Is LinkedIn the Missing Link in Your Growth Strategy?

Mar 15, 2012

A few months back, I wrote a post called “Holiday party small talk; don’t say you are a financial advisor.”  The post generated quite a lot of comments, both positive and negative, but only a few are on the blog post itself. In fact, if you look at the bottom of most of the posts on this blog, there aren’t a lot of comments at all.

You might think that these posts go out to cyberspace and you’re one of Financial Advisors and Connecting through LinkedInthe only readers. But you’d be wrong. Over the last year of blogging, there have been many things I have learned, but one of the most important is that you don’t just blog it and they will come (and comment). You have to go where your audience already is and where they feel comfortable engaging. In my case, I’ve found that LinkedIn is actually is one of the more powerful tools available to get a message out (and grow). It’s free and many of your peers are not taking full advantage of it. You can make it work in your favor, if you’re willing to invest a little time.

Are you active or passive?

No, I’m not talking about the age-old active vs. passive investment discussion. Many of you, if not most of you, have created a LinkedIn profile. You filled in some work history, maybe added your college or even high school. (I didn’t add Earlville High School in Earlville, IL to mine, as I didn’t have a stellar academic record and they would probably not want to acknowledge my existence). You may have even added your job description and specialties to the profile.

Unfortunately, this is where most of you stopped. You sat and waited to see if anything happened (besides the random connection request from your daughter’s ex-boyfriend’s brother). Based on that experience, you wrote the site off. But then you heard about a successful advisor using LinkedIn as a tool to grow his/her business. And it is just that – a tool. A hammer is no good unless someone picks it up, and tools like social media are no good unless you become more active.

The power of groups

Any group that has me as a member… ok, is a good group. (Apologies to Groucho Marx.)

When we started our blog, we made a conscious effort to make sure we got as many readers as possible. As you can see on the column to the right of each post, there is a very visible box where you can subscribe. If you haven’t subscribed yet, go ahead and subscribe now, I’ll wait. (Make sure you click the link in the confirmation email.)

I also make sure it is posted on the relevant groups I belong to in LinkedIn. The groups give me immediate access to triple or even quadruple the amount of advisors we currently work with. They allow us to get a (hopefully) differentiated message across a crowded marketplace and help us learn what the market is looking for and how to respond. I have also met and networked with quite a few new advisors and people in our business as a result.

Here are a few ways to use LinkedIn proactively, spending just 15 minutes a day.

1. Put your best foot forward. Big results from small efforts. How does your profile stack up against others? Do you paint an accurate picture of who you are and what you do? Based on your profile, would you hire you?

2. Know your (potential) audience. Look at your best clients and your ideal clients.

• What groups have they joined and what groups do they have in common? (If you see an appropriate group, join it.)

• What are they saying and how are they saying it? (It will be important in conversations to use similar words.)

3. Make it a two-way street. Push out content on a regular basis if you have it, but also make sure you proactively look at other posts and make comments and recommendations. Try out the LinkedIn Answers section – when people vote on your answers as being the best, you can become a featured expert on the site.

4. Time your comments and posts. Yes, this is a bit of “strategery” I’ve figured out through trial and error. Typical LinkedIn groups publish a daily email with activity from the previous day’s activities. Avoid posting comments on Friday, Saturday or Monday. Fewer people read the post on the weekend and your comments may get lost in the Tuesday email, which typically has the most discussions. Sunday is a great day as the emails show up on Monday morning and you usually have little competition.

Make social media part of your day. Everyday. Just 15 minutes will really help you clarify your message, further the knowledge of your niche and introduce you to more prospects.

So, what do you think? Got 15 minutes a day to commit to growing your business? Any other tips you can pass on? Want to connect with me on LinkedIn?

Image credit: Trevor Leyenhorst

John Anderson

John Anderson

John Anderson is the creator and lead author of Practically Speaking blog and Managing Director of Practice Management Solutions for the SEI Advisor Network.

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