You're listening to “Financial Advisor Marketing”—the best show on the planet for financial advisors who want to get more clients, without all the stress. You're about to get the real scoop on everything from lead generation to closing the deal.
James is the founder of TheAdvisorCoach.com, where you can find an entire suite of products designed to help financial advisors grow their businesses more rapidly than ever before. Now, here is your host, James Pollard.
James: Financial Advisors, what is going on? This week's episode is going to be about LinkedIn. I always get good feedback when I do LinkedIn-related episodes because LinkedIn is such a phenomenal way to get more clients. I even have a video training literally called “How to Get Clients with LinkedIn,” which you can find by going to TheAdvisorCoach.com and clicking the Get Clients with LinkedIn tab.
That product is more or less about systematically finding your target market on LinkedIn, reaching out to that market in the right way—that's super important. You can't reach out in the wrong way. You must do it with a certain approach—and converting them into clients. [01:10.4]
One of the bonuses included in that program is 20 social media post ideas for financial advisors. Other companies charge hundreds of dollars for social media content templates and thousands if you want custom content, and that's assuming they even know you, they know your market, they know what they're doing in the first place.
I'm including these post ideas for free because I want to help you hit the ground running and get clients as quickly as possible. I want you to use them as inspiration, as motivation. You can't copy them. You can't just swipe and deploy, because that's bad. That's plagiarism and that's not a good look for you. You don't be a lowlife and do that. But you can use this content and get in front of more people.
This episode is actually about that topic. It's about how to get your content in front of more people on LinkedIn, because all else being equal, you will get more clients if you can get in front of more people. If you have an approach that's working well when you're getting in front of 100 people, then your approach will work 10 times as well when you get in front of 1,000 people—all else being equal, of course, if you don't change anything, but in the real world, you're going to get better with other aspects of your business. [02:16.8]
Your conversion rate is going to go up. You're going to test your messaging. You're going to refine your niche. You're going to improve your system, so it's going to be even more than 10 times better. But, hey, I have to give you something and give you something to wrap your head around. I'm going to share some research with you and I hope you find it interesting.
This research comes from a guy named Richard van der Blom, so full credit goes to him for this. None of the stats in this episode are my original research, my original thinking. Again, full credit goes to Richard van der Blom because this is his research, and I'm sharing it with financial advisors because this is the Financial Advisor Marketing podcast. He put this research online. I'm super grateful for him. He said it was okay to share as long as you gave him credit, so I hope I have fulfilled my obligation here. [03:03.5]
Now, let's get started. Here are some algorithm changes you should be aware of if you want to ramp up your LinkedIn marketing strategy. If you're the type of person who takes notes, I always think it's kind of cheesy when people take notes for podcasts. Most podcasts aren't just hard teaching and they shouldn't be. The most effective podcasts are informative, entertaining, kind of like a conversation. That's what I try to do. I try to practice what I preach, but if you want to take notes, then this is the episode to do it.
For the first time ever, it is now possible that the same content creator shows up with three or four posts in the same scroll session, which if people are scrolling through LinkedIn, they can see your face, your beautiful, smiling, gorgeous face three or four times. That's both good and bad. It's good if you are the person showing up. It's bad if you are not, because if everyone just gotten one spot in the scroll, then there's equal distribution, but if there's unequal distribution, then someone could take three of the spots or even one of the spots that could have gone to you. [04:10.1]
What does this mean? It means that the quality of your content is more important today than ever before. You need to bring your A game to social media. You can't post crap anymore, because as I'm sure we're going to see later in this episode, LinkedIn rewards content that people engage with and punishes content that people do not engage with. Very simple stuff. It's not complicated. Please don't overthink it. Don't try to make it complicated. If you throw something out there and it falls flat, you could get punished and have other people show up more often than you, because the same content creator can show up three or four times in the same scrolling session.
I know there are people out there who say, “Oh, just publish,” or “Get your thoughts out there. Just post, post, post, post, post, and get as much content out there and you just need to show up.” That's not bad advice per se, but when you show up, you want to make sure that it's good. You don't want to just throw stuff out there. You really, really don't want to do that. Don't listen to those people. That's not how this works. That's not how the algorithm works. Again, it's not my theory, it's not my opinion. This is actual data that comes from LinkedIn, LinkedIn's behavior, I should say. [05:20.0]
Next, dwell time has lost importance compared to last year. Dwell time is basically how long people stay on your post, how much time they spend with it. Little tricks and tactics used to exist where people would gain the algorithm by sharing super long post so people stayed on them longer, because if they're spending five seconds reading your post and 15 seconds reading someone else's super, super long post, the dwell time for that post is going to be higher and the idea was that it got shown more. But that doesn't work as well anymore. Shorter posts now perform better. So, anyone who's saying, “Have super long in-depth content,” if they're saying that specifically to have your LinkedIn content get shown in front of more people, they're wrong. [06:07.0]
I will tell you this, as a marketer, as someone who has done a bunch of research into this topic. Longer posts are good, not necessarily because they're going to get shown to a bunch of people, but because they are a qualifying mechanism in and of themselves, meaning, people will connect with you. They will engage with you. They will spend more time with you and they'll know if they are a good fit for you. It's really hard to do that in a couple sentences. If you explain who you are, what you're about, it is much easier to build that rapport and to identify if the person reading is a good fit or not.
Now, when it comes to engagement on LinkedIn, the deciding factor now, it appears to be engagement in the first 90 minutes. So, what does this mean? It means you need to get serious about finding the best times to post on social media. This will be dependent on your niche. I know you can google the best times to post on social media and you can find that the best time is Tuesday at 11:00 AM or whatever, but you want to fine-tune it for your niche. Once you find the best time that works for you, then you can use the scheduling tool like Hootsuite or Buffer and schedule your content to go out at that time every day. [07:17.5]
One of the things that I've done, and this is a really high-level tip—I was going to save it for Inner Circle members, but here you go, this is my free gift to you—I have been running a lot of Twitter ads to specific audiences and I've been paying attention to the times at which these ads get the most impressions.
For example, if a bunch of impressions are served at 5:00 AM, then I know that the audience is checking Twitter at 5:00 AM. If it gets a bunch of impressions at 6:00 PM, then I know that the audience is engaged and active on LinkedIn at that time. So, if I see a spike at 5:00 AM and then I see a spike at 6:00 PM, and I want to post twice a day, then what I will do is schedule my post in Hootsuite or Buffer, or MeetEdgar or whatever tool I'm using, and schedule for 5:00 AM and 6:00 PM. Again, not complicated stuff, but you have to get the actual data. You have to see what your audience is actually doing. [08:12.4]
If I google best times to post on social media and it says 11:00 AM every single day, and I run ads to my specific audience—remember this is for me and my business. I'm running eight to a specific audience. I'm trying to find out what works for me, not for some e-commerce store, not for some other business. I'm trying to run my business, not someone else's—I see that there's a dip at 11:00 AM, then I would be screwed if I took that advice, so I am confirming that this stuff is real.
Another finding from the LinkedIn research which supports the quality over quantity, finding, I guess, I should say, is that the algorithm remembers the relevance by engagement, dwell time, clicks of your last 10 to 15 posts, and I really like that. It's sort of a moving average of what you're doing and it makes decisions based on that. Anecdotally, I can confirm this is true. I've experienced this. [09:07.8]
I've seen it in both my content and in my Inner Circle members' content, where I'll have a few posts in a row that do really well and then the next posts appear to be even better, and then the posts after that are even better. Then when something flops, the content after that doesn't do so well, and if that content flops, then it really doesn't do well after that, so there’s like a moving average. It gets better. It's like an amplification and, personally, I like that because you're not being heavily rewarded for any one random variant, I guess, would be the statistical term, and you're not being punished for something that it just for whatever reason doesn't do well.
Next, let's talk about some things that influence what you see in your LinkedIn feed. Apparently, when you connect with someone, you will see all new posts from that person for the first two weeks. Based on my experience, I wouldn't have thought this was true, but Richard says it and I believe him. [10:08.7]
What I mean is I don't think if you post once per day and a new connection connects with you, I don't think that person is going to see all 14 posts from you. Again, I could be wrong and I am open to being wrong. In either case, you need to be extra cognizant of what you're posting, if you're connecting with new people.
If you do a connection campaign this week and you get a few dozen new connections, you could systematically share content about who you are, the type of people you help, and how you're a good fit for those people, because you know they're going to see it. That's the important part. If the algorithm is going to show your content to new connections for about two weeks, then you want to make sure you maximize that time. [10:52.7]
If you connect with people on February 1st through the 7th, then from the 8th to the 22nd, I shouldn't do math in public or count days in public, but the 8th to the 22nd, you want to make sure that your content is about how people can work with you, their experience with you, basically building trust, credibility, and rapport. You're doing it systematically because you know it's going to get in front of them anyway. Isn't that sneaky? I think it's a little sneaky, but it's also wonderful.
Hey, financial advisors. If you'd like even more help building your business, I invite you to subscribe to James' monthly paper-and-ink newsletter, “The James Pollard Inner Circle”. When you join today, you'll get more than $1,000 worth of bonuses, including exclusive interviews that aren't available anywhere else. Head on over to TheAdvisorCoach.com/coaching to learn more.
Also, liking a post increases the chances of seeing the next post from someone by 30%. Commenting on a post increases the chance of seeing the next post from someone by 70%. But get this, sending a direct message increases the chance of seeing the next post from someone by, wait for it, a whopping 85%. [12:10.8]
Isn't that incredible? If you've listened to the other LinkedIn-related episodes of the Financial Advisor Marketing podcast, you've heard me talk about how the money is in the inbox. There are people out there who will tell you that you shouldn't bother with messages, that all you need to do is post content, and we already talked about the right way to post content and how you should think about that
But there are people who say, “All you have to do is just post, post, post, post, post. Don't bother with messages. All you should do is just get your stuff out there and people will come to you.” Those people, I'm telling you right now, they're leaving money on the table, because if another advisor doesn't send messages and you do, then your content is significantly more likely to be shown than the other advisor's content.
I really want you to get this. You have likes, 30%. Comments, 70%. Direct messages, 85%. It increases the chances of someone seeing your content by 85%. I want you to get every single advantage that you can get, and as far as the liking and commenting stats, I want you to begin thinking about how you can get other people to comment on your post. [13:18.1]
There used to be this trend where people would list a bunch of things and then ask, “Anything I missed?” in order to get people to comment. People would list things and they would miss something obvious, and then it would boost engagement when other people commented.
Now, I know that sounds super big, so let me give you a real example. People would say, “What is your favorite food at McDonald's?” and they would say, “Here are the choices, like fries, McDouble, Quarter Pounder, and Oreo McFlurry. Anything I missed?” and people would be like, Big Mac, Big Mac, Big Mac, Big Mac, and it's just another way to game the algorithm. I think it's silly, but I don't hate the player. I hate the game. I would prefer to get engagement in a more organic, genuine way. It is what it is. I'm just sharing that with you. [14:09.2]
Next, publishing a new post within 18 hours from a previous post will negatively impact the growth of both posts. Yes, both. If you post at 9:00 AM and then post again at 4:00 PM, which I admit I do sometimes, you are hurting both of those posts. It is better to share something and then wait the full 18 hours, so keep that in mind if you're using a scheduling tool. You want to wait at least 18 hours.
This research also found that selfies deliver three times more engagement and up to 2.5 times more reach. That's pretty cool. I guess you should look for excuses to post selfies. I really should do more of this. It's a shame that I don't, because I travel a lot. I could take more selfies at cool places, but I'm sorry, excuse me, I don't really go around to different places holding my phone in front of my face like some Instagram model wannabe. I'll do better, though, I promise. [15:03.2]
People sharing a post, including repost, will substantially increase the reach of the original post. This isn't really a shocker because when people share content, it gets delivered to their audiences as well, but I think it's a good reminder to try and make shareable content. If you're taking notes, then you could write down, “Brainstorm ways to make contents shareable.”
You could even explicitly ask people to share the content, if they found it helpful. One financial advisor shared a post about what dogs can and cannot eat for Thanksgiving dinner. I thought that was really cool, and it's an example of incredibly sharable content. He basically posted it and told people to share it because it could literally save a dog's life. People started sharing it and I'm sure the reach was out of this world, because people say, “if you have little fur babies, check this out,” or “Dogs can't eat grapes. Did you know that? Dogs can't eat grapes? So, check out this chart,” and it just got shared and shared, and shared and shared. [16:02.1]
LinkedIn users with Creator Mode enabled received 15–35% more reach on average. If you haven't turned on Creator Mode yet if you have it, that's something you can do right now that will help your business. If you're someone who wants actionable takeaways from podcasts, then that's one for you right there. Turn on Creator Mode.
Creator Mode had some bugs when it was first rolled out, but now it's pretty nice. I have it and I like it. As far as actual post types, the stuff to post on LinkedIn, videos get 0.5x to 0.8x reach. I've seen a lot of people push video, and I understand that video can create connections and build rapport, just like the long post where I said that it's like a qualifying mechanism in and of itself, so I do think you should have video sprinkled into your overall marketing strategy. However, you're fooling yourself if you're doing nothing but video, because the reach just won't be there. You would have more reach and more benefit to you and your business if you use multiple types of content. [17:07.3]
LinkedIn newsletters get 0.2x to 0.9x the reach. There was a big push to create LinkedIn newsletters a while back. I never created one myself, so I can't speak from personal experience. I can tell you that based on what I've seen from financial advisors, they've been hit or missed. Some people have had tremendous success with them. Others, they've just flopped. In my opinion, there are much better things to do with your time, like actually build an email marketing sequence like an autoresponder and tweak that and improve your website, and run online ads and do direct mail, and so on and so forth.
Articles, though, are the worst offenders. They get 0.1x to 0.2x the average reach. That's terrible, and I've noticed this with my own content, which is why I don't publish articles as much anymore. Quite frankly, they suck. LinkedIn articles used to do so well, but now they don't, so I don't even bother. If you're going to create content like articles, go ahead and make it for yourself for your website instead of LinkedIn. Let your business get the traffic instead of sending the traffic to LinkedIn's business. [18:13.8]
Speaking of traffic to LinkedIn, they really don't want you to send traffic away from them. I'll summarize many of the findings in one sentence. Posting external links is bad. You don't want to do that. If you include a link with your original post, you will see about 60% less reach. If you post something, then go back and edit it to include your link. You will only see about a 10% decrease in reach, so if you're going to include a link, that's the way to do it. Instead of posting something, including the link from the get-go, post something, then wait a little bit. Edit it, and then go back and add that thing in there. A little sneaky, again. Isn't that a little sneaky? But again, I think it's wonderful. [18:59.0]
There was a period of time where posting your link in the comments section got around this where people would just say, “Link in comments. Link in comments,” and I did that a lot. That's no longer the case. Being the first person to comment on your own post leads to a 20% decrease in reach. It used to be 15% and now it's 20%, so the penalty is more severe, so don't be the first person to comment on your own post.
Finally, I want to share some more things from the research about how to get found on LinkedIn. One of the cool things about LinkedIn that many people forget is that it's a search engine. It has a search bar where people can type in names and job titles and companies to find people. In fact, I highly encourage financial advisors to use LinkedIn as a search engine to find prospective clients. That's one of the best ways to use LinkedIn.
Here are the biggest things that influence if you appear or in searches on LinkedIn. Your current job title. This would be like “Financial Advisor” or “Financial Planner.” Please don't make your job title “Money Wizard” or something weird that nobody is searching for. People are searching for a financial advisor. [20:11.4]
This is the pepperoni-pizza rule, in effect. People want pepperoni pizza. Give them pepperoni pizza. Don't try to put some weird stuff on there or try to say, “Actually, you want this cookie brownie thing with anchovies on top.” No, no, no, people want pepperoni pizza. They are searching “financial planner,” so your job title is going to be “Financial Planner.”
Next is network proximity and mutual connections. This is another reason why it's important to have a niche, because if you're connected with a bunch of doctors and a doctor searches for a financial advisor, then you are more likely to show up in the search results, if you have a bunch of mutual and second degree connections.
This is overlooked by lots of people who don't understand niching and/or the way LinkedIn works. Yes, you heard me correctly. Having a niche can improve the likelihood of people in your niche finding you on LinkedIn, which is incredible. This is like amplification, by itself. You have a niche which makes your marketing work better, but having the niche makes more people from that niche find you, because you have increased network proximity and you have more mutual connections. It is just a win-win. It's awesome. [21:16.5]
Next is location. This makes sense. If you're in New York and someone in New York is searching for a financial advisor, then you are more likely to show up in the search results. After that, you have your profile completeness. All else being equal, the person with a more complete profile is the person who is going to show up in the search results, so if you haven't completed your profile, make sure you do that.
Then you have the number of followers. This is another reason why I tell people that compounding exists in marketing, because as you get more LinkedIn followers, you're more likely to show up in the search results. If you're more likely to show up in the search results, you're more likely to get followers, and if you're more likely to get followers, you're more likely to use, and on and so forth, and these things compound on themselves. [21:59.0]
And that is it. I hope this episode helps you. I take pride in sharing real data about what actually works in marketing, not just ideas and theories. You could take this episode by itself and dramatically improve your LinkedIn marketing process.
But if you'd like to go even faster and get even more results, I suggest grabbing “How to Get Clients with LinkedIn” over at TheAdvisorCoach.com. You can click the Get Clients with LinkedIn tab and it will take you there. You can grab it. It's $195, worth every single penny. Getting one client pays for itself. There's a 100% money-back guarantee, because if it doesn't help you, I don't deserve to keep your money—and in either case, I will catch you next week. [22:44.0]
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