My top tips for LinkedIn newbies who want to attract financial clients, referrals, and jobs

LinkedIn is gaining power as a source of clients, referrals, and jobs, just as websites have become essential for companies. If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, it’s almost if you don’t exist. 

In its most basic form, LinkedIn can be a gentle, low-key way of reminding people that you exist. You can also use it to meet new people. These are my main goals for LinkedIn. It has generated some business for me, but NOT as the result of my aggressively asking for it.

In this post, I share my personal top tips for raising your profile using LinkedIn.

1. Put up a profile, any profile

Just list your name and geographic location and geographic location if you’re not sure what information you want to share. If a former client remembers you from your last job at a different investment management firm, LinkedIn provides an easy way for them to find you. 

2. Flesh out your profile and show your personality

After I filled in the basics, I gave my LinkedIn profile a makeover, following the advice in Guy Kawasaki’s “LinkedIn Profile Extreme Makeover.” The main idea is to give more of a sense of who you really are in your profile. If you’re a LinkedIn novice, you should also read Kawasaki’s “Ten Ways to Use LinkedIn.” 

3. Link with others to stay in touch

You must build your network on LinkedIn to get maximum benefit. If you’re comfortable with LinkedIn’s security, you can let it access your email address books so it can identify your contacts who are already on LinkedIn. Then you can send them an invitation to connect.

After you connect, your contacts will automatically see your very recent updates on their LinkedIn home page. This is a big advantage in keeping you “top of mind” as a potential service provider, referral recipient, or employee. 

4. Update your status

On your LinkedIn home page, have you noticed the box that says “Share an article, photo, video or idea”? Updating this box regularly is one of the most valuable steps you can take. I know because I’ve actually gotten work from a client who was inspired by my update to contact me.

If you’re a blogger, it’s a great idea to link to a blog post from this box. Are you an advisor? You could mention an interesting article you’re reading or a new white paper on your firm’s website (but check with Compliance first). If you’re a job hunter, be wary of sounding desperate. It’s better to mention some positive activity you’re engaged in rather than to say repeatedly “___ is looking for a job as a research analyst.”

Here’s one of my updates as a sample: 
Susan blogged: Statistics to calm nervous investors: Research on dollar cost averaging 

5. Participate in LinkedIn Groups 
Participating in LinkedIn Groups and asking and answering questions on LinkedIn will also raise your profile.  Plus, what you learn from others can help you do your job. I’ve found data and people to interview through LinkedIn.

NOTE: This post was updated on 12/15/18 for changes in LinkedIn.