Being successful on LinkedIn is a lot like staying fit. To keep in shape, you have to put diet and exercise as a priority on a consistent basis. LinkedIn works best if you put a few minutes towards your efforts on a regular basis, not all at once. I recommend spending your first cup of coffee at the office on LinkedIn. Here’s what to do:
1. Connect with everyone you meet.
The first step of strengthening your online networking muscles is to always work toward expanding your network. Be sure to connect with all clients, not just your top clients, as well as everyone you meet while networking or socializing. The larger your network, the more opportunities you have to find qualified prospects. My rule of thumb for who to connect with is anyone who you have met in person, worked with virtually, or would feel comfortable introducing to someone else in your network.
2. Reach out to referral partners.
Spend some time each week to reach out to CPAs, estate planning attorneys, lawyers, real estate agents, and other potential referral partners. Send a quick message introducing yourself and explaining who you work with and how you can help. Ask about their unique specialty to understand what they do best.
3. Seek out centers of influence.
Centers of influence, or COIs, are the movers and shakers in your locality. The mayor, the top business leaders, the lady who works at the coffee cart and has her finger on the pulse of your town. Make sure these folks know exactly what you do so they can introduce you to others and share your information. One trick to helping them understand your firm is to invite them in for a “mock client meeting” so they get an introduction to your philosophy, your process, and your team.
4. Share valuable content.
Content is at the core of our LinkedIn strategy, and we’ll dig deep into that topic in the next chapter. But each day, you’ll want to spend a minute or two sharing content that your network will find valuable.
5. Respond to all messages.
The etiquette for responding to Facebook messages is about 24 hours, 48 hours for LinkedIn, and only two hours for Twitter messages. For this reason, I caution advisors from pursuing a Twitter-centric strategy unless they can commit to quick responses every day. To keep up-to-date and have good LinkedIn manners, be sure to check and respond to your messages on at least Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
6. Engage with others.
Similar to offering praise, engaging with others is a nice way to show that you are interested in what they’re doing. Read their articles, “like” their posts, and comment on their discussions. This also helps you understand what your clients and prospects are reading, sharing, and consuming online, which is helpful when we create your custom content strategy in the next chapter.
7. Discuss within groups.
LinkedIn groups are powerful because they allow you to interact with people you don’t know. Spend some time perusing the discussions within your groups, sharing content, and offering your two cents. I recently landed a big speaking engagement after an industry leader read a blog post I shared within one of our mutual groups. Don’t limit your groups to business, and keep it fun by discussion your passions in groups of like-minded enthusiasts. One of my clients spends this time chatting in LinkedIn classic car groups.
8. Follow key influencers.
One of my advisors likes to say, “I’ve never had a new idea in my life, so if you steal from me, you’re stealing twice.” Following key influencers is an excellent opportunity to learn what top networkers are doing and copy what works. You can follow people without being connected to them by clicking the “Follow” button on the dropdown menu next to “Connect.” You can also get exposure by liking and commenting on key influencers’ content, because other folks in their network will see your activity.
9. Browse the news.
Your LinkedIn newsfeed is a great place to read articles, see what people are sharing, and watch videos. It’s not designed for breaking news, but there is a treasure trove of specific, insightful content that experts in your network publish directly to LinkedIn.
10. Make introductions!
You can actually introduce two people in your network directly through LinkedIn by going to one contact’s profile and clicking on the drop down next to “Message” and selecting “Share.” This automatically sends a message offering to introduce the recipient to contact you shared. This is great for helping someone in your network with a job search or introducing two business colleagues. The downside is that both folks have to be relatively proficient with LinkedIn, so I only use the feature when I’m sure they are pretty active on the site.
Take the LinkedIn marketing challenge and commit to spending 10 minutes each weekday on LinkedIn for six months! The advisors I work with report increased connections, referrals, and new clients as a result.
This article is an excerpt from my book, The LinkedIn Guide For Financial Advisors! For even more access to my exclusive LinkedIn expertise buy the LinkedIn Course! Stay in touch by signing up for my marketing newsletter and connecting with me on LinkedIn.