Most advisers have a profile on LinkedIn, but Alan Hartstein asks how many are using its full potential.
There are plenty of ways LinkedIn can assist you at every stage of your customer acquisition and engagement cycle that you may not have considered.
Used well, your profile and posts will get you front-of-mind with clients and prospective clients, build your personal brand, and help establish you as a thought leader.
What your profile says about you
As the world’s leading professional network, LinkedIn has become the go-to site for financial services providers, their clients and prospective clients.
Starting with the basics, your profile needs to include obvious information such as work experience, skills and education. You also need a professional photo that clearly shows that you mean business – literally and metaphorically.
People viewing your profile and posts are, however, far more likely to notice the things that stand out, so every status update or long form post you write, as well as the content you share, needs to develop your brand in a way that is easily relatable, one update at a time.
Having a distinctive profile headline is essential. “This is the first description of you that people will see, so make it count. Good headlines are clear, confident and use terms people search for,” says LinkedIn head of Elevate sales for Asia Pacific, Darren Keppie.
Your profile needs to demonstrate your value proposition, says ANZ Wealth social media marketing leader Joseph Watkins, so limiting your career and pre-career history to the things you’re proud of achieving is a good idea, instead of going on for pages.
A good narrative should make people want to know more about you as a person and a professional. Give the reader information they can connect with, like your community activity and your interests. Profiles with personality are far more likely to attract attention so don’t be afraid to speak your mind and share your opinion on topics that matter to you.
“Your brand is not just who you are; it’s what you do, and the best identities are real, honest, and focus on what makes them unique,” Keppie says.
Build your brand
People connect with people, yet there’s no shortage of robots out there that simply auto-publish status updates and links to articles. Your profile should reflect the unique problems you can solve and these should be reflected in the articles you share.
LinkedIn’s publishing platform is one of the most effective content distribution platforms available. Writing your own content may take more time, but it’s a great way to build thought leadership. You are what you publish so it’s vital that your content reflects the authenticity of your message. Write a long form post on LinkedIn on areas that you are passionate about. If you need tips on how to write a good article for LinkedIn, check out these tips from LinkedIn’s editor Dan Roth.
If you share an article or link from a source such as ANZ’s Grow Magazine, you should explain (in the ‘share’ area) why the article is especially pertinent to your clients.
“Adding comments shows you’re engaged with the people you’re talking to. You should also like and comment on content posted by people in your network. That shows you have a keen interest in what they’re saying too,” Watkins says.
Additionally, it pays to remember that quality is always better than quantity. More frequent updates may be key to staying top of mind, but only if it’s stuff people really want to read. Too much ordinary material will just make people switch off after a while.
Employee Advocacy solutions like LinkedIn’s Elevate provide an excellent way for Enterprise employees with access to discover and share high quality curated content regularly.
Groups and discussion forums are another great way to engage with people on LinkedIn and to differentiate from the competition. “Every group post you make and question you answer is an opportunity to market yourself and to build your credibility,” Keppie says.
Also, by belonging to groups, you already have something in common with those members so you can actively message them and start a conversation. You should also use your personal LinkedIn URL when communicating with prospects and contacts – you’re easier to find and it makes you look more professional.
Boost client engagement, referrals
Financial advisers rely on referrals to win and retain clients, and LinkedIn is a potential gold mine for client prospecting. The site is designed to complement and enhance the way financial advisers grow their referral networks. It used to take years to build an effective network but LinkedIn can streamline and amplify this process over a single platform.
“By adopting modern, social-selling techniques, sales professionals can replace cold calls with warm referrals,” Keppie says. By using your existing network you can make infinitely more connections and by asking for referrals you can personally connect to vast numbers of prospects.
“LinkedIn offers great opportunities to better nurture relationships,” Watkins says. One way to do this, he says, is to personalise your communication. Instead of using the basic templates provided by LinkedIn, you can customise your communication so the people you’re talking to feel personally involved.
Tools such as LinkedIn Sales Navigator, Watkins says, “offer a sophisticated way to identify and engage with high-potential prospects.” LinkedIn Sales Navigator helps you monitor the content your prospects, peers, and clients are sharing via a dashboard, and personalise your messages based on what is concerning them.
By customising your target contact lists to those most likely to fit with your offerings, you can streamline a process in a way that would have been unthinkable in the not-too-distant past.