Our relationship with LinkedIn lets us see the emphasis that they are putting on financial services and on serving the needs of financial professionals. Conversely, our hands-on work providing social media training for the professionals in our client firms gives us detailed information on how they are using LinkedIn to cultivate business.
It’s clear that, while other social networks deliver a lot of value, too, LinkedIn has become the place that financial advisors, insurance agents, and other financial professionals must be as they build their business online.
How LinkedIn Drives Business for Financial Professionals
Some people still think that LinkedIn is primarily an online resume site, only to be used for job-hunting. But that’s not so. LinkedIn’s own data shows that less than one-fifth of activity on the site is about finding a job.
So how are financial advisors, agents, and representatives using LinkedIn as the hub of their online business presence? In several important ways:
- Your new business card—and more. In the most basic sense, LinkedIn is replacing paper business cards. It lets people find you, contact you, and learn more about you—with much more detail and nuance than a business card or resume could ever offer.
- Your contact management system. Think back to the pre-Internet days and all the times you heard phrases like “She has an amazing Rolodex.” No offense to Rolodex, but today your professional network doesn’t live on a carousel of paper cards—it lives on LinkedIn. Even better, it stays up to date as your contacts change jobs, win awards, publish books, and so on. It’s never been easier to stay in contact with your network.
- Your new e-mail. Maybe you worked with a vendor you really liked two jobs ago—when you and he both had different e-mail addresses. But if you connected on LinkedIn, it’s a snap to go back to that vendor—to give him business, to ask for business, to make a referral for a job, and so on. For me, not a week goes without having this kind of online dialogue with someone in my network, even if we’ve been out of touch for a while.
- Your new professional forum. Face-to-face groups like the Rotary Club or the Chamber of Commerce still have their place, but in talking with financial advisors I’ve been struck by how much more efficient LinkedIn interactions are for them. You can make posts or leave comments on LinkedIn Groups, knowing that your message will reach like-minded professionals, and you can easily share your financial expertise with your contacts and their contacts. We’ve seen several advisors who have landed millions of dollars in business by making these connections on LinkedIn—and without suffering through another hotel lunch at another networking event.
- Your mobile command center. Because LinkedIn has put so much effort into its mobile apps, your professional contacts can now learn more about you—and vice versa—from anywhere, and all of the business functions explained here travel with you in your pocket or briefcase. This is a big trend, too: LinkedIn saw a 400% increase in its mobile traffic over the past year. LinkedIn’s newly-launched iPad app is sure to drive this traffic even higher.
- Your search engine. When you’re seeking out a particular type of company or professional, or you need to know which people in your network are active in a certain line of work or geographical area, LinkedIn’s search features radically simplify your task. You not only find the right people, you also immediately see how you’re connected with them. Which leads to . . .
- Your referral engine. Savvy financial advisors are cultivating warm referrals by doing their homework on LinkedIn. One advisor described for me the success he has had in using the LinkedIn contact lists of his current clients to target his likeliest prospects.
We took a deep dive into all of LinkedIn’s uses for financial professionals in the series of webinars that we recently created in partnership with LinkedIn and Ajax Social Media. If you want to get the most out of LinkedIn for your practice, be sure to watch all four of these webinars.
In the coming weeks we’ll be publishing even more about what LinkedIn is doing for financial professionals, and how those professionals are using the LinkedIn platform systematically to drive business.
Meanwhile, we’d like to hear from you: What’s your most effective way of using LinkedIn to build your business presence today?