We often hear that producers don’t have time to leverage LinkedIn or any social media platform for that matter in their practice. Time spent on social media is inevitably time lost when you could be checking off the to-do list or in front of a client, right?
Engaging on LinkedIn allows you to stay connected with your clients or prospects, even when you’re not in front of them. It also is a great place to meet prospective clients and build your pipeline. LinkedIn makes regular contact easy, efficient, and profitable.
Just as with networking, the way you present yourself online matters. Here are the top LinkedIn profile ‘must haves’ that you should implement today for a promising online networking experience.
1. Professional Photo – A professional photo is a must. No exceptions. Adding or changing your profile photo is easy and necessary for a good first impression.
2. Tailor Your Headline – A tailored headline creates interest and a desire to read more about you. Simply stating your title rarely tells people what you do. For instance, saying that you “Help people financially prepare for the unexpected” or that you are an “Estate Planning Facilitator and Life Insurance Advisor” are just a few examples of how you can engage with your target audience by using your headline.
3. Customize Your Public URL – A custom URL is an easy way for people to find you on LinkedIn. Instead of a random selection of numbers and letters, your profile URL becomes sleek, simple, and memorable. A customized URL is also easy to add to your business card, email signature, and more.
4. Personalize your Summary. Yes, LinkedIn is most easily described as your digital resume, but it really has the capacity to be much more – especially for producers. Take advantage of the summary space and tell people about your expertise. This is a great place for bio information as it relates to you being an expert resource. Make it reader friendly by writing in a conversational tone and using first person.
5. Include Experience, Education & Designations. When it comes to experience, you don’t need to regale your readers of every job you’ve had in and out of the financial services industry. Instead, you should list the work history that proves your relatable expertise. Do include any post high school education, degrees, courses, designations, etc. Be sure to add any needed trademark symbols to designations and add them at the end of your last name.
6. Skills & Endorsements. This is a great section to highlight your top skills and receive endorsements from clients, colleagues, and friends. If you specialize in a particular field like estate or retirement planning and compliance is okay with you promoting this, note it here. Do keep the list tight and try to limit it to your top 5 if possible. Receiving endorsements for your skills adds credibility to your profile. Giving endorsements is an easy one-click process and a great way to recognize the skills of your connections.
7. Privacy Settings. Reviewing and understanding your privacy controls on LinkedIn is key. There are times when notifications can be very useful and other times when they are not. For example, if you are making small adjustments to your profile, like updating your headline or adding old, but relevant work history you may want to ‘turn off’ your activity broadcasts temporarily so that your connections are not notified. To review your privacy controls, select Settings & Privacy from the drop down menu under your profile picture in the toolbar on the top right. You should also note, this is where you can update your password, add or change your email address, and more.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in May 2014 and has been reviewed and updated.