The start of a new year is typically a time for self-reflection. How can we improve this year? What changes can we make to enrich the lives of those around us?
How can we improve our LinkedIn profile?
OK, maybe that’s not a typical question this time of year. But for mortgage pros in 2020, LinkedIn profile optimization could make a big difference when it comes to lead generation and referral network growth.
Here are 5 resolutions you can adopt to increase your chances of connecting with target audiences on LinkedIn.
Publish your own content
LinkedIn has touted the importance of sharing content for years now. If you spend any time scrolling through your homepage feed, you’ll clearly see that this advice has taken hold within the mortgage professional community.
Mortgage pros share industry news articles, interest rate updates, company headlines, and more. We see so many of these articles each day that they start to blur together – unfortunately, the users who share these posts start to blur together as well.
The secret to standing out in today’s LinkedIn feed is to publish YOUR OWN content.
LinkedIn reports that of their 500 million total users, only 1 million have ever published an article on LinkedIn – that’s just 0.2%!
Digital marketing experts believe LinkedIn boosts self-published posts in order to encourage more users to use its content tools.
This means that LinkedIn can help you cut through the clutter – provided that you do some of the leg work and publish original content.
So what should you write about? Maybe the best idea (especially for inexperienced authors) is to write about what you know – the deals you see in your territory, the specific needs of today’s borrower, and new technology and resources that are helping mortgage pros do their jobs.
Note – this is far different from simply talking about yourself or your company. While closed loan posts and company updates can be relevant, true value comes from content that focuses on your audience – not you.
Commit to providing insight that helps your client base or referral network succeed and, over time, you should see your influence expanding on LinkedIn.
Update your headshot
You may already have a hunch that LinkedIn users with profile pictures get more views and messages than those who don’t.
But the impact is probably greater than you think. LinkedIn reports that users with a photo get 21x more profile views and 36x more messages!
If you feel comfortable sharing a photo of yourself, make it a priority to do so this year.
Already have a headshot in place? Maybe this is the year you finally replace it with an updated version.
We’ve all seen those photos that appear to have been taken 4 jobs and 3 presidential elections ago. In a way, these out-of-date headshots reveal transparency issues that may become a red flag for potential referral partners.
The good news is that it’s never been easier to produce a low-cost, quality headshot. Your smart phone will do the trick – simply find a well-lit room with a blank wall and ask a friend or coworker to take the photo for you.
It may seem inconsequential, but your photo helps create the first impression potential business partners have when viewing your profile. Why not make it as strong as possible?
Add skills and endorsements to your profile
If you had to rank the importance of each LinkedIn profile section, you’d probably list “Experience” first, followed perhaps by “Education” and the top summary section beneath your name and title.
Where would “Skills & Endorsements” rank?
The truth is that overlooking the value of this section can seriously limit the amount of connections you make.
That’s because LinkedIn treats skills and endorsements as keywords. The more industry-relevant keywords you have listed in your profile, the more likely you are to connect with those searching for mortgage professionals.
In fact, LinkedIn says that listing 5 or more skills on your profile can lead to up to 17 times more views!
Take a moment this year to make sure your LinkedIn profile fully reflects your skillset.
Then reach out to your friends and business partners and ask for endorsements.
This can feel uncomfortable for many people. Perhaps the easiest way to get endorsements is to give them first. Then you can follow up and ask for an endorsement of your own.
Remove cliché terms from your profile
Passionate. Motivated. Experienced. Strategic.
You’re surely all these things. The trouble is that everyone else is as well.
Or at least that’s how they describe themselves on LinkedIn. According to the social network, the terms above were some of the most commonly used in 2018.
If you want to stand out, you’ll need to replace those clichés with terms that both define you and are unique to you.
One way to avoid the most common buzzwords is to replace language that describes who are you are with language that illustrates what you do.
You’re passionate? Try writing a sentence about how your passion helps companies grow.
You’re experienced? Tell the world how your experience solved a big problem your borrower never saw coming.
When you use real experiences to describe your attributes and qualifications, you eliminate any possibility of sounding like everyone else.
Re-evaluate your groups
LinkedIn reports that more than half of all users belong to at least one group. Many users belong to quite a few, from university-specific groups to those focused on certain industry niches.
For years, marketing pros have encouraged users to join more groups and contribute to as many as possible.
Maybe this year, your top resolution should be to cut down on your total number of groups and focus on deriving the most value possible out of just one or two.
Thanks to recent platform updates, group administrators have more freedom to moderate group activity and prevent irrelevant messaging from ruining on-topic discussions. Other changes have made it easier for users to search for the most relevant content within a group’s feed.
These updates may make it easier for you to spend time with like-minded colleagues and build new referral partnerships. By limiting yourself to just a few groups, you can start small and determine just how helpful this aspect of LinkedIn can be for your mortgage business.
Looking ahead this year
LinkedIn has long been considered the social network of choice for lenders, originators, and others within the mortgage industry. If you’ve been using the tool for years, perhaps this is the perfect time for a refresh.
Commit to these 5 resolutions and you’ll find yourself in a more enjoyable – and hopefully beneficial – LinkedIn environment in 2020.