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Okay, so advisors, asset managers, and hedge fund executives are on LinkedIn, but is it making a difference? The answer is a resounding yes. Many advisors using social media are seeing real business results from it, in terms of both clients and assets. Now that you know why you should be on LinkedIn, let's discuss how you can get started.

Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile

With more than 270 million professionals on LinkedIn, how are you going to stand out and increase the awareness of your brand? As we've stated, there are a myriad of reasons to make your presence known on the LinkedIn network. When you set up your profile, you want it optimized and filled out properly so you can leverage those relationships and increase your connections and brand awareness.

Here are some important aspects of the LinkedIn profile for you to develop once you've clicked the sign up button:

Use Keywords A keyword is a term that people use when trying to find you. On LinkedIn, it's essential that you optimize your profile around keywords you want to be found by. For example, if you're a retirement planner, you'd

Use Appropriate Keywords

FIGURE 12.1 Use Appropriate Keywords

want to optimize your profile so that when people search for retirement, your profile is first – or at least on the first page. To do this, you need to make sure key terms recur multiple times in your headline, current job titles, past job titles, personal summary, and skills (see Figure 12.1). Here is what you can do to achieve the best results:

Use long-tail keywords – For example, instead of using financial advisor as your primary keyword, use something more narrow and specific like financial and retirement advisor.

Use keywords generously throughout your profile – Once you have a list of keywords that are the most pertinent to you and your business, use them recurrently throughout your profile, in your headline, current job titles, past job titles, summary, and skills.

Create Descriptive Headlines The headline of your LinkedIn page is extremely important. It's the first impression, and we all know that first impressions create lasting impressions. Next are a few strategies for creating good headlines.

Powerful LinkedIn Headline

FIGURE 12.2 Powerful LinkedIn Headline

■ Use your headline to describe what you do. Rather than just stating your current title, try something descriptive, like “Experienced Financial Advisor in the Denver Area Specializing in Wealth Transfer.”

■ Avoid filler words. For example, use & instead of writing out and. It saves space.

■ Use keywords frequently, include the location, and make the headlines encompass the services you offer.

Figure 12.2 is an example of a powerful LinkedIn headline.

Complete Your Summary When filling out your summary, first include a personal summary followed by an overview of your business. If you have a company biography or mission statement on your website that you feel is strong, use it. For larger firms, craft an “about the company” message that is approved for all advisors to share in their LinkedIn summaries. Here are some basic suggestions for a standout summary:

■ This should be personal. Speak about yourself in the first person.

■ Include a brief introduction about yourself, how you got into the industry, your education/designations, and a little information about your personal interests.

■ Use strong language. For example, don't just say, “I help people plan for retirement,” say “I am passionate about preparing clients for a comfortable retirement.”

■ Use keywords and be sure to include any specialties or areas of focus.

■ Embed interactive media. Include videos and links to your blog and SlideShares to help visualize your story and expertise.

Edit Your Contact Information Make sure that people can contact you. Take advantage of the online real estate available and fill in your work e-mail, phone number, Twitter handle, links to any websites, and even your birthday. (See Figure 12.3.)

Leverage Your Contact Info

FIGURE 12.3 Leverage Your Contact Info

NOTE: LinkedIn gives you the ability to add up to three websites to your profile. Take advantage of this feature. Utilize all three options with your website, your blog site, your Facebook link, links to external associations you are part of, or other relevant options. Not only do these provide an easy outlet for your connections to view your information, but it also can aid in driving traffic to your website. Whenever you include links to external sites, consider using a call to action. For example, instead of saying “Smith Financial Website,” say “Visit Smith Financial.”

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