In the first two installments in our Driving Engagement series, we covered 6 ways to leverage Facebook to build relationships with your customers and then tackled Twitter by sharing our 10 tips to tweet safely and compliantly in 140 characters or less. In this installment, we’ll cover the social network with the most “professional” reputation: LinkedIn.
Financial services professionals have been gaining leads, developing customer relationships, and connecting more authentically with their audiences on LinkedIn – in fact, 62% of financial advisors report getting new clients thanks to the social network! We’re sharing eight great ways to help you drive more engagement – and win more clients – by boosting your presence on LinkedIn.
- Take advantage of those photos! Now that banner images are a part of premium profiles on LinkedIn (eventually to be rolled out to all users), you have an added opportunity to grab your audience’s attention. Consider what you want your audience to know about you, and find a way to make a photo tell that story. Do you want to highlight your personable team? Show your community involvement? Draw attention to a new branch location? Pictures are worth a thousand words, so go take advantage of the opportunity! Don’t just pick one picture and forget about it, either. Regularly switching these up will prove your social presence, remind people that you’re around, and give an opportunity to share multiple stories about your company (or yourself) with your audience. If you’re a financial advisor, or are using LinkedIn to find customers who work on a one-on-one basis with you - be sure you have a professional, friendly headshot. Don’t crop an old, slightly out-of-focus photo of yourself wearing a t-shirt and think it’s going to show your “laid back” side. People take their money seriously – and they want someone who takes himself seriously to help them with it.
- Join groups – whether they’re focused on financial services specifically, or they might be on topics that could be of interest to your ideal client, it's a great way to get in front of potential leads. Maybe it’s a first-time homebuyers group. Or a group for seniors who are nearing retirement. These groups are rife with conversations that you could jump right into to show your expertise on a particular topic. This lets customers know you’re listening, and more importantly – you know how to help. The recently redesigned LinkedIn Groups landing page makes staying on top of conversations and posting new comments even easier – so dive right in!
- Comment on articles, posts, and conversations you see in your feed. Remind people you’re around, you’re paying attention, you’re friendly, and you’re knowledgeable. If you congratulate an old friend on her recent retirement, she may just remember you work in financial services and decide to reach out and ask for your expertise.
- Don’t be afraid to toot your own horn! When you get a new job, an award, or reach a milestone at work – those are all great reasons for people to congratulate you, recognize your skills, and say something about it. Their comments and praise help make it evident that you take your job seriously, that you’re good at what you do, and that you are a qualified candidate.
- Ask questions! While you definitely want to seek out the opportunities to share your expertise, you also want to give others the chance to share their own thoughts. Asking questions could help you gain a new perspective from those in your network, and could spark a conversation you might not have otherwise had.
- Don’t hide your personality. Give people a reason to connect with you! Sometimes the difference between choosing two professionals who offer similar services and have similar experience is finding a personal connection that will make the process of working together more pleasant. If you love the football team at your alma mater, or you’re passionate about volunteering, sharing a post here and there to let your audience know what else you’re into isn’t such a bad idea. While we wouldn't recommend making your LinkedIn activity stream a constant update of what you're up to, how you spent your weekend, or what you had for breakfast - the occasional peek into your personal life will humanize you and endear you to your clients.
- SlideShare Presentations provide an opportunity to share information in a visual, easily digestible way. People may not want to read your 3,000 word blog post on the importance of solid retirement plans, but they might be inclined to click through a series of visually-stimulating slides. Highlight the most important aspects of your post, use images or graphs to illustrate the information, and give a brief intro as to what the presentation covers.
- Share newsworthy articles with your audience. As an industry professional, you want to be sure you are up-to-date on the latest trends, news, and information that might be helpful to your audience. Not only does this keep your name front-of-mind for those who see you in their newsfeed, it shows that you are staying abreast of the latest news. Plus, your clients and friends may have an opinion or question about the info, and could start a conversation about it – giving you a chance to further tout your expertise. (So be sure to actually read the articles you post!)
LinkedIn is an incredible opportunity for financial services professionals to reach their intended audience. It's more professionally spirited than Facebook, and allows for quite a bit more detail and information than Twitter. By following these tips and spending some time getting your profile prepared, you'll be reaching a whole host of new clients in no time!