Do you ever wonder if your LinkedIn presence is both professional and memorable? And by the way, what does it mean to be professional on LinkedIn?

Many advisors wonder if they’re using proper LinkedIn etiquette. Here’s a useful guide that will help you find out!

Dress (your content) for success

It’s important to always make sure your profile is complete, up to date and uses proper grammar. Including a high-resolution profile photo and cover photo will make your page visually appealing.

Ask a friend to have a look at your profile to make sure you haven’t missed anything.

Once you pass the spellcheck test, you can also ask for your friend’s opinion on your posts: Are they timely, relevant, and — don’t forget this — professional?

Think of LinkedIn as a 2.0 version of a networking event

Would you share a very private story with a person you just met at an industry event? If your answer is “no,” then why start on LinkedIn?*

All of your professional network and their connections are watching. And while you may grab your LinkedIn audience’s interest by showing some personality, remember that there are good ways and bad ways to do that.

To maintain a professional presence that builds credibility, consider posting about topics that highlight your areas of expertise.

Consider posting about these topics:

  • The latest financial developments
  • Changes in tax laws
  • Debt awareness
  • Financial education
  • Financial podcasts you enjoy listening to
  • Some of the day-to-day work you do
  • National Months/Days that relate to your profession (e.g. National Insurance Month)

When in doubt, it is always best to keep it professional. Besides, you don’t know where your next opportunity will come from.

*No judgment here! But if you said yes, consider keeping this story on Facebook.

Work on that virtual handshake

Don’t just add people you would like to connect with without introducing yourself. Even better, if you have a mutual connection, ask your friend to make the introduction. If you don’t have any mutual connections, do send an invitation to connect, but be sure to introduce yourself and state why are you reaching out to them. Give them a good impression from the start.

Months ago, I was at a fintech conference. There was one speaker whom I wanted to connect with because I was blown away by their presentation and their level of knowledge in an area I was particularly interested in. During the event I tried to reach out, but with the speaker being a high-ranking executive of a major bank, there were a lot of people wanting to introduce themselves as well.

I sent the following message on LinkedIn instead:

Hello  ____! I was at the conference tonight and your presentation was my favorite. I really liked how you were able to convey such complex information and help your audience understand technologies they have never used before, in a fun and engaging way.

Working in a field where I too need to convey financial information in an engaging way, I would love to connect with you and learn more from the content you share.

Thank you!

Not only did I get a new connection on LinkedIn, but the person was so surprised and pleased that I took the time to write a personalized note, that they offered to help me if I needed guidance, and they were willing to meet with me to talk more about our mutual professional interest.

Engage and encourage

Just as you would celebrate a colleague or friend who was just promoted, be sure to reach out to your connections when they share important news. A simple “like” or share, a heartfelt paragraph, or a sincere “well done,” will go a long way.

Everyone likes to be noticed and have their efforts and triumphs acknowledged. Be the person who lifts others up. They will remember you for it and, chances are, they will do the same for you in the future.

So how do I show my personality on LinkedIn?

Granted, we are not working all the time. We are still individuals with unique personalities, and we want people to notice that, too.

Here are some tips:

  • Be creative with your photos:  Having a cover photo that was taken outside might be a nice change from the typical office-background that your audience would expect to see from advisors. You can also use Canva.com to create a cover photo that includes your brand colors, tagline, and logo.
  • Write a blog: If you enjoy writing, think of an area you’re experienced in and share your thoughts. For example, if you’ve come up with a winning analogy to explain compound interest to your children, share that advice! If over the years, you’ve heard widowed clients express the same three regrets about their retirement savings, write a blog that spreads awareness. Your audience will appreciate and remember that you’ve helped them. Check out Diversified’s blog for inspiration!
  • Share articles: Share articles that you think will be helpful to your audience and become their go-to source for information on financial topics that you specialize in. And don’t just hit the “share” button. Remember to include your thoughts about the article you’re sharing.
  • Reflect on things: If you’ve recently had a career change, overcame a difficult situation at work, or succeeded at something, write a post about it. Share what you learned and how you grew. Your story can help others stay motivated. You don’t have to share the specifics, but showing your ability to learn and your willingness to help others by sharing knowledge will send your network a powerful message about who you are.
  • Join LinkedIn Groups: Find groups that represent your interests and engage in conversations with their members.

There are many ways to manage a LinkedIn presence but, ultimately, the big secret is to just be yourself and not being afraid to share what makes you unique. Hopefully these tips will help you figure out where to start.