LinkedIn ranks first among social media platforms for financial advisors, according to a recent report from the Investment Adviser Association. From 2017 to 2021, the segment of advisors using the platform for business purposes jumped to 52.2%, from 33%, the IAA found.

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram may be better known and certainly have gained a greater share of pop culture, but they trail LinkedIn when it comes to advisor use. So what makes LinkedIn effective for advisors? And what content resonates most with clients?

LinkedIn is all about having a digital brand, according to Alli Warner, chief marketing officer for Beacon Pointe Advisors, a Newport Beach, California-based firm with more than $25 billion under management.

That brand must have a through line between the local and national levels, Warner said, and it involves everything from consistent biographies and headshots to ensuring cohesiveness within an individual’s platform as well as with the team’s platform.

Having a LinkedIn photo may sound simple enough, but in June, FA-IQ reported a Hearsay Systems finding that less than 45% of LinkedIn profiles have a background photo.

“So first and foremost is we're making sure that their profile is telling the right story, almost like a digital business card,” Warner says.

Daryl Dagit, a financial advisor at Savant Wealth Management, a Rockford, Illinois-based firm with $12.4 billion under management, echoes Warner in calling LinkedIn “an electronic business card.”

But LinkedIn can be so much more than a business card for advisors. The key is to make sure social media content is focused and reaches the appropriate audience.

Sean Smith, marketing director for Source Financial Advisors, a New York-based firm with $457 million under management, says the object is to get the best information in front of the intended audience.

The key is “leveraging the technology and targeting as best you can, having a super crisp and succinct message because … investors or consumers, what have you, are getting hit thousands and thousands of times a day with messages,” Smith said. And that goes beyond simple written posts.

Rose Niang, a director of financial planning at Edelman Financial Engines, a Santa Clara, California-based firm with $241 billion under management, uses LinkedIn to share educational articles, research and snippets of her podcast, Everyday Wealth.

And though LinkedIn probably isn’t the first social media platform that comes to mind for distributing video content, some advisors have found it an excellent vehicle for doing so.

Rich Policastro, president of Westfield, New Jersey-based Round Table Wealth Management, says his firm produces one video a week. He chooses a topic based on what he and his team hear from clients, shares the video with clients via email and then posts the video on LinkedIn.

Warner says that her firm has received positive feedback on videos, citing an example of grandparents forwarding the content to grandchildren entering their college years.

And though Warner recounted other stories of immediate client feedback, she stressed that LinkedIn has long-term prospecting value. She calls LinkedIn “a lead influence rather than a lead source,” saying that individuals may see a Beacon article, then find it relevant to their situation later and ultimately visit the firm's website and reach out.

It’s also useful to remember that LinkedIn is a two-way medium: Clients and potential clients can get to know advisors, but advisors can also learn important information about clients and gain opportunities to pitch their services.

"Clients look you up before they come into the office and you look them up as well, before they come into the office. It gives you a little bit of an insight into them,” Niang said.

Dagit says he uses the platform to monitor client life events — such as retirement, career changes or birthdays — to identify opportunities to pitch his services.

“I can then reach out to them and congratulate them and ask them … some kind of subtle questions on, are they prepared for retirement and such for planning," Dagit said. “I've secured several clients by doing that.”

James Lange, founder of Pittsburgh-based Lange Financial Group, also believes in proactive outreach and adds that advisors can benefit by putting “personality in your copy.” Lange said that his two most popular posts were a memorial to a deceased parent and a post in which he advocated family vacations and other personal activities as the best way to spend money.

The common thread found among advisors who use LinkedIn is the importance of constant communication. Policastro says a continuing social media dialogue is essential. “It can’t hurt to overcommunicate.”