LinkedIn is a powerful tool for advisors to connect with potential clients, but it should be used with careful diligence. Failure to do so could result in ineffective platform execution, or even worse a breach in compliance.
Here are 8 things financial advisors shouldnt be doing on LinkedIn.
Source: Crystal Thies, co-author of The Social Media Handbook for Financial Advisors
1. Failing to Archive LinkedIn Activity
If you're going to do more than just have a LinkedIn profile and connect with people, you need to be archiving your LinkedIn activity. That means if you're creating or commenting on status updates, posting and commenting in groups, and using LinkedIn's messaging system, you need to preserve that activity in some way. You can manually print out screen captures, but that can get a bit cumbersome, which is why there are software solutions that will capture it for you. Be sure to check with your compliance department to see if your company has selected the archiving platform you need to use.
2. Not Connecting with Clients
Some advisors seem to think that they shouldn't connect with their clients on LinkedIn, but connecting to your clients gives you insight into their network and potential referral opportunities. Some of the concerns have to do with people seeing who an advisors clients are. First, only your 1st degree connections can browse through your connections (and you do have the power to turn that off). If you are careful to connect only with people you trust, then having your 1st degree connections see each other shouldn't be a problem. Second, you're likely connected to more people than just your clients, so how is anyone to know who is a client and who isn't?
3. Having an Incomplete or "Canned" Profile
Compliance is always an important issue, and your policy will definitely tell you what you can't do. But it will not necessarily tell you want you can do. Try to work with your compliance department to fully develop your LinkedIn profile so that you stand out from your competition.
Because your LinkedIn profile is about you as an entire person and not just you the advisor, use the sections about community service, volunteer work, etc. to add more dimension to your profile. Be sure not to forget about keywords to search optimize your profile and increase the odds of being found.
4. Failing to Send Personalized Invitations to Connect
Sending LinkedIn's default message to connect without adding any personalization is considered an etiquette no-no across the board. Why is it so important? If you're inviting someone to connect who doesn't know or can't recall who you are, they may click on the link that says, "I don't know" the person inviting me to connect. Since LinkedIn's policy is that it wants you connecting with people you know, if several people click on this link, your account will be restricted so that you can only connect with people whose email addresses you have.
However, remember to use an archiving platform that captures the personal LinkedIn messages in order to be in compliance and capture the communication.
5. Not Keeping up With the Conversation
If you think that all you have to do is build an awesome LinkedIn profile and business will come pouring in, you're sadly mistaken. It's important that you are active on LinkedIn in order to stay front of mind. The best way to do that is by becoming a thought leader and sharing great content (either your own or from other sources) via a status update. You often get more visibility by commenting on your connections' status updates because both your network and your connection's networks see you. If other people have commented that increases your visibility to all of their networks.
The SEC and FINRA consider status updates to be "online interactive electronic" content that requires oversight but not prior review. With that said, several large companies are still requiring pre-review or only allowing use of status updates from a pre-approved library.
6. Only Posting Financially Related Status Updates and Selling Too Much
Posting the wrong content can actually be worse than not posting anything at all. And, posting too much of the same thing especially if it appears to be sales related can potentially be just as bad.
Share information about other topics you're passionate about (more likely to get people to share non-financial content and you than financial education articles). Balance content between that meant to educate your network and that which you want your network to engage with and share.
7. Joining Only LinkedIn Groups Full of Other Financial Advisors
Too often, I see financial advisors only in groups for financial advisors. LinkedIn Groups are one of the best places to attract new clients, but that's not going to happen if ALL of the people in your groups are also financial advisors. Look for groups that your target market is in. They can be groups just for people who live in your city, groups for a niche like small business owners or C-level executives, or even people who have the same personal interests as you. There are many great prospecting strategies involving groups, but they all start with being in the groups where the prospects are.
8. Not Setting Up and Saving LinkedIn Search To Find Perfect Prospects
If you knew that a perfect prospect had an existing relationship with someone you were connected to, wouldn't you want to know that? The fundamental beauty of LinkedIn is the ability create highly targeted searches into the outer depths of your network. LinkedIn provides amazing search filters to highly target your network by keyword, industry, seniority, company size, and more. Further you can specify which level of your network you want to see results for and focus on those within arm's reach. Finally, LinkedIn lets you save those searches and will EMAIL the new prospects to you every week.