LinkedIn is known as the ‘professional network’ because this is where professionals and businesses-alike join and engage in a conversation. With 38% of users making more than $75,000- LinkedIn is the perfect platform for working successful adults.
Why LinkedIn is So Important for Prospecting?
When LinkedIn launched 13 years ago, it was focused on helping job seekers to find a job. That’s why everyone who was joining LinkedIn was trained to set up their profile like a resume. Today, LinkedIn became an effective lead generation tool for professionals who are looking to establish their brand and offer their products and services online.
Although LinkedIn is a social network such as Facebook and Twitter, the difference between them is that LinkedIn targets professional relationships. Hence, people do tend to use it for a single purpose which is to help them to make money in one way or another.
LinkedIn is truly valuable because it is a powerful tool which allows you as Financial Advisor to see who is in your network connected to the people you are trying to get in front of. Moreover, you can run very targeted searches on people who work for specific companies, industries, or who went to the same schools as you did. So, virtually, if you have a decent size network (200-500 connections) you can find a mutual or second-degree connection to any prospect you are targeting. Possibilities to find your ideal prospects are virtually endless.
Why Should You Use LinkedIn in Your Financial Advisor Marketing Plan?
1. You will save a lot of time & effort. As soon as you find a lead, you can search for him or her on LinkedIn and based on his recent job experience you will be able to pre-qualify him or her immediately. It will save you a lot of time which is usually wasted on prospects who are not qualified.
2. Common ground. LinkedIn allows you to see any mutual connections you have, as well as interests & experiences which you have in common with your potential client. It can make a prospect more willing to talk to you because he or she will be able to relate to you better knowing that you have commonalities with him or her.
3. People will look up to you. On LinkedIn, it is very easy to position yourself as an expert because people are trained to view everything people post on LinkedIn through business-oriented focus. So when they look at your experience and at the content you share, in their mind, you become an expert almost instantaneously.
4. LinkedIn members are more affluent than general Social Media Marketing users. Consider some relevant statistics about LinkedIn users.
27% of Ultra High Net worth individuals use LinkedIn on a daily basis
60% of LinkedIn users earn more than $50,000 per year
Hence, your prospective clients are out there; you just have to search for them. This is why it is very important to use LinkedIn for your leads’ generation.
LinkedIn for Financial Advisors: Discipline & Important Rules
No-one likes the word ‘Discipline’, but if you want to be successful with your Social Media Marketing Strategy, you have to learn few important rules:
1. ROI. Unfortunately, it is very hard to calculate Return on the Investment for the time you spend on social media marketing. For example, 100 posts on LinkedIn/Twitter/Facebook does not give you a guarantee that your revenue will increase by X amount of dollars. But at the same time, this applies to any other lead generation activities you do such as cold calling, hosting an event and so on. However, based on the research, Financial Advisors who are actively involved in social media marketing, especially on LinkedIn, are more successful than the ones who are not.
2. Time. On average you should not spend more than 30 minutes per day on social media marketing which includes posting, following, messaging, reading someone else’s posts and so on. It already adds up to 6 hours per work week. Also, it’s probably wise to do it in intervals. For example, the first one is used once you get into the office and the next one after lunch time. Also, a quick note: you should try to share a post/update once a day because most people will review their LinkedIn feed on average few times per week, so they will only be able to see one post per week from you.
3. Make a Schedule. For example, the timing for LinkedIn posts should be during the day because most companies allow their employees to access LinkedIn and this is when all the interaction happen. I would also suggest posting first thing in the morning because people tend to check LinkedIn once they come in for a cup of coffee. For a Financial Advisor, LinkedIn can be one of your best assets. Alternative time can also be around lunch break. But try not to post after 5 pm because most people prefer interactions over Facebook after they leave work. For all other platforms, you can post after the workday is over because people tend to check it after they leave work.
How should a Financial Advisor network effectively on LinkedIn?
Look at the networking on LinkedIn this way: when you go to a live networking event, do you just only talk to people that you know or do you try to meet people you don’t know? I am positive that your intention is to do both. On LinkedIn, you should do the same.
Also, business will always be about people doing business with people, not companies doing business with each other. So, you need to work on connecting with individuals who can help you with your business.
One of the best features LinkedIn provides you with, as a Financial Advisor, is that it gives you an opportunity to be in charge of your referral process. As we all know, signing up a client from the referral is much easier and less time consuming than from the cold lead. Hence, you should strive and create a business model in which all of your business comes from referrals. And, when you build a proper network, you will be able to refer yourself to prospects instead of waiting for someone else to refer them to you.
You need to open up your network beyond people that you know, otherwise, you will miss out on a lot of sales opportunities with people that you don’t know but who can be interested in working with you. LinkedIn can help you with your networking efforts by making your profile searchable to people who are looking for a financial advisor. But if you do not open up your network, you will not show up in their search results.
I believe that you should build your network with people who are willing and able to help you. Most of the time, those people are your current clients or Centers of Influence.
You should check your alumni contacts or people you used to do business with because those people can be an excellent source of referrals to you now. Remember, you need to add as many people as possible who you know and who are willing to help you. At some point, they can help you with an introduction to someone important even though at first you didn’t think that person could ever add value to you.
Three Types of Networkers on LinkedIn
1. Closed networkers: Those are the kinds of people who only connect with someone who they know, have met and consider an acquaintance, colleague, or friend. They do not add people who they have not met and talked with personally.
If you only have few LinkedIn connections, it raises the questions of your legitimacy and your trustworthiness. So it is better for you to delete your LinkedIn profile altogether, otherwise, it will work against you. You can’t just have an empty store without employees, and you should not have a half-filled profile with no connections.
2. Open networkers: Those are the types of people who add anyone and everyone regardless whether they know that person at all. Open networkers do not usually have an intention to establish a professional relationship with people they add.
3. Creative Networkers: I believe that the best approach is to find a golden middle. You do not want to limit your connections to only people you know, but also there is no reason to connect with people who cannot add any value to you.
Whenever you come across someone you would like to add to your network you should ask yourself a question: “Can this connection be beneficial to me?” Only if the answer is “yes,” you should add this person.
Creative Networker Advantages:
• A higher number of connections can potentially increase business opportunities for you.
• The higher the number of first-degree connections you have, the higher the number of second-degree connections you will have.
• Your profile will be easier to discover by your second-degree and third-degree connections.
Note: Given that wealth management field tend to be competitive, I recommend you not to connect with other Financial Advisors because they may figure out the way to steal your clients or your marketing strategy.
Networking on LinkedIn for Financial Advisors – The Right Way
To use LinkedIn most effectively, you have to define your networking goals. To help you with networking, there are several questions you should ask yourself:
• Are you trying to get new clients?
• Would you like to connect with Centers of Influence?
• Are you trying to become an authority figure or an expert in your chosen niche market?
You need to be very clear on defining who is your ideal client; otherwise, you won’t be able to narrow down your searches to make them as useful as possible. Also, when Centers of Influence ask you to identify your ideal customers, you need to make sure that you can describe your ideal connections to them so they can introduce you those kinds of people.
You should take a full advantage of the LinkedIn “notifications.” It will alert you regarding events and things that are happening in your network. It includes notifications on things such as anniversaries, new positions, and other relevant updates. Also, you can ‘like’ or ‘comment’ on that particular notification as well. Notifications will help you to follow up with people who you didn’t talk for some time.
Be sure to connect with people, who are using LinkedIn and actually spending time on it, otherwise, you will be wasting your time trying to talk to someone who doesn’t even check his messages. There are few ways to determine if your client or prospect is active on LinkedIn.
• Check your prospect’s profile picture. If your lead doesn’t have it- then it means he or she doesn’t want to be found by others or they do not want to engage with people through LinkedIn.
• Check if your prospects have filled out most sections in his or her profile such as education, experience, and summary.
• Check your prospect’s connections. If they have less than 50, it means they only want to connect with people they know and your invitation will go to waste.
Note: Even if you do not have many connections requests right now, within a short period of time it is possible to grow a very substantial network. Also, most likely you didn’t connect yet with everyone you know because you probably somehow forgot to link to them. But the LinkedIn feature “people you may know” will help you find those with whom you have not connected with but know.
Lastly, I would like to note that it is very easy to get distracted when using social media, and instead of 30 minutes you may browse and read posts for more than an hour at a time. The reason I want to make sure that you do not go over the limit of time you spend on social media is that it is easy to lose track while you are on it. You may click on one post, then start scrolling through another one and then you will lose your valuable time which you can use talking to clients or prospects. Social media marketing can be an important part of your overall financial advisor marketing plan, but it should never interfere with your other essential business functions.
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