As a financial advisor, LinkedIn (along with your website and other social media channels) is your new first impression. If a potential client is seriously 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’s optimized.
Here are 5 steps to creating a great 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.
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
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.
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 first or third person and then continue using this voice throughout the rest of your profile. Think of this section as your elevator pitch.
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.
Elaborate on your experiences; however, do not write more than two paragraphs. You want viewers to read about your background, not skip over it because it’s too lengthy. Be clear and concise.
Pro Tip: When making these changes, you may want to considering 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 click here.
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