As a financial advisor, LinkedIn is your first impression in the world of business and social media. If a potential client is considering you to become their financial planner, they will often look beyond your website to places like LinkedIn. However, it is no longer enough to just have a LinkedIn profile, you need to have one that stands out from the competition.
As we are all in quarantine in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, online usage has really gone up. People are searching online more, as web traffic had grown by 20% after just one week of quarantine. This is why it’s more important than ever to have a strong LinkedIn profile. As people turn to look for financial help during the downturn, it’s important to make a strong first impression with your LinkedIn profile. These five tips can help.
5 Steps to Creating a Strong LinkedIn profile:
1. Choose Your Photo Wisely
The addition of a professional photo is the simplest way to improve your profile. It personalizes your bio and allows for an instant human connection. Putting a face to a name is always a good start so you aren’t just going in blindly during a meeting.
In a series of experiments studying judgement from facial appearances, Princeton psychologists Janine Willis and Alexander Todorov found it only takes 100 milliseconds to form an impression of someone from just looking at a photo of their face.
When choosing a photo it’s recommended that it be a professionally taken headshot. You should be wearing either business formal or business casual attire. Next, choose an image that is 450×450 pixels. This way the photo can be zoomed in on and you’ll avoid a gray outline around your photo. Images, where the background or other people are clearly cropped out, are unacceptable for LinkedIn. Remember this is your online business persona, so choose a business-appropriate photo.
- Smile with teeth showing
- Accentuate your jawline
- Dress for your role
- Make eye contact
- Head to shoulders or head to waist in frame
- Don’t wear a “loud” or distracting color
- Don’t wear too many accessories
- Don’t overdo it with makeup
- Don’t use an outdated photo
These tips can help ensure that you have a strong headshot that will really stand out when leads land on your page.
Twenty Over Ten client, Schad TenBroeck, founder of Sequoia Financial, is a great example of a strong headshot on his LinkedIn profile. He has a friendly smile with professional clothes in neutral tones. He is making strong eye contact with the camera and it’s been taken shoulders up.
2. Create an Informative Headline
It’s not enough to accept the default headline LinkedIn generates for you based on your most current job title. Create an informative headline that enhances your searchability. LinkedIn allows you up to include up to 120 characters to describe who you are before anyone clicks on your full profile. Write a headline that will intrigue potential clients and entice them to want to learn more about you. Include not only your job title but also your area of knowledge. To separate titles and phrases use either a comma (, ) or a vertical line ( | ). Your headline needs to accurately and quickly convey who you are.
Twenty Over Ten client, Ivanhoe Sánchez, founder and CEO of Outright Financial Strategies, has a strong headline that doesn’t just say “Financial Planner” or something basic. It says “Providing Financial Strategies, Growing Net Worth and Reducing Risk.” You understand exactly what you will be getting when you work with him before even diving deeper into his profile page.
3. Personalize Your LinkedIn Address
When you first create a LinkedIn profile the site will automatically generate a generic web address for your page. Typically, the address will contain your name, dashes, and a series of random numbers and letters. For SEO purposes, it is best to edit this URL. A good URL may contain just your name, your name plus your title, or your name plus your certification. Below are sample URLs:
To clean up your LinkedIn web address follow these directions.
4. Include a Summary
The summary section on your LinkedIn profile is your greatest opportunity to provide a brief description of who you are and what you do as a professional. Include the skills, accomplishments, and specialties that make you unique. Everything written should be independent of your current employer, and more about your career experience in general. It’s best to write this section in the first person and then continue using this voice throughout the rest of your profile. Think of this section as your elevator pitch.
Twenty Over Ten client, Mark Sharp retirement planner at Mark Sharp Retirement, LLC has a brief yet informative summary on his LinkedIn page He discusses how they are a fee-only firm helping clients in retirement and then lists the website for additional information.
5. Describe Your Responsibilities
The section on your current position should have the most detailed description (ideally you’d have more information written about your current position than previous positions). Include your current job title, responsibilities, employer, and dates.
Twenty Over Ten client, Dave Grant, CFP®, founder and financial planner at Retirement Matters, Inc. describes his responsibilities under each position so that visitors can really see what he did at each job or position, so they can really see his expertise and skills and how he can help his future clients.
Pro Tip: When making these changes, you may want to consider turning OFF your LinkedIn notifications. If you do not, your entire network will be alerted that you have an updated “job title” – which may lead to some confusion if you still have the same position. For instructions on how to change your LinkedIn profile without notifying your connections to click here.
Does Your Profile Have What It Takes?
We hope that this provided you with some helpful insights to take your LinkedIn profile to the next level. First impressions are everything, so it’s important that you stand out and make a strong one right off the bat.
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About the author
Blair is a digital marketing assistant at Twenty Over Ten and has a passion for uncovering what drives online traffic and the highest engagement. She follows more animals on Instagram than humans and her greatest achievement is her daughter, Grey.