The following is a guest blog post by Amy Sitnick, Senior Marketing Manager for the SEI Advisor Network and self-described social media addict. Connect with her on LinkedIn or follow her on Twitter. Also – be sure to check out the SEI Advisor Network Facebook page!
It’s the beginning of the year and all over the web, you’ll see top 10 lists of this year’s hottest social media trends. Dig deeper and you’ll hear that 2014 will be the year that Google+ takes over, mobile apps will be everywhere, image-based sites such as Pinterest will continue to gain steam, and micro-videos a la Vine and Instagram will be tops. Heck, there’s even talk that people should be taking more selfies.
But that’s the general social media world. On Practically Speaking, I’d like to make my own recommendations, starting with the financial advisor’s social media platform of choice: LinkedIn.
If you’re not doing these five things on LinkedIn, you’re not leveraging this network the way you could be – and you may be missing a lot of opportunities:
1. Hiring: If you’re in the fortunate position that you’re looking to expand your firm’s staffing in 2014, LinkedIn is a good place to start. You can post status updates letting people know that your firm is hiring, share your company’s job posting within relevant groups (locally-based or professionally-related), or even post the position (there is a cost associated with that). LinkedIn will then target ads towards qualified candidates. In addition, you can use the “Advanced Search” feature to look for people with work experience at certain companies, or with specific skills, such as “financial planning.” And that’s not all. Here’s a comprehensive list of other ways that you can use LinkedIn to hire your next employee.
2. Managing Business Cards: If you don’t have the CardMunch app yet, download it now. Every time you collect a business card at a networking event, such as at the Chamber of Commerce, the golf course, or your kid’s school, you don’t have to manually enter all of that information into your CRM or Outlook (or worse yet, let it sit and collect dust on your desk). Just take a quick picture of the business card with your smartphone and the contact information will go right to your LinkedIn contacts for you to stay in touch. That means if you have one of those clunky business card scanners, you can kiss it goodbye. But wait – what if you like to keep your business cards so you can write little notes on them? Never fear. It’s time for my next tip.
3. Using LinkedIn Contacts: Last year, LinkedIn added a beneficial new feature that allows you to add notes and set reminders to contact connections right within their LinkedIn profile. There’s a new tab for notes and reminders, and it even keeps track of your InMail conversations. It’s perfect solution for those scenarios where you’ve met someone and have their business card, but they’re not quite ready to make their way to your customer database / CRM. You can learn more about this feature in this article.
4. Taking Advantage of LinkedIn Email Notifications: Been noticing that LinkedIn has been sending you lots of email lately? It’s telling you to log in and interact with your network! Each day, visit the site and congratulate your connections on their work anniversaries, comment on articles that they’ve shared, or answer their questions. After all, Facebook is where people go to catch up with family and friends; LinkedIn is where people share professional development updates. Who better to respond than you?
5. Cultivating Referrals: Looking for qualified referrals? Look no further than your top clients. If you’re targeting executives, business owners, and centers of influence such as attorneys, CPAs and bankers, look no further than your 2nd degree connections in LinkedIn. Prior to each client meeting, do a quick scan of your client’s profile (first – to see if anything about them has changed), and then of their connections. Who are they connected to that might be a good referral source for your practice, or who might be a potential wealth management client? Build this review into your process. You might even be able to delegate this research step to your another staff member. As for the delicate task of asking for the introduction, I’d suggest sending a LinkedIn message or a tasteful email ahead of time, asking about the individual in question to find out how your connection knows the person. In your upcoming review meeting, suggest that you, your client, and the person to whom you’d like to be introduced go to lunch, or a sporting event – something completely non-work-related. Begin with fostering the personal relationship with the prospect and let your client be your advocate for your services.
An easy place to start
This is the year to get real about social media. After all, most broker dealers at this point permit some level of social media usage (and LinkedIn is usually a pretty “safe” place to start, relatively speaking), and you most likely already have a LinkedIn profile – now it’s time to use that account to help solve some of your business needs.
After all, it’s really just a new way to do what you’ve always done: networking, networking, networking.
So, what do you think? Are you already using LinkedIn this way? How else are you using it?
Note: As always, if you are affiliated with a Broker Dealer, please check with your firm’s compliance department before initiating a social media program for professional use.