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The Worst Mistakes Advisors Make on LinkedIn

This article first appeared in Advisor Perspectives on April 28th, 2021, and can be found here.

You spend time creating content to drive new business for your firm, but then your social posts receive no traction. It feels like a waste. The content is similar to what others are doing, the posting time is right, so what gives?

Poor performance on social media is usually a result of one of the worst mistakes advisors make – focusing on themselves.

Think about the posts you’ve clicked on. They caught your attention because they had to do with something you were experiencing. Successful posts position themselves as a solution to their audience’s problems.

Using the following tips, you can adjust your social media content to gain more traction on LinkedIn. But first, let’s talk about why I’m focusing on LinkedIn and not other social platforms.

These strategies will work well for any social channel, but LinkedIn holds one advantage. According to HubSpot, LinkedIn is the best network for lead generation by a longshot:

If you’re going to make changes to your social media strategy, LinkedIn is the best place to start generating more leads. Let’s talk through how you can leverage the power of LinkedIn to attract more qualified leads by focusing on the six most common mistakes I see advisors making.

1. Forgetting to write with your audience in mind

There's a big difference between a post that focuses on engagement versus one that shows value to your reader. Your audience will feel it.

Always include your audience in anything you write:

  • Use “you:” Your writing should focus on the reader. Using words like “I” or “we” turns focus to your firm. This is a subtle, but simple adjustment that makes a big difference in keeping your posts focused.
  • Be specific: Financial professionals often use language to include as many people as possible, but that’s not appealing to those that need it most. You need to stand out amongst a sea of constant social posts, and specificity is the key. Is your post about retirement? Then focus on the demographic that is most interested.
  • Include attention-grabbing intros: Many posts begin with “Check out my” or “Read my” when drawing attention to content. These posts don’t start with your audience. Instead, open with something specific and relatable to your niche. For example:

See the difference? The focus of the first post is on the poster, while the second focuses on benefits to business owners. It’s specific and demonstrates value. It doesn’t tell the reader to click, it shows them why they should.

2. No context

Advisors and other financial professionals understand their industry. And sometimes it's tempting to post a link to your content and let the article’s image and title speak for itself. But this assumes your readers understand the benefits of what they’re reading.

Provide context instead. A simple description of what the article is about or what it provides will suffice. For example, this post from Josh Null gives some context to the question posed by the linked podcast episode:

To help you create context around your post, ask what your content does. Is it educational? What is it teaching the reader? Is your information accessible? For example, your article might be titled “The Benefits of a Roth IRA.” Sure, it’s about the benefits, but your reader needs to first know what a Roth IRA is.

3. Neglecting audience engagement

Recent algorithm updates to LinkedIn reveal that the more clicks, shares and comments (also known as engagement) a post receives, the more successful LinkedIn views it and the more likely it is to push your posts to the top of people’s feeds and note it as “tending.” There are a few ways to increase the engagement of your posts.

  • Ask a question: Ending your post with a question is a call-to-action for readers to respond.
  • Request comments: Sometimes asking for people’s opinions is enough.
  • Respond to visitors: Visitors to your content may comment for their own reason, asking a question themselves or expressing an opinion. Make sure to always answer these questions to show your account is active and aware.
  • Comment on other’s posts: Increasing the engagement of another user’s post can increase the likelihood that they respond to your own. Add a 15-minute time block to your calendar every day to remind yourself to engage with other posts.

Find a balance between posting your own content and engaging your audience. I recommend following the 80/20 rule – for every post you make be sure to comment on five other posts.

Most people post MEDIA to social media. But they aren't SOCIAL. Social media will not work as a marketing strategy if you don't engage with other posts. It's akin to walking into an in-person networking event holding a big sign with your logo on it and silently walking around the room, then leaving without talking to anyone. You would never do this (at least I hope you wouldn't)!

4. Not using hashtags

Hashtags make your post searchable to users and easier for LinkedIn to organize. Decide which hashtags to use; no more than three should be added per post. Make sure these hashtags are related to your post, service or audience.

Then, do a quick search on LinkedIn to see how many people follow the hashtag:

As an added benefit, hashtags can also be used as a branding opportunity, making your content searchable. For example, Jeanne Fisher, also known as the 401k Lady, includes the hashtag “#401klady” in all her posts, making her content accessible through a single click or search:

5. Using too many links

Many advisors include their content as a link in their posts. The content may contain great information but will often receive poor engagement. The result? Your followers won’t be able to receive your content.

LinkedIn and other social media sites want to keep visitors on their platforms as long as possible, and it makes sense.

Instead, on posts where you include a link, insert that link in the comments. According to GrowthRocks, this improves the overall reach of posts when compared to including the link in the body text.

Improving the reach of your post means it has a higher chance of receiving engagement and will be visible to more users within, and possibly outside, of your primary audience, depending on the success of the post.

Are you making any of these mistakes?

If you are, don’t worry. There is always time to correct course. If there’s only one thing you retain after reading through these rules it is this: The biggest mistake you can make on LinkedIn is forgetting your audience. Use this checklist to help you avoid some of the most common LinkedIn mistakes and boost your performance.