8 Tweaks to Immediately Improve Your LinkedIn Presence As a Finance Leader
By Space Coast Daily // December 8, 2022
Where does LinkedIn rank on your list of most important social media platforms?
If you’re like many finance professionals, it’s right at the top. It’s all but indispensable, both as a professional networking tool and as a resource for promoting your capabilities and services to prospective clients.
Getting the most out of LinkedIn takes work, however. It’s very easy to create a basic LinkedIn presence and leave it at that, perhaps interacting occasionally with people you already know.
This leaves a lot of potential value on the table and could actually backfire, lowering your reputation in the eyes of peers and clients (or prospective clients) who know what LinkedIn is worth.
Good thing it doesn’t take much to improve your LinkedIn presence. Make these eight simple tweaks to your profile, company pages, and LinkedIn usage to see real results fast.
1. Choose a Better Background Photo
This is a general social media rule, but it’s particularly important on LinkedIn, where the background photo is the first thing you see when you visit a new profile.
Choose an image that says something about your firm or what it does. Not too on the nose, of course: no need to post a spreadsheet that says “I’m an accountant” or a stock chart to underscore that you are, in fact, a trader.
Your image should show your audience what your firm does without outright telling them.
The LinkedIn profile for Asiaciti Trust, a fiduciary services provider with a presence in the Asia-Pacific region, is a good example. It shows a smiling parent and child in what appears to be an inter-generational domestic setting, with the company logo off to one side.
This at once conveys stability, security, trust, and competence — all attributes you’d want in your own fiduciary services provider.
2. Complete Your Profile (Use LinkedIn’s Profile Completion Meter)
LinkedIn wants you to complete your profile, or at least get it most of the way there. Don’t let it down.
Use LinkedIn’s helpful profile completion meter to see what still needs to be done. Work a bit at a time.
Many profile sections take just a few minutes to complete, and those that require more work can be broken into smaller tasks. Set a deadline to finish every relevant section — say, a week or 10 days from today.
3. Use a Recent Profile Photo
Resist the temptation to recycle the same professional photo you’ve been using for 20 years. Sure, you were trimmer and better-looking back then, but let’s be honest: it’s no longer you.
And if it’s not vanity holding you back, but inertia or uncertainty over how your new professional photo will look? Follow these tips for a better headshot and get it done.
4. Seek Out Recommendations From Peers and Clients
The more LinkedIn recommendations you have for the core skills you trade on as a financial professional, the better.
At the same time, these recommendations should be genuine and substantive, not dashed-off favors from people you barely know. Confine your requests to past or current employers, colleagues, clients, and professionals with whom you have referral relationships. This should still leave plenty of options.
5. Interact Regularly With Those Same Peers and Clients
If you rarely use LinkedIn’s social functions, preferring instead to focus on your own profile and posts, think again. This is a social media platform, after all.
And no interaction is too perfunctory. Even a thumbs-up emoji or “Congratulations!” at the announcement of a new role is better than remaining silent. Just don’t use the occasion as a pretense to ask the other party for something — that should come as a separate and much more detailed interaction.
This isn’t to say “detailed” interactions must include asks. LinkedIn is an excellent platform for substantive idea exchanges. Some of the most intellectually and professionally rewarding experiences you’re likely to have on it begin as off-the-cuff posts.
6. Poll Your Audience
LinkedIn doesn’t have sophisticated polling tools like Twitter, but that shouldn’t stop you from asking questions of your audience. You’ll drive a lot more engagement to your profile or company page if you center your connections in your content, and your credibility will rise along with your mentions.
7. Consider Switching to “Follower” Mode
If you find you have a knack for getting your connections to engage, consider switching to “follower” mode.
This refocuses your account on the content you create, rather than the line items on your CV. It’s ideal for finance professionals whose success is a function of their credibility and perceived expertise. But don’t worry — if it doesn’t produce the results you intend, the change is reversible.
8. Don’t Cold Message, But Do Reach Out to New Followers
Many finance professionals use LinkedIn as a prospecting tool, but there’s a “right way” and a “wrong way” to go about it. The trick is to avoid obvious “cold messaging,” where you essentially spam second- and third-degree connections using LinkedIn’s InMail function. This is just as ineffectual as spam email, if not more so, and could burn more bridges than it builds.
However, you can and should reach out to new followers or connections to establish genuine, mutually beneficial relationships. Follow the ground rules of direct message etiquette at all times, and remember that no connection is worth sabotaging your professional reputation over.
You’re in Control of Your LinkedIn Presence
LinkedIn is a more versatile platform than Twitter. It’s more polite and easier to manage than Facebook. It’s more professional than Instagram. It’s more visible than a blog.
As social media platforms go, LinkedIn is quite valuable. But you have to know how to use it to get more out of it.
That begins with realizing that you’re fully in control of your LinkedIn presence, that you can shape it as you wish and use it as an extension of your professional self. This might sound obvious, but it’s a big change in thinking for a lot of people, and doesn’t always come naturally.
Making the tweaks outlined in this article could help you make that mental shift — and make it permanent. Why not give it a try and see what your LinkedIn presence is capable of?