We’ve all got “that friend” who’s always the first to buy into new technology, right? My friend, Jane, purchased an iPhone in 2007, shortly after it came out. Every time we’d get together, she’d tell me how cool it was or how easy it was to use (she even demoed an early app – a light stick that changed colors as you moved the phone).
This routine of ours continued until a trip to the New Jersey shore in 2009. The iPhone had come along way by then. I remember that we used it for everything: to navigate small town roads; to find restaurants that fit our moods; to take photos of ourselves sunning on the beach; and … wait for it, to post those beach pictures directly to Facebook! I was sold right then and there! I purchased an iPhone the next week and haven’t regretted it. My only regret was not listening to Jane sooner!
Some of you may have wished you’d listened to all the hype about social media sooner after reading this article about an advisor generating a significant amount of business using nothing more than LinkedIn – and spending less than 20 minutes a week doing it!
LinkedIn can help you generate new business
It’s true, LinkedIn is helping advisors and small business owners around the country generate new business. One advisor we work with in south Florida is living proof. This advisor captured sizeable (and I mean, sizeable) assets in 2013 and hopes to triple that amount this year. What’s more, he only spends 10-20 minutes a week on LinkedIn. His secret … he’s leveraging some specific LinkedIn tools and capabilities.
He started using LinkedIn in 2005, shortly after the launch, with the goal of connecting with people.
In this advisor’s words: “I’ve been a LinkedIn user since it rolled out. I was self-employed at the time and thought it would be a great way to communicate with people. I started using it for work in 2010. When I’d see one of my connection’s changed jobs, for example, I’d call them about rolling over their 401(k).”
For many advisors, LinkedIn makes sense because:
- 95 percent of you are already using LinkedIn, so you’re comfortable with it and/or your broker-dealer allows you to use it;
- It’s free, unless you’re using the Premium version; and
- It’s a convenient tool for networking and staying in front of your contacts.
How to leverage LinkedIn to gain new business
Let’s face it, many advisors and small businesses use only a portion of LinkedIn’s functionality – mainly as an online profile. That’s unfortunate as LinkedIn offers a ton of potential, especially related to:
- Staying in front of your contacts (i.e. clients/prospects) easily, non-intrusively and cost-effectively! This south Florida advisor is doing this by sharing content regularly and says, “I post relevant content through LinkedIn six days a week. Every Friday, I look for articles that I feel would be of interest to my clients, and then schedule those articles to post the following week. I only share educational articles about finance topics, nothing else.”
- Connecting with people and being notified about their LIFE EVENTS! This advisor gets a business card from everyone he meets, then “Connects” with them on LinkedIn. He says, “I set up email alerts on LinkedIn so I can see my connections’ updates, such as job changes and promotions. It’s an easy and hassle-free way to get information about the ‘life events’ of my connections. And it gives me a reason to reach out to them.”
Why does content sharing on LinkedIn work?
Generally speaking, LinkedIn is a network of your friends, peers, clients or prospects. These people have connected with you because they know who you are and what you do. Viewing content – on their terms (i.e. reading it on their iPad before going to bed) about financial services is something they expect from you and, in some cases, might value. If the content peaks their interest, they may call or email you. Or, at least, have you top of mind, when they do have a need several months down the road.
This advisor said: “I try to share timely articles and bring questions to the surface. My articles generally prompt a call or a LinkedIn email from my contacts. Either way, I prefer to call the person to avoid any ‘solicitation’ concerns. Plus, I feel dialog is more powerful than email.”
Best practices for using LinkedIn
Content sharing on LinkedIn may not be applicable for all advisors, especially if your broker-dealer doesn’t allow it or doesn’t provide “pre-approved” content for you to use. Here are tips if you can use more functionality:
- Share content regularly – I recommend sharing 2-3 articles a week, no more than one a day.
- Use the search capability – This is a great way to look up clients before you meet them and find ‘things in common’ to get the conversation started.
- Use Advanced Searches for prospecting – Find investors or HR Benefits Managers in your zip code and reach out to them.
- Set up email alerts or review your contacts’ updates regularly – these life events offer you an opportunity to reach out to clients or prospects. A quick way to get this information is to click on the drop-down menu on your LinkedIn home page and select Profiles.
Finally, this advisor says, “Don’t accept or invite anyone into your network that does what you do. You’re just bringing your competitor into your store.”
Are you using LinkedIn for more than an online profile? If so, what features are you using and why? I’d love to hear your thoughts, so drop me a line in the comments or on Twitter.
For more information, check me out on Twitter, where I regularly share social media tips, advice, trends and more, including how to build your business with social. Follow me at @jonferchen.
Insurance products and plan administrative services are provided by Principal Life Insurance Company, member of the Principal Financial Group® (The Principal®), Des Moines, IA 50392.
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