Using social media for business may still feel new to financial professionals but social media certainly is not a new tool. Social media platforms have existed for more than 20 years. And while many platforms have struggled to build an audience, disappeared or been absorbed through acquisition, there are always new ones emerging to fill the gaps.
Most of us – or our family members - are on at least a couple of social media platforms: Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, to mention a few of the more mainstream ones. Having a smartphone almost requires being on some form of social media. We enjoy being connected with old friends, reading the latest news and gossip in real time, or sharing family pictures with those who are “Friends” and “Followers.” The pandemic has added fuel to this fire given our limited ability for in-person interactions. The key is finding the right social platform that speaks to you and provides the outlet for you to interact with others.
But what about connecting and interacting for business? There are millions of users who leverage social media to promote themselves, their businesses or the companies they work for, and it seems someone is always trying sell us something.
This is no different for financial professionals. How can you make new connections, find new opportunities, and grow your business in the social space? Think of the insurance industry and the legacy ways of reaching new clients – print ads, flyers, cold calls, chamber of commerce events, Little League games, email, etc. These methods were definitely effective and, to some extent, many still are. However, in our evolving digital world, there is a growing demand from consumers to meet them where they want – and increasingly they want to meet in the social space.
Check out these statistics from the 2020 LIMRA Insurance Barometer Study:
The proportion of consumers looking for an advisor is growing. Currently, one in four is looking for an advisor, a rise of 64% in three years.
Data suggests 64 million consumers are currently in the market for financial guidance. Generational segmentation reveals Generation X and millennials are the largest segments of this market.
49% of those in the market for an advisor said they would research prospective advisors on social platforms.
It’s easy to see the need is there. Finding and connecting with these consumers provides both opportunities to meet needs and also to establish lon- term relationships. It’s a win-win!
One platform that can definitely help financial professionals is LinkedIn. LinkedIn has been somewhat dubbed the “business social platform.” Although many people think of LinkedIn as a job seeking site, it is so much more than that! There are advantages that can be leveraged to help gain competitive edges for financial professionals. Here are some ways to use LinkedIn to your advantage:
Build brand and credibility. LinkedIn provides the ability to build a well-rounded online profile that positions you as a subject matter expert and leading professional. Use the site’s tools to highlight your experience and expertise. Become the go-to financial professional who can help consumers with their financial and insurance needs.
Stay ahead. Tap into the latest industry news and trends. LinkedIn continuously feeds a wealth of news from connections, companies and industry groups. Staying on top of company updates, new and changing product offerings, consumer behaviors, and other relevant content can be the vehicle to get ahead of the competition.
Connect. This seems obvious. However, don’t simply connect with old colleagues and friends. Find and connect with others in the industry, including competitors. Build a network that allows knowledge-sharing. Follow companies, organizations or topics of interest. Join interest groups of like-minded professionals. Instead of reaching for the phone to find a contact from 20 years ago who you once worked with to bounce an idea off of, find someone with similar experience and connect in LinkedIn. Growing a broad connection base in LinkedIn provides access to other similar professionals, new learnings and can ignite new sales ideas. (Tip: Don’t send random connection invites or accept random invites just to “build a book” of names. Connect with intention, by leveraging commonalities – interests, contacts, groups, etc.)
Marketing. Marketing ties in naturally with building brand. Once established on LinkedIn, it’s time to get out there and start growing and reaching audiences. How?
One way is to start sharing content. Share updates from others. Share the industry news and trends that show in your own feed.
Get active and post from your profile. Provide updates on products and services, company news, industry changes, and more.
LinkedIn also offers marketing tools that help target specific audiences to market to. Wouldn’t it be great to connect with some of those 64 million consumers looking for financial guidance?
There are many additional ways to use LinkedIn to engage, reach new audiences, and ultimately make connections that could convert into sales opportunities.
Additionally, there is no right or wrong social platform for financial professional success. It’s important to do the research and find the one that best fits to meet your business objectives.
Ron Bernas is digital content manager, marketing at Crump Life Insurance Services. He may be contacted at [email protected].