According a study conducted by Accenture in 2013, almost half of financial advisors in the US were using social media daily for interacting with investors and potential customers. Social media undoubtedly plays an important role in today's marketing strategy, but that doesn't necessarily mean you should be heading straight to Facebook or Twitter to find new customers and contacts.
LinkedIn is the world's favorite social network just for professionals. This translates into fewer time-wasters, mindless clickers and likers, and more good qualified leads, such as potential business partners and viable prospective customers. LinkedIn is the go-to network for those in business-to-business industries or those for whom professionalism and trust are especially meaningful, as is the case in financial industries.
Setting Up Your LinkedIn Profile
Despite being a professional network, LinkedIn is still about making worthwhile personal connections. It's not a place for faceless brands looking for exposure. As such, having a company page is not usually particularly effective unless you want to make use of the platform's paid advertising system. Thus, your focus should be on building an excellent reputation, and that's where having a great profile comes in.
Social media marketing of any kind is more about personal branding than anything else. LinkedIn is no exception. And you will need an impeccable profile to open its various avenues of opportunity. First and foremost is your profile image and headline, since people will see them immediately when they view your profile for the first time.
A professional headshot prompts the possibility of a personal connection, instilling a sense of trust and engagement when people see you listed in LinkedIn search results. It will also help to improve the chances of your being recognized at meetings and events. At the same time, your headline should explain what you do in just a few words, preferably including an important key phrase that people are likely to search for.
When setting up your profile, you'll also want to claim your vanity URL, which can either be your name or, better still, the name of your practice. Finally, you'll want to complete all the other applicable fields detailing your experience, education and a link to your firm's website, as well as links to any other pertinent online properties you might have.
Building Up Your Network
Now that you've set up your profile, you'll want to start building up your network. After all, without connections, your profile will rarely get seen and your network will never have a chance to grow. The first thing to do is add first-degree connections. These are the people you already know, such as colleagues, business partners, friends and family members.
Success relies a lot on who you know, and this is doubly true in the case of financial industries where trust and confidence need to be earned and built over time. By reaching out to the right people, such as leading influencers and thought leaders in your industry, you'll be in a much better position to boost your credibility. You can also view recommended connections simply by clicking on the My Network button.
Building up your LinkedIn profile is not about simply adding as many connections as possible, as tends to be the case with the other mainstream social networks. Instead, you'll need to work conscientiously to tap into your network of first-degree connections to connect with other more influential people. However, an even more effective way to expand your network is to use LinkedIn Groups.
If investors are looking to entrust someone with valuable assets, then they're going to want to be sure they know who they're dealing with. By joining groups on LinkedIn, you'll be able to become part of a community of like-minded individuals and build a reputation as a thought contributor and leader in the financial planning and investment sector. Once you've joined a group, you'll be able to share relevant news and status updates with other members.
Another way to reach out to valuable connections is to establish thought leadership through content. Content marketing and social media are inherently intertwined, particularly in the case of LinkedIn, where users can publish long-form articles that are searchable both on- and off-site. Additionally, you can curate and share content from other influencers using the new LinkedIn Pulse platform.
LinkedIn has become so important in the business world that not having a profile on the network is counterproductive to your interests, even if it performs simply as a professional directory listing. However, that doesn't mean it's as simple as setting up a profile and waiting for results. You'll need to be engaged and focused on building and sharing an impeccable reputation for you and your brand, and mining contacts and connections that will produce traction for your business. Results won't come easy or overnight, but LinkedIn is the best game in town and your efforts will advance your cause.
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