Advisers: the art of making professional connections - PART 1
01 September 2016Myra Knoesen
There is no doubt that social media is an effective tool in promoting businesses and as such, marketing experts often recommend using social networks such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to reach consumers.
LinkedIn, on the other hand, is all about making professional connections. You are not going to post about relationship issues on LinkedIn. Instead, you are going to connect with potential clients, customers, mentors and referrers.
The ability to win followers
From the beginning of 2014, LinkedIn graced all its users with the ability to write and publish their own posts which creates the opportunity to express your thoughts, ideas, and information. If used in the correct manner, this platform can get you noticed as you become influential.
The benefits of using this tool to attract, retain and engage clients are immense. When you publish content using this social network your original content becomes part of your professional profile. It is displayed on the posts section, it is shared with your connections, members who are not in your network can now follow you from your post and your post is searchable both on and off of LinkedIn making your reach that much more wide.
The amplified interaction creates an even broader sense of connectivity as your new followers are bound to share your posts with their connections. This shows you the power of social media and the influence it has on bringing in followers.
Customized professional news
The posts that you publish on LinkedIn can be pulled into the Pulse section of LinkedIn's homepage. This assures that every member sees customised professional news and insights that are meaningful to them.
If you would like to optimise for the likelihood that your post will be featured in Pulse, Jenny Lee-Koksal, Founder and Enthusiastic Social Media Explorer at CollaborationCafe says you can write content that is relevant to specific channels, and write content that resonates with your connections, followers, and target audience.
The most meaningful and high-quality long-form posts will be promoted through member feedback, including views, likes, comments, and shares.
LinkedIn must do’s
Jenny Lee-Koksal, Founder and Enthusiastic Social Media Explorer at CollaborationCafe shared the five LinkedIn must-do's for financial advisers in a recent post. She emphasised that financial advisers thrive in a relationship-based world, so connecting and engaging with people is a given. “So, do not ignore your online reputation as a financial services professional, and follow the five LinkedIn must do's,” she said. Here are some tips she shared:
- Get your LinkedIn profile 100% and optimised –If you do have a LinkedIn profile set up, this will rank high in the search results, and more than likely, prospects will click on it to find out more about you. First impressions count. She mentioned that you should have a profile that is complete. Take the time to get your profile perfect and Search Engine Optimised (SEO) by ensuring the following points are covered:
- Professional image - get a businesslike photo uploaded (not one without a shirt, where you kiss your girlfriend, work in the garden or have a beer);
- Use the headline - describe yourself in the best possible light;
- Grab a custom profile URL –personalise your URL so it is easier for prospects to find you;
- Set up a summary section – get it filled with why people should connect with you, how you make a difference and what you do really well;
- Rich media - upload presentations, publications, blogs to showcase your expertise and proactiveness in ongoing education and client engagement;
- SEO keywords - use words in your summary or experience descriptions that depict what you want to be known for as they help with your SEO and search ability; and lastly
- Links - add links to your website, social channel sites and blog sites. Provide a complete picture of your online activity and reputation to everyone that connects with you.
- Get your LinkedIn company page to work – “I see so many company pages set up by advisers which is great but it ends here,” she said. Where are your updates? Where are your engaging stories? Post updates to inform, engage, educate and delight your captured audience. The more you post, the better your SEO, and the more impressions you are likely to generate to increase your following who are your potential prospects in the making. What to post on a LinkedIn company page:
- Who are you? (Who are the faces behind your team)?
- What do you do? (How do you help clients)?
- Client testimonials (Social influence);
- What events / seminars / webinars are you doing?
- Why should people engage with you? (Thought leadership articles);
- Educational information - educate your audience on the importance of financial planning;
- Legislation or economic updates - keep your clients up to date and informed;
- Promote company changes - let your audience know of any new developments, new referral partnerships, new team members etc.;
- Upload images and videos - did you know 74% of people are more likely to respond to a video explaining your services than just reading about it? And
- Quotes - motivational or inspirational quotes on leadership, goal setting, financial independence generates a lot of engagement.
- Start conversations in LinkedIn groups- “A great way to network and engage with a captured audience is to start conversations in LinkedIn groups. There are so many groups you can join, and your ideal prospects may be there already. If you like to work with professional executives in specific fields like medical or financial, then join niche groups to start networking. Answer questions members may ask or post educational or informative updates that people will find useful, relevant and thought leading. You will get likes and comments that may lead to a warm relationship,” she said
- Don't be shy, get pro-active –“Even if you may not have content of your own to post, you can still be active by sharing relevant and interesting articles or simply like something you find interesting, and maybe even make a comment. A simple share, like or a comment broadcasts this activity to your entire network, and you are less likely to be forgotten when you are competing with others to stand out,” she stated.
- Become a thought leader and inspire followers –Koksal mentioned that afantastic way to stand out and to showcase your industry knowledge, skills, expertise and thought leadership is to utilise the publishing feature within LinkedIn, and post your perspective and insights. Reasons why you want to publish thought leadership articles is to propel reach, build professional brand and awareness, gain credibility, get thought leadership credentials, build trust and confidence.