You have a LinkedIn account (if not, read ‘How To’). You made a handful of “Connections”, joined a few discussion groups, and log in when an email alerts you about a ‘request to connect’. That’s it? Lame. Sure, you have an account, but you’re not really using LinkedIn. The truth of the matter is, if you’re not proactively using LinkedIn to grow your network AND grow your business, you’re missing out on a golden opportunity. Big time.
Simple, Social, Scalable (and free.)
LinkedIn offers a number of features that are really helpful for advisors. The platform gives you opportunity to nurture relationships, increase your visibility within the financial industry, establish yourself as having deep expertise, attract new prospects, and more. Best of all, the site’s not difficult to use and doesn’t cost you any money. You simply need to log in and use it.
Naturally, the next questions we hear are (a) how much time should I spend on LinkedIn, and (b) what should I do with that time? First, understand that the opportunity is what you make it, so dedicate however much or little time you want. We know advisors that spend a significant amount of time on LinkedIn every morning (including weekends!). That said, we suggest you start with a more approachable commitment: Log into your LinkedIn profile at least 3 times per week, for at least 10 focused minutes.
3 Quick & Valuable Ways to Use LinkedIn
Here are 3 things you should routinely do on LinkedIn. The best part is each “to do” requires no more than 10 minutes from your day. Think about it, 30 minutes per week is very little effort for such a huge potential reward.
1.) Grow Your Network
…by making a New Connection.
LinkedIn is a great place to maintain the connections you make offline, as well as create new relationships through the networks of others. Here are a few examples for how to make a New Connection:
- Think back to specific people (or companies) you met at past events, tradeshows, networking functions, etc. Use the search tool to find and connect with them. *It’s best to remind them of your original meeting in this invitation.
- Review your “2nd Connections” and find someone specific you’d like to meet. Ask the mutual connection to make an introduction, or send a direct message to the 2nd Connection that refers to your mutual contact.
- Ask a client to introduce and refer you to a family member or friend via LinkedIn. Personal introductions are one of the highest impact activities advisors can do on LinkedIn, particularly when you’re able to connect with references who are in need of your unique expertise.
2.) Be a Valuable Resource
…by sharing useful content.
This is an important one that’s often overlooked. LinkedIn is a great place to establish yourself as a knowledgeable advisor with a specific expertise. Share content that further establishes you as “the expert for solving problem X”. (Learn how to develop your unique expertise and use it to attract clients.)
You can share original content from your blog, or simply post content from another source adding your own commentary. The content you share on LinkedIn is not only helpful in and of itself, sharing content also keeps you in front of your connections (via their LinkedIn email summaries and newsfeed), reminding them that you’re a valuable source of useful information.
3.) Nurture Your Relationships
…by sending one-to-one communications.
It’s not enough to simply connect with people on LinkedIn and share content broadly, you must make an effort to keep in touch and nurture individual relationships.
Take a moment to choose one connection you should reach out to. There are many ways to interact with individuals on LinkedIn. You can shoot them a quick message, comment on an article they’ve shared, or comment on a change to their profile. The trick is to make your commentary valuable to the individual connection, i.e. sharing a follow-up article to the one they posted, or offering additional insight to the topic at hand.
+ Heads up!
Your increased activity on LinkedIn is sure to instigate new connection requests and direct messages. It’s important to manage your inbound requests in a timely fashion, so be sure to set up appropriate email alerts or log in to review your inbox regularly. Treat your LinkedIn Inbox the same way you would your business email, by responding to messages promptly and professionally.
In the comments, let’s discuss:
- Do you have a 4th task that takes <10 minutes?
- What activity on LinkedIn has proven to be most valuable to growing your business?
- Are there LinkedIn features you don’t quite understand? Happy to help.
Photo credit: pratanti, Flickr