Join the conversation: Use LinkedIn Groups to build your brand
November 8, 2013
Imagine you’re sitting around a kitchen table with a potential advisory client and a handful of your competitors. At every opportunity, the competition weighs in on important issues of the day and engages the prospect in meaningful dialogue, while you remain silent. Who do you think is most likely to become known for their expertise and, potentially, win new business?
LinkedIn, among its many uses, can function as that kitchen table in today’s world. High net worth investors are there, as are financial advisors looking to build their books. Remaining visible in LinkedIn Groups is one way advisors can make themselves prominent, credible, and trustworthy, potentially turning virtual prospects into clients.
Making the most of LinkedIn Groups
I’ve found that joining LinkedIn Groups can help exponentially expand your contact base while providing the interaction and credibility that customers understandably require from a financial advisor. It’s a good way to keep from leaving potential business on that “kitchen table.”
For example, I’ve worked with a financial advisor in Denver who has a focus on 401(k) business. He’s been able to use LinkedIn Groups in two ways: to connect locally by joining Denver-centric professional groups, and to connect more broadly within his niche by joining groups that discuss things that matter to 401(k) advisors. So he’s taken two different approaches to groups, and both have helped him become a little more visible and better connected, thereby allowing him to legitimately align his business.
Help others get to know you
At least once a week, visit your LinkedIn Groups page (by choosing “Interests” in the toolbar and “Groups” in the dropdown). There you’ll find a listing of all the groups you’ve joined — and an invitation to “start a discussion or share something with the group.”
Don’t be shy. If you have something to say, say it. But do take the time to say it well.
Also, participate in “discussions” already under way among group members. Initial contributions and subsequent discussion threads often are e-mailed to group members, though you’ll have to log in to participate in the conversation.
Once you’ve joined discussion threads often enough, some group members may come to value your thoughts and insights. They might even want to engage you in online conversation. Establishing a business relationship could come next; although, making a direct appeal to a group member usually is not considered good form.
Remaining visible in LinkedIn Groups is one way advisors can make themselves prominent, credible, and trustworthy, potentially turning virtual prospects into clients.
Keep it manageable
Besides putting your business in touch with literally thousands of new potential customers — many times more than you could ever hope to attain by extending invitations or soliciting introductions — using the LinkedIn Groups strategy helps to identify your brand.
Group logos are displayed on your profile page, signaling areas of expertise to prospective clients. Those logos are important, because they tell who you are — in pictures.
A word of caution: Be selective. There's no magic number of groups you should join, but to get the most out of your participation, it should be manageable.
Steps to get started with LinkedIn Groups
From any LinkedIn page, use the dropdown menu to the left of the search bar and select "Groups."
Enter a keyword or phrase such as your city or state, and maybe "financial" or "high net worth" to start — really, whatever makes sense to you.
Narrow your search by selecting "Open groups" or "Members only" in the sidebar. View open groups that might offer valuable information or potential contacts and customers, and click "Join."
Before viewing "members only" groups, you must first click "Join" to be approved by a group manager. Acceptance can take a day or two, but is almost never denied to those who have an appropriate background.
FINRA regulates the use of social media. Advisors should consult their compliance departments about restrictions regarding the use of social media before accessing any social media networks for a business purpose.
This content is for informational purposes only and is not an endorsement of any service or publicly traded company. It is also not a recommendation to buy or sell a particular security.
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