Your linkedin profile: A valuable bank tool.

Author:Swift, Dan

ONE OF THE BIGGEST MYTHS ABOUT LINKEDIN is that people only join it to get a new job. Recruiters are obviously active on LinkedIn but so are millions of business owners. These members have to innovate to survive, and, by choosing to market themselves on social, they now have the ability to scale their brand and differentiate themselves from the competition. Banks need to do the same.

Being active on the same professional network as your customers and prospects is common sense. The challenge for many banks is figuring out what "being active" actually means and how to turn activity into new customers.

Neglecting to invest in your Linke-dIn profile is one of the biggest mistakes made by people in the banking industry.

Your professional identity matters

What problem are you trying to solve with your LinkedIn profile? As a banker, I would hope it is to win new customers and deepen relationships with existing customers. Don't cut and paste your resume. It's the easiest and fastest way to create a professional identity, but your target audience does not care to read a long list of egotistical bullet points about your achievements and your performance against quota. It's actually a turn off. Equally, don't leave your profile empty.

Put yourself in the shoes of a potential customer, let's say a small-business owner. What message do your bankers' profiles tell that small-business owner? Do their profiles showcase their credibility, experience, trust and personality? In most cases the answer is "no." Data shows us that business owners spend time visiting complete profiles of bankers that have transitioned from "resume to reputation" and skip those that have not.

Where should bankers start?

* Get a professional headshot. Linke-din is a professional network. It's best to not include family photos since this isn't appropriate. Your profile is 12 times more likely to be viewed with a photo.

* Create a professional tagline that will spur a business owner to visit your profile: "Banker at XYZ Bank: Passionate about helping business owners in XYZ town achieve their goals."

* Enter your contact information and links to your corporate website and landing pages. Make it easy for business owners to educate...

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