, it allows you to list the leadership positions you have; what the organization is; you can add the number of years you were involved. You can even add a description. So if you’re really active in volunteer work, this is definitely something that you want to add to your profile. Now, this section is really more for those things that are philanthropic and mission-oriented, not necessarily professional development, because there’s another section for that.
That section is called organizations. Now, the organizations section, this is where you put your work on your local FPA chapter or if you’re involved in a leadership program within your community or other organizations that really aren’t truly philanthropic. They also help you from a professional development standpoint; you know, if you do any teaching that you don’t want to include necessarily in your experience section. So think about those organizations, those leadership positions that you’ve had.
What’s really great about this is you can tie this back to a particular job. Underneath that job then, your current position, it will say you have two organizations, and there will be a link to it. They can jump down and see what it is. So this is a great place for those professional community organizations.
The last special section I’m going to show you – and there are more than just these three; I encourage you to go and look at them and figure out which can work to your best advantage – is publications. Are you authoring any articles that are out there that are in the newspapers or magazines? Are you featured in any? Although ideally, I know this was created for things that you author, I think it works just as well when you’re featured. You just want to make sure you add the real author’s name to it.
If you’re doing any guest blog articles outside of your own blog if you have one, or if you don’t have one such as like EFPA I know has a blog, then you can actually list this here as well. Because not only are you listing it, but it’s hyperlinked; so if you click on any of these titles of the publications in this section, it’s actually going to take you to the article to read it. So that’s really valuable, especially if you’re featured in an article or if you write a book or any type of publication, this is ideal for it. This is not where you put your own blog though. If you do have a blog, there’s another section where we’re going to cover that. That’s where that goes.
Okay, the applications, that’s where we’re going to be finding that. The applications add and allow you to add additional material to your profile other than just text. One of the things though that you need to keep in mind is that I do know that there are companies, broker-dealers, out there who do not allow you to use this because it’s difficult for them to monitor is the real reason. But if you are able to use this, it’s a huge advantage.
So to find the applications, in the top navigation you go to the More tab and you look all the way at the bottom; it says, Get More Applications. That’s going to take you to a page where several of these applications are listed. These are a couple of the ones that we’re going to be talking about and how you can implement them on your profile.
So the first one we’re going to talk about is the Box application. Box is an outside company. It’s an application that allows you to share files and folders. So you can put a folder on your profile and you can upload documents to it. Now, these should be all FINRA or compliance-approved documents, but they could be articles. They could be your marketing brochures. They could be white papers.
The really great part about this is not only are they listed here, anybody can download them, but you can also get a web link to them. So you can share their availability via a status update because you can attach a web link to it. So it’s really valuable because anybody can come and get this content. Box will send you an email message that lets you know which documents are downloaded when they are actually accessed. You can’t see who downloaded them, but you do see which ones are downloaded.
SlideShare: SlideShare is now owned by LinkedIn, but it is an application that allows you to upload PowerPoint presentations and other documents. The great part about it is you can also embed YouTube videos. If you go to their premium level, you can actually just upload a video. So if you happen to have a YouTube video that’s been approved by compliance, you can create a PowerPoint presentation, embed your YouTube video, and the video will play directly on your profile. So that’s a really great way.
Now, if you don’t have a video, maybe you have a PowerPoint presentation. You know, many of the mutual fund companies and other product providers like WealthVest probably have PowerPoint presentations that have been put through FINRA compliance. Those are great items to be able to share using the PowerPoint version of the SlideShare application. So think strategically. How can I utilize this application to my best benefit? Because every time too that you change the presentation, a status update will go out to you network automatically telling them that you’ve got a new presentation for them to see. So think about how you can use that.
Now, if you have a blog, there are two blog applications that you can use. If your blog is on WordPress, there’s a WordPress application. As you can see here, it actually lists the three to four most recent articles on your profile with links for people to go back and read them. If your blog is not on WordPress, there’s also the Blog Link application, which basically looks at the three website links and it will look for any feeds attached to them. So you would just have to have your blog listed as one of your three website links, and it’s automatically going to pull it in. Same thing, it provides a link and the title and a small description of what the article’s about, so that you can drive traffic back to your blog.
Okay, reordering the sections: Now, LinkedIn has a standard format that the main sections are in, but you don’t have to keep it that way. Also, if you add the applications, the applications are all the way at the bottom of the profile. A lot of times people don’t scroll all the way to the bottom of your profile. If you’re using the applications, chances are that’s your marketing material, so you want to make sure people see that.
When you’re in the Edit Profile section and you go to the top of any of the sections, you’ll notice that your cursor turns into the little crosshairs. If you click on it, you’ll see that you can drag it and drop it. So you can move all the major sections around so that you’re ordering the content in the way that’s most beneficial for you. Ideally, what I usually have is the summary is first, then my applications. Actually, I did move my publications up on mine, so if you have a lot of publications you may want to move that up.
You know, since I’m not looking for a job, my experience section is one of my least important sections. You know, that’s kind of the resume section. So you can push that down lower so that it doesn’t have as much visibility, and you can make sure that people are seeing the content that’s most important for them in considering possibly working for you or getting to know you better and also getting to know your business.
Number 10: This is where I’m going to show you how you can turn off your public profile. Then we can open things up to questions, yay. Actually, I was able to talk fast enough that we were able to get through everything and still have time for questions. The public profile: Having a public profile is important because when it’s public you’re profile can show up in Google search results. Google indexes any of the content that’s in your public profile. So you want to think about how am I going to display my profile publically.
Actually, unfortunately I have these images backwards. But this first image is actually your public profile link. Now, at the very bottom of the big box on your profile, you’ll see a link. That is your public profile link. If your link has pub, your name, and a whole bunch of weird letters and numbers and it’s really long, you have not customized it. You want to customize this link because it allows you to more easily share your LinkedIn profile.
When you click on that link, there’ll be an edit button right next to it when you’re in the Edit Profile feature. It’ll take you here for you to customize it. Now, there can only be one link of its type. So if you have a common name, chances are your link may have been taken.
Ideally, you do want it to be just your first and last name, but if it’s been taken LinkedIn will suggest some other things. You may need to add a middle initial. Think about how you can change this link still to keep it short but to have it make sense. But then once you have this link you can attach it to your email signatures, possibly put it on your business card, and just make it a bit easier for everybody to be able to look at your profile.
Now, this is the public profile section where you’re able to turn on and off the visibility. So in the right-hand column underneath Customize Your Public Profile, you’ll see there are two radio buttons: Make my public profile visible to no one, make my public profile visible to everyone. If you’re going to make changes, you want to set this to no one until your changes are approved.
Once your changes are approved, you want to switch this back to everyone. You also want to make sure you have little checkmarks in all these boxes. Because if there are not checkmarks in these boxes, then Google is not going to index that content and it’s going to decrease your likelihood of your public profile being found in Google searches. I see more and more people’s profiles showing up for keyword searches in Google, so you definitely want to make sure that that’s available and that you’re taking the most benefit from it, especially if you don’t have your own website.
So, I know I’ve covered a lot of content, and I know many of you out there may be pretty new to LinkedIn. Some of this might have been over your head, and you might have been a little bit overwhelmed. Well, I have some good news for you. Wiley has allowed us to give away my chapter on how to build an effective LinkedIn profile. Here you see the link to be able to access that, or you can go to just linkedinninja.com. Right at the top it says click here to get access to the chapter.
This chapter walks you through step by step how to build a LinkedIn profile. It covers everything that I’ve talked about today. It assumes that you know nothing about LinkedIn. So I encourage you to take advantage of this. I do know that Dana’s told me that they are also going to be sending this link out in the follow-up email, so it will be coming in your email; so look for it. But if you need help with how to build an effective LinkedIn profile compliantly, please take advantage of this opportunity.
As was mentioned at the start, we are the coauthors of The Social Media Handbook for Financial Advisors. It is available on Amazon, so please feel free to check it out. But that’s what I have. Dana, we can open things up to questions if we have some questions.
Dana: Fantastic, thanks so much, Crystal. I am going to go through some that have been asked more than once here today. So, someone wrote here: I suspect you recommend making changes gradually, taking advantage of the fact that each change is an enhancement and flows through to your contacts’ feeds rather than one massive change, you know, of everything at once. Is that something that you recommend?
Crystal: Well, ideally, in most regular people, normal people, other than us crazies who do things like go into financial planning, yes, that is the approach that I take. The problem is that for every change that you make your profile has to be resubmitted for compliance review. If you’re independent and you’re your own compliance review, then yes, that works. That does not work for everybody else though. Normally, you want to kind of go in and do it all at once, get it approved.
Ideally, if you’re allowed to, maybe on a quarterly basis or as you get something that’s really new and important like an article published or something like that, update it. You have to turn it off, get approval, turn it back on. But no, ideally, yes, because every time you make a change that’s going to send out status updates to your network. That increases your visibility. That is definitely a good thing.
But other people, regular people, don’t have to deal with the compliance reviews, so a lot of it depends on your policy. I wouldn’t be surprised, although I have not personally seen it, if some compliance policies won’t allow you to get multiple reviews and revisions. So a lot of it depends on that and how much of a hassle that would be. But if you can, then yeah, it works great to get visibility.
Dana: All right, Crystal, they ask here: I’m a small business owner, not very computer savvy. What are a few high-impact things I can do to help with my business?
Crystal: Oh wow, on LinkedIn as a small business owner/financial advisor, it really is having that fully developed profile. LinkedIn does have company page formats. It’s not as interactive and won’t give you the biggest bang for your buck. You do have to have your own separate website domain in order to set that up. So as a financial advisor if you don’t have your own website on your own domain, you’re not going to be able to utilize that platform.
But really, the LinkedIn profile is important because, one, if people look for you by name, it’s usually going to be the number-one link that shows up in search results will be your LinkedIn profile. So having that well-developed to me would be number one and taking full advantage of as many of the features. Yeah, that really is probably number one.
Dana: Sounds good, alright. Crystal, it references back to the presentation. He asks: Can you point out what was wrong with the advisor summary? He said, “It sounded like an elevator pitch or speech but maybe just too long.” I’m sorry; I was trying to find where that was in the presentation.
Crystal: Actually, there was nothing wrong with that summary. I was just using it as that one was actually what it should be. I’m sorry. When I talked about that, that was actually an example of what it should be, not what it shouldn’t be. Actually, I wrote that. The example of what it shouldn’t be is literally a biography that says Joe Smith has been a financial advisor for the past 25 years. He’s gone to college here. He’s on that.
That’s about what you’ve done in the past, which is nice to know. Yeah, it tells people you’re qualified, but it doesn’t tell people what it is you’re doing right now. It doesn’t tell them what you specialize in, how you can help them, what you can help them with today. Differentiating yourself as a financial advisor is one of the most difficult things to do when it comes to marketing. This is the place where you can really differentiate yourself. So what you shouldn’t do is have it as, like I said, a bio talking in the third person, talking about only your past accomplishments. That’s what you don’t do.
Dana: I’m going to have one more question, and then we’ll pass it back to Matt Halloran here. What matters most, Crystal, relevance of subject material or volume of material?
Crystal: I would say relevance with the caveat of you do want enough volume to be able to take advantage of the places for the search engine optimization. You know, in the experience section, having those completely filled out, does that help your business as a financial planner? No, not necessarily. However, those are spaces where you can be using those keywords where you can saturate your profile with some keywords. It’s also places that people may not necessarily be reading in depth as well.
So you do have to have volume in the places where it matters with the keywords, but having great content is first and foremost and just maneuvering it. If you end up with a really long profile, like I said, move those sections around so the most important ones are towards the top. Chances are, you’re going to increase your chances that those get found. But use those other places to saturate with the keywords, especially your secondary, third, those other types of keywords that you’re not completely optimized for. Those are great places to stick those in.
Dana: Thanks so much, Crystal. Matt Halloran, I’m going to turn it over to you to bring it to a close today.
Matt H.: All right, well, if any of you are connected with me on LinkedIn, you could probably see that as Crystal was talking I had my LinkedIn profile open and I was making some changes. There were a couple of things that I knew I was supposed to do, but just hearing Crystal explain how to do it. I was putting up publications.
You know, the whole idea of reordering my profile, I remember reading about that in the book. But for some reason just the way that she was talking about it today just really sparked something with me, so I’ve been feverishly messing with my LinkedIn profile to make it even better because I too want mine to rock; because I’ve got a lot of people who look at my profile, and I want to make sure that the information that they’re getting, like everybody on the call, is as powerful as it can be. So thank you, thank you, thank you, Crystal.
Please, one, if you have any questions or you would like to have Crystal help you specifically with your LinkedIn profile, please just find her and message her through LinkedIn. She will be more than happy to talk to you about what she can do. Now, there are a couple of other pieces. I know I don’t have a lot of time left, so I’m going to talk really, really fast here.
Number one, Crystal said something that’s very, very important to those of you who are using or are interested in AdvisorDeck. Now, we’ve talked about AdvisorDeck a lot on these webinars because I think it’s an amazing digital marketing solution. When Crystal was talking about the part where you can put the websites and the hotlinks, one of the things that AdvisorDeck offers, remember, is those really great free reports to drive people to traffic so you can capture their info or drive people to specific sites and pages to be able to grab their contact information, where you can put free reports out, things like that.
I think that you could plug that in, and then when somebody clicks on that, which says download a free report about what I do, then all of the sudden you’ve kicked in the AdvisorDeck engine. It’s really, really powerful to be able to do that. So please, please take a look at that. All of you who’ve been on these calls know that I’ve actually consulted on building the AdvisorDeck product. I think it’s absolutely fantastic, and it’s something that you can get through WealthVest specifically.
So if you guys have any questions about AdvisorDeck, about anything that we talked about today, please don’t hesitate to call 877-595-9325. They will be able to give you some consulting on how to be able to use digital marketing to really help you build your business.
Appoint WealthVest with your carrier today and you’ll get a free copy of our book, The Social Media Handbook for Financial Advisors. So of course, very self-servingly, I want everybody to call and appoint to WealthVest because then we get a whole bunch of book sales. That only helps everybody learn more about how they can use social media to help build and grow their business.
So with that, hey, thank you all very, very much for taking time. We’ll have another webinar next month. We’re going to talk a little bit about how we’re going to piggyback off of what Crystal did today. We had a whole bunch of people interested in this call. I have a feeling that we’re going to have even more interest as we continue to dive in to these different aspects of social media.
So with that, thank you all very, very much. Please contact WealthVest today to find out more information about what’s going on, and we’ll talk to you guys very soon.