With the rise of social media has come the ascent of social selling.
While “social selling” may sound like just another buzzword that’s here today and gone tomorrow, it’s actually a new version of what financial professionals have been attempting since the industry first began: building personal brands. Moreso than many other industries, wealth planning, insurance and similar financial advice sectors depend on trust. More specifically, they depend on potential clients trusting you to provide them with products and services that will suit their needs.
A client is far more likely to put vital tasks such as estate planning and life insurance in your hands if they know you, like you, and most importantly, trust you.
Social media simply opens a new avenue for producers to use when working to gain client trust. Beyond Facebook and Twitter, many professionals are finding LinkedIn to be the ideal space in which to give their social selling strategies a boost.
Expanding your reach
According to DMR, a provider of marketing statistics, there are currently 332 million people using LinkedIn, with 107 million in the U.S. alone. The platform takes on two new members per second, with 40 percent of users checking in daily.
And unlike other social media platforms, which focus primarily on communication between friends and family, LinkedIn is geared toward professionals. This makes it a fitting tool for social selling, which combines organic engagement and business.
So how can you make the most of this platform?
First, it’s important to understand how potential clients use LinkedIn and respond to social selling. Two key factors to keep in mind are how LinkedIn can be used to gain insight into potential clients and how it can make you a more attractive candidate for business.
According to International Data Corporation and LinkedIn Corporate, cold outreach is ignored the vast majority of the time on LinkedIn. However, there’s really no excuse for cold outreach in a social media setting.
Unlike other forms of marketing, such as phone calls and emails, social media is all about organic engagement. Fortunately, you’re using a platform that provides you with specific insight into prospective clients’ lives: their careers, their education and much more. It’s your job to take these insights and turn them into value propositions.
For instance, by viewing a potential client’s profile, you’ll be able to gain a better idea of their age and likely income. This can provide you with invaluable insight into their needs as they relate to issues like retirement planning, business succession, long term care and more.
Just as viewing other people’s profiles is an important part of social selling on LinkedIn, it’s vital to keep in mind that your own profile will go a long way toward establishing trust with prospective clients.
LinkedIn itself provides numerous tips for boosting your social selling potential. These include:
- Creating a professional profile that will appeal to potential clients and inspire trust. This means using the right photograph, creating an engaging self-summary and utilizing other media forms, such as videos and presentations, to better showcase your experience and ability.
- Leveraging mutual acquaintances. LinkedIn reports individuals are five times more likely to engage with you if you share connections through the platform. You can even ask these connections to introduce you to potential clients. Satisfied customers will be happy to pass on praise for your services.
- Join conversations and add insightful observations to debates. This will help you showcase your own knowledge while keeping your fingers on the pulse of what potential clients are thinking about.
- Start conversations of your own. This can be accomplished by publishing your own articles regarding different industry topics that can then be shared on your profile and by other connections.
Staying on Top
It’s important to remember that social selling is not a one-and-done deal. It’s an ongoing strategy that takes time to develop and requires routine updating.
Fortunately, LinkedIn makes this easy by providing you a way to keep tabs on current and prospective clients in real time. The public activities of your connections will appear in your news feed, making it simple to stay on top of their circumstances.
LinkedIn also provides an easy way to follow up with clients, whether it’s after a face-to-face meeting or you’re just checking in. You can send direct mail to clients in LinkedIn. Not only does this help you improve your chances of a sale, it also serves the dual purpose of helping to develop a relationship with clients that can be built on over time.
LinkedIn combines both the personal and the professional. By using it to your advantage – researching potential clients, creating an attractive profile and interacting with individuals – you can draw in new business and build trust more quickly and to a larger pool of potential clients.