LinkedIn is the place for professionals, white-collar job seekers, and networking folks in just about any industry. In other words, there’s a lot of potential for accounting firms.
As the future of accounting continues to evolve, so does the way firm owners relate to their communities. That means including a platform like LinkedIn.
Here are a few of the ways:
- Client acquisition/referral: If you serve other businesses, there’s a chance your direct clients mingle on LinkedIn. By that, I mean share posts and messages on the platform. An active account (e.g. you’re sharing and creating content) means your clients will share within their network, potentially snagging you clients.
- Employee acquisition: There is a very expensive recruiting software built into LinkedIn, because so many people hunt for jobs and hire talent on the platform. With the job market being so yucky, it’s a great idea to have an active recruiting engine where professionals hang out.
- Social proof: Accounting and business tax filings aren’t the least expensive thing in the world. Sometimes, people poke around your website, check your references, and visit your social media accounts. You don’t want your profile to show up without an image, that’s for sure.
Convinced? Good. Now, it’s time to discuss ten different elements you’ll want to improve for a quality LinkedIn profile.
10 Essential Elements of a Quality LinkedIn Profile
1. The Headshot
Getting a recent professional headshot only costs about $50, but so few people do it. The very first impression you’ll make is with your picture. You may not look as epic as Uncle Rico, from Napoleon Dynamite, but it should still be good.
Here are some do’s and don’ts:
- Get a recent professional headshot
- Wear professional dress
- Smile – remember, this is your first impression!
- Have a picture that was taken using a polaroid in 1980
- Show any skin or have a photo wearing something you wouldn’t wear to an interview
- Have no photo at all
2. The Headline
Many people don’t know this, but your LinkedIn Title doesn’t have to be the same as your current job title.
For example, if you’re a Partner at Cristello & Sons, LLP – you can make your LinkedIn title whatever you want! It’s important to think of the headline as something that speaks to your target customers.
Try and use the formatting like this: I help ______ to get ______ by using ______.
Scratch that. It’s what everyone else tells you to do, and it’s wrong. You know why?
Who’s it talking about?
Whoever is there is already on your profile. The worst thing you could do is talk all about you. Imagine if someone came to your house, and they didn’t even take their coat off before you started rambling on about what you do.
Instead try something geared towards the person (or persona) of your most important goal.
- Example: You really need to add a couple members to the team.
- Potential headline: Want to do accounting from your house? Work for [Firm name]
See the difference? Here’s another:
- Example: Targeting software/SaaS clients who’ve gotten a seed round of funding
- Potential headline: Turn Your Seed Round into Real Growth
- Alternative (more playful): Don’t Blow Your Investment Wad on Junk
You have to see the difference, right?
This new headline will be aimed towards the people you want to be connecting with.
Here is a great example of a formatted headline if you’re an accountant for a specific niche like doctors or dentists:
I help doctors and dentists save money and get financially organized using cloud-based accounting.
The key is to come up with 2 or 3 different headlines and see which one is converting the most connections.
3. Premium Account
While not a necessity, getting a premium account is good for your brand but can be EXPLOSIVE for finding and generating new leads and new free consultations for your firm.
It costs about $59 per month for the most basic LinkedIn premium version and is well worth it if you’ll invest the time to use it.
Bonus tip: Plus, you’ll be able to see everyone who’s looking at your profile. This allows you to see who to message and move the conversation forward (whether it be leads or recruits)
Get everything you need to manage projects and meet deadlines.
4. 500+ Connections
LinkedIn was started in 2002. That’s well over 10 years that you’ve had to get at least 500 connections on the world’s #1 professional network.
When I come across a profile with fewer than 500 connections, it just raises questions. Why?
It has nothing to do with the level of service you provide, or how great your firm is, but your prospects only know what you show them when they stumble on your LinkedIn profile.
This one isn’t likely to be hard. You’re an accountant and know a ton of colleagues. Give them a follow and ask for the same, in return.
5. The Background Section
After the header section of your profile, this is the next thing your prospect will see. It’s important to remember the entire purpose of LinkedIn is like having a billboard on the internet for your business.
You should answer the exact questions this accountant did:
- What I Believe
- What I Do
- How I Do It
- Who I Serve
- My Background
- Call to Action – typically putting a link to Calendly.com or ScheduleOnce.com is best so your prospects can schedule a consultation right on your calendar.
It’s important to make sure that your LinkedIn page is made for your AUDIENCE. Not for you. That’s why choosing a niche is so important. Frankly, your prospects don’t care to work with a general accountant. They want someone who truly understands them and what they’re experiencing. If you’re an Accountant For Lawyers – an Advertising Executive probably won’t message you for accounting services – but the Lawyers will come in droves!
Ask yourself this question: Am I consistently receiving messaging from targeted clients on LinkedIn? If the answer is no, pick a niche and target your messaging directly to them. You will be surprised at the results. I get 1-3 consultations per week just from normal traffic that comes across my page.
6. The Skill Section
The skills section is one of the easiest to beef up. Pick a handful of skills to focus on and get your friends to vouch for you.
How do you do that?
Every time you endorse someone, they receive an email. Many of them will endorse you right back and you’ll build your top skills. Every time you go to anyone’s profile, make a habit of endorsing them for their top skills and you’ll soon hit 99+!
7. Your Experience Section
The experience section is the last major section you should spend time on. This is your chance to show off your company and brand.
- What’s it like to work with you?
- What is your team like?
- Have you won any awards? Has anyone recommended you?
- How long have you been doing this?
Having multimedia, photos, slideshows, and videos strengthen this section. If you did put a call to action in the “Background” section, it’s great to include it here as well.
You should create a company page for your business. It only takes a few minutes but allows you to upload a photo which will show on your profile similar to the above.
Try to accumulate as many recommendations as possible. Start with your existing clients and colleagues. Make a habit to slowly reach out to 1 or 2 people per month to slowly build the social proof that this is a special firm, and you’re an incredible person to work with.
NOTE: Depending on your skill sets, this may not be possible. For instance, some brokers and other financial advisors aren’t allowed to keep their recommendations.
Your LinkedIn profile should be one of the main advertisements for your firm. Ask yourself:
- Is there a clear and defined group who my LinkedIn profile speaks to?
- Would I schedule a consultation if I were my target client?
- Does my LinkedIn accurately represent my essence and what it’s like to work with me?
- Do I have a “call to action” for people to meet with me?
If you’re not sure how to answer some of these questions, or the answer is no… Pull up your computer, and start remaking your profile. Now is the perfect time to start growing your business. Take the next 90 minutes, head over to LinkedIn and start implementing these tactics, ASAP. No excuses. Just go for it!