As a financial advisor you have at your fingertips one of the most powerful and easy to use business networking tools ever – LinkedIn. LinkedIn allows you to establish networks with members you know and trust. At the same time LinkedIn allows you to take advantage of the professional opportunities a group of over 225 million members may provide.
That said, what is the biggest mistake financial advisors make on LinkedIn? It’s the same mistake 49.5% of those on LinkedIn make – they don’t have a completed profile.
That’s right, only 50.5% of those on LinkedIn have a 100% complete profile.
Before we get into why this matters, I recognize that your firm may impose rules that don’t allow you to have a complete profile. I understand those restrictions and work with financial advisors daily to maximize their LinkedIn Profiles within the guidelines of what many refer to as a “Business Card” profile. We’ll discuss in a later post how, in spite of this restriction, you can still maximize your Profile.
So, why does a complete LinkedIn Profile matter? First, there is a direct correlation between how complete your profile is and how high you rank in the search rankings. LinkedIn ranks everyone by “relevance” in the following order:
- Profile Completeness – 100% only
- Connections in Common – shared
- Connections by degree – 1st, 2nd, 3rd
- Groups in Common – shared
Stated another way, if your LinkedIn Profile isn’t 100% complete you’re invisible when searched.
What makes your profile complete?
- Add a Profile Photo – Adding a profile photo makes your profile 7x more likely to be found in searches
- Your industry and location
- An up-to-date current position (with a description)
- Your education
- At least 50 connections
These three sections are known as the headline and are the areas LinkedIn’s Search Algorithm likes better than others. Keywords here help rank you higher in search results. You have 120 characters available to you for your headline.
- Summary – You have 2,000 characters for your summary. Think about the different ways you can describe what it is you do. The object here is to use a variety of keywords that will cause you to show up in search.
- Two past positions – Having your 2 most recent positions makes your profile 12x more likely to be found
- Your skills (you can have up to 50) – LinkedIn puts increased emphasis on Skills and Expertise. This means you can showcase your areas of expertise to easily connect with potential clients looking for subject matter experts. We’re also changing how we calculate profile completeness.
- NOTE: Most firms will not allow you to post Skills and Expertise as they view this as an implied recommendation and not allowed by FINRA. You may, however, type in the word “Specialties:” at the end of the last paragraph of your Summary and list your “Specialties” there.
It’s also noteworthy that this new approach by LinkedIn gives you more control of your score by emphasizing things you have direct control over, like Skills (Specialties), and putting less weight on areas you may have less control over, like Recommendations, which are not allowed.
The score also takes profile freshness into consideration, so frequent profile updates can now help with profile completeness.
To see how your doing look at the “Profile Strength” meter on the right side of your profile.
As you improve your profile the strength of your profile will increase and be reflected on the gauge. Move your cursor over the circle in the box to view the next level of strength you can reach. You can click the Improve Your Profile Strength link for a guided tour that’ll guide you through adding content to your profile.
When you achieve the maximum strength, you’ll have the option to share your profile on Facebook or Twitter, if allowed by your firm.
Completing your LinkedIn Profile is painless and can be done in a few hours. The reward for doing so: Users with complete profiles are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities through LinkedIn.
IS YOUR LINKEDIN PROFILE INCOMPLETE? TheDigitalFA can help! Please refer to our list of resources available to guide you through this process.
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