LinkedIn has quickly become one of the easiest ways to network. In fact, the company reports that the financial services industry takes top prize in terms of market penetration of its platform. By now, most financial services companies have figured out the appeal to networking and relationship-building with LinkedIn. It’s a great way to stay connected with hundreds (or thousands) of people on the key moments of their professional lives (work anniversaries, new position, etc.) as well as research an individual or company without leaving your desk.
However, there are several features within LinkedIn that many users aren’t aware of that can instantly enhance your “stickiness” with clients, staff and centers of influence. We previously wrote a post for Michael Kitces’ blog “Nerd’s Eye View” with a ton of social media marketing tips. Here are just a few of the key takeaways.
Spice It Up with LinkedIn Groups
LinkedIn is constantly evolving. One of the lesser-known features of the site is the LinkedIn Groups feature. This component allows a user to interact in two ways: as a participant of a group, or as the leader of a group. You can join a group and network with other like-minded professionals and share status updates and relevant news with others. Recent data has shown those who post or engage in group conversations receive four times as many profile views as those who don’t.
Search for More than Just Prospects
The search functions within LinkedIn seem to evolve in real-time. Keywords remain the name of the game, and the “Advanced Search” feature can also be a treasure trove for your networking strategy. For example, we have seen users search keywords in LinkedIn Groups that they have joined. So a search for “estate planning attorney Baltimore Maryland” can yield some pretty detailed profile results and allows a connection to occur more organically if you’re both part of the same LinkedIn Group. You can search for Alumni from the exact class year from a college or high school to expand your network as well.
Search for Fresh Content
Want access to fresh content to share with clients and centers of influence? LinkedIn has a relatively new feature dubbed “Pulse.” This feature allows you to search for content across various disciplines, so if you want to share updates on marketing trends, you can follow the marketing channel posts. Doing so gives you immediate access to current content and all kinds of discussion topics to start a conversation on your profile, in a LinkedIn Group or at your watercooler.
Extend Your Company’s Reach: LinkedIn Showcase Pages
Companies can now create “Showcase Pages” on LinkedIn to focus on a particular business area or initiative. For example, if you are a wealth manager that has a few different focuses such as a women’s practice or a retirement planning division, a Showcase Page is a great way to highlight those specialties and build relationships with the right community. The pages rely heavily on content and status updates, so it’s important to keep them fresh and updated regularly. As you can see in the image below, Microsoft has several Showcase Pages that describe their different range of products.
As you can see, LinkedIn boasts some largely-untapped features that can be a great asset to financial services firms large or small. Individual profiles are now also able to feature video thumbnails, making content even “stickier.” Our advice is to pick an aspect of LinkedIn and run with it, and dedicate the time and resources to benchmark for success. The net result should be streamlined communications, easier access to networking and hopefully the opening of a few doors along the way.