Three LinkedIn Tips to Grow Your Advisory Business

Oct 10, 2013

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.

Last year’s LinkedIn / FTI Consulting report confirmed that LinkedIn is the social media network of choice for financial advisors. Case in point: among those advisors who use social networks for business purposes, nine in ten advisors turn to LinkedIn:

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Source: Financial Advisors’ Use of Social Media Moves from Early Adoption to Mainstream, LinkedIn / FTI Consulting, May 2012

This report confirmed for all of us that advisors have a high adoption of LinkedIn, but I’m not convinced they are actually using LinkedIn to their business advantage.

Most advisors that I talk to have a LinkedIn profile (great start!), but many have set it and forgotten it. Sure, they might occasionally visit the site when they get a friend, colleague, client, or college buddy who asks to connect, but that certainly isn’t proactive.

If you want to be an advisor who actively uses LinkedIn to grow your practice, here are some easy tips to get started.

Tip #0

First and foremost, do not pass go until your LinkedIn profile is at 100%. By that, I mean that you need your picture, and all of your professional and educational experience, as well as full descriptions of what your practice offers. As you fill out your summary, imagine that you’re telling your perfect client all of the services that you offer. And, be sure to have your content proofed. There’s nothing worse than viewing an impressive profile, ridden with typos. After all, wouldn’t you have your website, brochure or newsletter professional written and/or proofed? Why would your LinkedIn profile, potentially seen by many, many more people, be any different?

Once that’s done, you’re ready for the next steps. I see three key areas of focus in using LinkedIn for business development: mining existing contacts, using the advanced search to find new prospects, and participating in groups.

Tip #1: Tap into your existing client goldmine

Basic, but most effective, spend 15 minutes each morning with your coffee reviewing the LinkedIn profiles of clients you’re meeting with that day. Find out if they’ve had any changes in employment, or if there is something about the individual that you didn’t know. It’s a great way to start small talk in your client review meeting: “I didn’t know that you went to the University of Pittsburgh.”

And now for business development. Unless your client has changed their privacy settings, their connections are like a digital Rolodex for you to peruse. Mine your client’s professional contacts through LinkedIn for:

  • COIs: Does your client know any attorneys, bankers, CPAs or other professionals who might be a good referral source for you?
  • Prospective clients: Do you have a niche market (doctors, engineers, teachers, etc.)? See if your client has connections in your niche.

So, promise me that you’ll stop ending your client meetings on an awkward note, asking if they are satisfied with your advice and whether or not they know anyone who might be interested in your services. Instead, determine who might be a good fit and suggest that you take the client and their connection to dinner – no shop talk, no educational seminar – just dinner.

Tip #2: Search your way to new clients

If you have a defined niche, LinkedIn’s Advanced Search function is the way for you to grow your business.

You can search by industry, job function, geographic location, and much more!

advanced-search

Tip: Uncheck your 1st degree connections. Otherwise, your results will include your existing contacts. However, you will want to leave “second degree connections” checked. Since you can’t directly message people whom you aren’t connected with on LinkedIn, you can get one of your existing contacts to introduce you. Either send them an email or ask in a client meeting for an introduction.

So, now what do you say to “Mr. Entrepreneur” from Houston, Texas? DON’T start selling your services. You’ll want to provide them with something of value. If you wrote a white paper or are holding an event on succession planning issues for small business owners, send that along. The individual will be more likely to connect with you on LinkedIn, and potentially think of you the next time they or a friend have a need in the area in which you’ve showcased your expertise.

Tip #3: Show some group love

As you know, I’m a big fan of niche marketing – and that’s because digital marketing can be like finding a needle in a haystack. Marketing through LinkedIn groups is no different.

By using groups, you can position yourself as an expert and boost your presence in LinkedIn among your target clientele. If you’re new to LI groups, I’d suggest checking out this great article from the Social Media Examiner first.

When you’re ready to jump in, the next step is to decide the most appropriate groups to join, for example:

  • Groups that represent a niche market: If you work with engineers, there are tons of engineering groups for you to join. Not only will you be able to talk the latest shop with your clients and prospects, but you can directly message other group members. Keep in mind that there are closed groups that will qualify your membership; one of the ways that they’ll do that is to check out your website and your LinkedIn profile. Be sure to have a case study section that explains exactly how you help this business vertical.
  • Local community groups: By this, I mean groups such as Chambers of Commerce. Here you can become a go-to expert in your community, advertise upcoming events, connect with prospects and new referral sources. I’m a big fan!
  • Professional groups: They’ll be helpful in positioning you as an expert. These include FPAs and your BD, etc. But this isn’t where you’re going to find your next fish. This is simply for you to ask and pose questions of other advisors, see what’s working, etc.

I almost put Alumni association groups on the list. While I think that it’s important to show your pride and get involved, I haven’t seen these groups as helpful for business development. Activity is usually centered around people announcing career moves, or organizing reunions at Homecoming games.

Now It’s Time

Are you going above and beyond just having a LinkedIn profile? How are you using LinkedIn to grow your business?

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Amy Sitnick

Amy Sitnick

Amy Sitnick is the social media contributor for Practically Speaking and also serves as a senior marketing manager for the SEI Advisor Network.

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