Today’s guest blog comes from Sara Grillo, CFA. Sara is a top financial writer with a focus on marketing for financial advisors. Prior to working in this capacity, she was a financial advisor and worked at Lehman Brothers. Sara graduated from Harvard with a degree in English literature and has an MBA from NYU Stern in quantitative finance.
Financial advisors are constantly frustrated by the lack of success in collecting leads from social media. The reason is simple: they’re presenting themselves the same way. If you want to set yourself apart from other financial advisors and make a bigger impression on LinkedIn, here’s what you should be doing.
How Your LinkedIn Profile Page Works
You probably already have one of these set up, but in case you’re new to LinkedIn, here’s an example of a LinkedIn profile page. I’ll use mine so that nobody accused me of picking on them!
Here’s a little tidbit that most people don’t realize about how the page works.
The top part of your LinkedIn profile gets the most views. Any time people have to scroll, the attention paid decreases exponentially. See how impatient a society we’ve become? It’s all about instant gratification; so use that to your advantage and top load the profile with juicy elements that will hook the reader in.
So with that in mind you should absolutely nail the components of your profile at the tippet top: profile headline, profile picture, banner picture.
Here’s a shot of the profile headline, profile picture, and banner picture as they are laid out on my LinkedIn page:
My profile headline grabs you right off the screen, “Top Financial Writer — Do It Creatively Or Don’t Do It At All.”
Pretty bold, huh?
Right away I am separating myself from other writers. You can tell I’m a risk taker which is a big part of what makes me different in what I do – I help my clients make their voices bolder. I make that clear right away.
People are usually attracted or repelled instantly by this profile title. That’s exactly the effect that I’m going for. If I’m going to lose you as a prospect, I’d rather lose you right away before we start talking and consuming time. I would make the same suggestion for financial advisors. With thousands of people retiring each day, there’s more than enough people to do business with. Getting noticed means taking the risk of losing some of them but as I said there’s no shortage of people who need your help.
Also called “headshot.”
Here are some photo shoot guidelines specifically for financial advisors. I wrote this blog because I found that all the financial advisors were making the same mistakes with their photos; so check out the article and decide if you need to retake your picture.
My basic guidance with the profile picture is that you should present yourself as you would in a first meeting with a prospect. It goes without saying that you should look as if you could afford the services you are selling. It would seem obvious but not everybody gets that right.
This is the large rectangle that appears behind your profile picture. Many advisors leave this blank so that all that shows is the boring blue rectangle that LinkedIn puts there by default. It’s a huge loss of opportunity. Remember that people are visual more than verbal and we react way more strongly and quickly to what we see rather than read.
I suggest that you create a graphic that displays your company name and logo. You can see my logo is in purple, my company color, and the feather pens in my name display that I’m a writer.
Now don’t think you have to create a Christmas tree of branding elements. Keep it clean and simple: high quality imagery, clear and easy to read lettering, and maybe an icon or two. That’s it. Present too much and it has a jarring effect.
With that said, now on to the Summary Field!
LinkedIn Summary Field
The LinkedIn summary field is the box right below the top section of your profile that I just discussed. Before I tell you what to write in your LinkedIn summary field (the box right below your profile picture section), let me tell you what not to write. These are specific examples of text that I see all the time and it capture how most advisors are expressing themselves.
I’m an advisor with 30 years of experience.
Who cares? Half the people fabricate this anyways and all advisors say something like this. It provides almost no differentiation.
I’m a fiduciary, committed to providing objective, transparent advice that puts the client’s interest before my own.
This isn’t a bad thing to mention somewhere along the line, but it’s not differentiating enough to lead with. There are over 10k RIA firms in the US and every single one of them leads with this theme. It’s overly righteous and it’s so common that it’s now achieved the status of #financialcliche.
I work with families, professionals, and business owners and help them achieve their goals.
No kidding. Forgive me if my snoring offends you but this is not only vague but also another great example of #financialcliche.
What kinds of business owners? You mean you work with startups who don’t have two nickels to rub together?
You work with professionals? Really, we all work with professionals. That’s like my 2 year old who recently learned how to say “I drink milk” and he runs around saying it all day but it’s nothing special in reality. But he thinks it is.
What kinds of professionals?
And don’t say doctors because everyone, from the New York Life insurance salesman to the RIA firm around the corner, is saying that they work with doctors. Poor doctors, I really feel bad for them and understand why they hate financial advisors. I would too if everywhere I turned there was someone trying to sell me whole life insurance or convince me to invest in some pipeline project.
What do you help them with?
And don’t say you help them achieve their goals. That phrase really irks my nerve because it is said so often that it’s become a #financialcliche and just the whole saying is so tacky. Get more specific: I help mid career professionals who are overwhelmed by investing in a 401k for the first time and aren’t sure which funds to invest in.
I could go on and on about the tired analogies and clichés that inhabit the financial advisor junk drawer (there, see, I used one of your analogies).
What You Should Say in Your LinkedIn Summary Field
So now that I’ve beaten all of you up for writing jargoned content on your LinkedIn page, here are examples of how you could possibly present yourself in a more intriguing light:
As a financial advisor and planner, I have helped business owners in Garrett County navigate cash flow risk for over two decades. My services are best suited for those who are challenged by high city, state, and local taxes and how quickly these tax laws change. I work best with people who are open to exploring new ways of minimize this burden and who will be willing to take into account the information that I can give them and their teams about how to make positive change.
My motto is that while taxes can’t be controlled, their impact on you and your business can be mitigated by the power of foresight.
Please visit my website to download Your 2018 Business Tax Machete Kit: www.blahblah.com
- This profile works for a few reasons.I’m specifying a niche that I help and I’m specifically telling them how I help them. Notice that I don’t specifically say that I work with established businesses that have employees but the reference to “their teams” in the last sentence signals that I work with larger companies (not start ups)
- I’m giving them a glimpse of my vision and philosophy for my practice by telling them how I feel about controlling taxes.
- I’m adding an exclusion factor by telling them that I want to work with people who are open to change (which implies who I don’t want to work with)
- I’m offering them a reason to visit my website. This is very underutilized on LinkedIn. Put your contact info right there in the summary field. If they’ve seen enough to contact you, then get the deal going right then and there. Don’t put it off until they’ve followed you for a few weeks and became inspired by the monthly market outlook you posted. Too many things can happen to distract them. It’s like I said before, instant gratification rules the world of social media. Make this work for you.
LinkedIn is a powerful tool that most financial advisors haven’t figured out how to master yet. There are so many ways to get business from social media and a spectacular profile is the first step. Make your summary field great using these tips.
If you’d like to learn more about how to use LinkedIn to blow up your business then please visit Sara’s website to download my ebook “All You Need is LinkedIn.”
Struggling With What Content To Share on Social Media or via Email?
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Check out these additional LinkedIn resources: LinkedIn Roundup: Insights & Information For Financial Advisors, 5 Tips To Leverage LinkedIn To Connect with Prospects & New LinkedIn Features that Advisors Need to Know