Before I offer my ten linkedin tips for tax advisers let me first share 3 key observations:

  • For our purposes Linkedin is best thought of as an online business networking platform. And recognised as being quite distinct from other (so-called) ‘social media’.
  • Even if YOU don’t intend to be active on Linkedin, some simple housekeeping cannot do any harm.  You want to be sure that your Linkedin profile and headshot are up to date and enhance the prospect of you being contacted by someone looking you up online.
  • Some people tell me they are concerned about increasing the amount of spam and sales messages they will get on Linkedin – if they change anything. All I can say is that I have over 11,000 followers on Linkedin and receive barely any spam. I’m choosy about who I connect with and have opted for the security settings in Linkedin that limit the facility to send me spam. And I’ve turned off all notifications I don’t want to receive.  You can do the same.

Ten tips

  1. Update your settings – via the ‘settings and privacy’ area of the site – accessed via the drop down menu by the little photo of you at the top of the screen when you are logged in to the site. Check out each setting and revise them to reduce the spam messages you get on each of the 4 pages:  Account, Privacy, Ads and Communication. It might take 20 mins to do this in total.
  2. Review and update your profile  – Ensure it projects an appropriate personal ‘first impression’ to anyone who looks you up on line and to anyone who is recommended or referred to you and who themselves uses Linkedin a lot (as I do for example).  Think about who do you want to positively influence? What first impression do you want to give them? Prospective clients? Introducers? New partners? New staff? Suppliers? Colleagues from your international association? The list goes on and on. Here is my list of Linkedin profile tips from 2012!  Little has changed – beyond the number of people now using Linkedin!
  3. Refine your home feed – if you are seeing nonsense here, click the 3 dots at the top right of each post that you don’t want to see. This will help educate the algorithm that decides what appears in your home feed.
  4. Unfollow strangers – especially those who post stuff that is of no interest. You can do this via their profile page and also whenever you see a post you don’t like. Unfollow is one of the options available when you click the 3 dots at the top right of a post in your home feed.
  5. Educate the algorithm – like, react and comment only on posts that are of real interest.  For example, the more tax related posts you engage with the more the algorithm will show you – as it learns what you like.
  6. Comment on relevant posts – Let your expertise be revealed through your comments and avoid treating this an opportunity to overtly self-promote whenever you comments to anyone’s posts. Again, your activity will help educate the algorithm. Obviously it helps us all if you also comment on those I write which mention the Tax Advice Network.
  7. ‘Ignore’ random connection requests – I have long been choosy about how I built up my connections (now 11,000+). I have concluded it is no longer worth me spending time on personal messages to check why a random person (or accountants from Asia) want to connect with me. And my approach also means I rarely get any spam.
  8. Use the ‘search’ facility – You can look up both specific people and also your ideal clients. Then send personalised connection request messages. It’s like saying hello at a networking event.
  9. Network online as you would offline – You would never walk into a room and start out by telling everyone how great you are, before you had first introduced yourself and started to build a relationship. Linkedin works best if you adopt the same approach online.
  10. Follow the Tax Advice Network business page – and add your membership of the Network to the list of your experiences and to your list of memberships further down your profile. For example:
    Proud to be a member of this leading network of independent tax advisers. The website helps people who are looking for someone with my tax expertise to find me, contact me and engage directly with me.

Mark Lee – July 2020