LinkedIn - as an insurance advisor, it's on your mind. We're all there, often every day, hoping it will lead to connections, partnerships, and referrals. But how confident are you that you're using it right? Or getting the most out of it? We've rounded up a few of the best tips for getting more out of LinkedIn.

Tip #1: Optimize Your Profile

Sure, you’re on LinkedIn to make connections with other advisors – but you probably also want to be found by clients and prospects. How will they find you among the 364 million+ profiles? You need to tweak your profile so it includes the keywords your target audience is searching for.

  • Your agency’s company page: Treat the first line of your company description as prime SEO real estate. What keywords do you want to be found for? “Life insurance” is a bit generic, so try to include your specialty or niche, such as a planning concept. This doesn’t even have to be a complete sentence – you can simply separate as many keywords as will fit on one line with a special character, such as an asterisk.
  • Your personal profile: While SEO is important here, too, the first few lines of your profile need to capture a prospect’s attention. Instead of listing specialties or keywords, your challenge is to tell your prospects what you can do for them – no jargon, no fancy wording, just plain (but engaging) English. If someone's looking for a financial advisor who can help with retirement planning and life insurance, what's going to appeal to them more - a list of keywords like "life insurance broker," "financial advisor," and "estate planner," or the short, snappy first line line, "I help clients achieve their dreams of financial independence"? You make the call.
Increase in profile views for LinkedIn members who list skills on their profiles: 13x

Tip #2: Use LinkedIn Publisher

LinkedIn Publisher is a blogging platform built into LinkedIn. If you have original thoughts, suggestions, experiences, or motivation to share, this is a great place to post it. Content pages on LinkedIn receive 7 times the page views as job postings, says Jason Miller, the Senior Content Marketing Manager for LinkedIn. In a podcast interview for The Missing Link, Miller also noted that LinkedIn Publisher is a great place to start publishing if you’re shy – because people use their real names, there are far fewer "trolls" than other social media platforms.

There are over 39 million students and recent college grads on LinkedIn – the fastest-growing demographic on the network.

To build momentum, you want to post original content on a regular basis. Once you do, you can begin building and interacting with an audience. Keep in mind who that audience is likely to be – are more of your clients on LinkedIn or more of your partners and competitors? This isn’t the place to sell your services, but it’s a good place to offer ideas and thoughts on the scope of our industry, where it’s headed, sales strategies that have worked for you, and more. Remember, posting through LinkedIn Publisher can earn you followers in addition to connections. Those followers don’t have to be connected to you to read, like, comment, and share your content with their followers and connections.

Once you start publishing, you can find out who’s reading your posts, too. LinkedIn Publisher offers you some handy stats to help you gauge how your content is spreading. Just click “Who’s viewed your posts” under your Profile link in the main navigation bar. You’ll see a graph that shows you how many views your post has received – select “last 7 days,” “last 15 days,” “last 30 days,” “last 6 months,” or “last 1 year.”

But here’s the coolest part. You also get valuable information about who read your post. LinkedIn will give you the top four results for industries, job titles, locations, and traffic sources for viewers of your post. You might find out your content is resonating with a different audience than the one you expected. Who knows – you might find new partnerships or clients among your readers.

Tip #3: Connect with Personalized Requests

How many standardized connection requests have you received from people you don’t know? Sometimes it’s annoying, and sometimes it’s from someone you actually want to connect with. But wouldn’t it be better if the person had sent a message with their request – “Hey, met you at MDRT last week and would love to connect!” Don’t be the person who connects without personalized messages. Use the “Customize Invite” feature to send a brief message. Even if it’s as simple as “I’ve been reading your posts and find them valuable. Would love to connect,” that’s a great start.

Tip #4: Leverage Groups

LinkedIn groups offer a great way to contact people you aren’t connected with. It’s a good idea to join both insurance industry groups and groups outside your industry. While it’s not a good idea to promote your services within these groups, it is a good idea to join groups centered on your target prospects. There are groups for doctors, writers, attorneys, web developers, service management, and just about any other niche you might find valuable to target.

The big bonus of being in a group is the ability to send a message to a fellow group member for free, with no connection necessary. If this feature weren't available, you'd have to upgrade to a LinkedIn Premium account to contact such a person. What’s the catch? You have to be sure to send the message through the group, and not through their profile. Just go to the group’s page, click “See all members,” and look for the “Contact” link beneath the member you want to reach.

Tip #5: Consider Paying for Expanded Services

You may have noticed that many social media platforms are navigating toward a pay-to-play model. LinkedIn is no different. If you want to view prospects inside a particular company, for example, you’ll have to pay for Sales Navigator. You can still use LinkedIn’s search function without Sales Navigator, but be aware that you can only view 100 results with the free version.

If you’re a power user scanning an entire industry for prospects, Sales Navigator could help. It's designed to show you (a) who your prospects are, and (b) what they care about. If you’re targeting a particular company for executive business planning, for example, you could use Sales Navigator’s features to learn more about the company’s management and key employees. You could also use the company’s news updates to see if there’s a timely reason to approach them.

What better way to get noticed than to reach out to someone who’s already posted about a problem or an opportunity you can help them with?

It's your turn - which LinkedIn strategies have worked for you? Tell us in the comments.

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