By Dan Swift
Many people join LinkedIn to get a job or to change jobs. They upload their resume or CV proudly boasting about their professional accomplishments in an attempt to appeal to recruiters and branch managers. Others join, then do little more, presenting an empty page to the world.
Here’s the problem.
As I noted in my previous article, How Business Bankers Use LinkedIn, the IDC found that 75% of buyers use social media to learn about potential vendors. That means 3 out of 4 business owners when looking for a banking relationship for the first time, or changing an existing banking relationship, are turning to social media platforms like LinkedIn as part of their due diligence process.
With this in mind, take another look at your LinkedIn profile and answer these questions. Does it:
- Educate business owners on your experience of helping other business owners, just like them, achieve their goals?
- Differentiate you from other bankers?
- Position you as a trusted advisor?
- Motivate business owners to engage with you proactively?
Here are my top five recommendations for transforming your profile from your resume (or blank page) to your professional reputation:
- People buy from people. Not having a photograph on LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network, is the equivalent of going to a networking event with a bag on your head. Smile in your headshot. In a series of experiments studying judgement from facial appearances, Princeton psychologists Janine Willis and Alexander Todorov found it only takes 100 milliseconds to form an impression of someone from just looking at a photo of their face. Some 80% to 90% of that first impression is based on just two qualities—trustworthiness and competence.
- First impressions count. Particularly with consumers considering your bank. Have your marketing department create a bank-branded banner for your LinkedIn profile to replace the default LinkedIn blue that sits behind your headshot. LinkedIn recommends 1,584 x 396 pixels.
- Differentiate yourself. Update your professional headline from: “Banker at XYZ Bank” to something more alluring, perhaps: “Business banking is a Bank XYZ priority. We’re here to help you,” or something similar. You want to stand out in search results on LinkedIn.
- Leverage your electronic billboard. The summary section on your LinkedIn profile provides 2,000 characters (don’t feel obliged to use them all) to present yourself to business owners in a human, customer first, educational manner. What should they know about you? Remember—you would not introduce yourself in the third person to a business owner during a meeting. Don’t do it on LinkedIn. Be human. Be humble. Be approachable. Be thoughtful. Four brief paragraphs. The first one outlining the challenges that business owners face. This demonstrates that you understand their pain. The second one describing your experience (in a non-egotistical way) of helping business owners, just like them, achieve their goals. The third paragraph is your why. I’d always recommend simply lifting the about us section from your bank website. The final paragraph is a call to action: “Feel free to connect with me here on LinkedIn and let’s arrange a time to chat at your convenience,” or something of this nature. Pointed, relaxed and professional.
- People like rich media. You can add or link to external documents, photos, videos, and presentations from your LinkedIn profile in multiple locations. The summary section is one of them. Include links to your bank website, to customer testimonial videos, or success stories on your bank website. Really, any information that has already been approved by compliance and already resides on your bank website. What do you want business owners to read as they evaluate you and your bank against other bankers and their banks?
Of course, there are many more LinkedIn profile best practices that will attract business owners to your LinkedIn profile and motivate them to connect with you, but these will get you started. Banking is easier when business owners come to you.
In my next article, I will share best practices for bankers to building a professional network on LinkedIn for referrals at scale.
Dan Swift is CEO of Empire Selling, the modern sales methodology for an increasingly digital world. Previously, he was a member of the senior leadership team at LinkedIn. There he launched LinkedIn Sales Navigator for Financial Services, Insurance and Banking, and created the LinkedIn profile optimization program Resume to Reputation. In 2015, Onalytica Research named Dan as one of the leading social selling influencers globally. Find out more about LinkedIn profile optimization. Email: [email protected]. (347) 613-5796. LinkedIn.