When it comes to lead generation, everyone’s looking for the “silver bullet.” I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there’s no such thing. The process of gaining a lead and converting it into a client requires work, no matter which way you slice it. However, LinkedIn is leading the charge in the area of online lead gen. In fact, did you know that, according to a recent study by HubSpot, LinkedIn is 277% more effective for lead generation than Facebook and Twitter (see chart, below right)?
The effectiveness of lead generation and conversion extends beyond your personal profile and into the business realm as well. As financial professionals, you have the ability to create a LinkedIn company profile and leverage this resource as another opportunity for clients and prospects alike to locate you. This is beneficial for SEO purposes because it creates another record online of your business name and website.
Now that you’ve decided to create a LinkedIn company page, how do you generate followers and, ultimately, leads for your business? Read on for six key things to consider for maximizing your LinkedIn company page efforts.
1. Optimize your company profile.
Make the most of your available real estate on your LinkedIn company page. Fill out all of the components and check for consistency with your other branded materials. For example, you should include your company logo (a 100 x 60 pixel JPEG, less than 2 MB works best) and a custom banner (646 x 220 pixel JPEG, less than 2 MB). Additionally, it’s important to list company specialties, attach any company groups (if your company hosts a LinkedIn group), and write a purposeful description that explains how you help your clients achieve their goals. Also, list the products and services that you offer. For example, if your office offers tax preparation services, make sure prospects can see that when they visit your site.
2. Include follow buttons on your website or blog.
The fastest way to get people to follow your LinkedIn company page is to get the widget from the LinkedIn Developers page and add it to your corporate website/blog. This allows those who visit your website to know that you have a LinkedIn page as well. If you have a dedicated website developer, you can always create your own custom follow button and hyperlink as well.
3. Make the most of your brand advocates.
Your employees should be your biggest advocates. Here are two ways to increase in-house grassroots promotion on LinkedIn.
Strategy No. 1: Consider making it a requirement that each employee have a company follow button in their email signature. Based upon the sheer volume of emails that your company sends, you should certainly gain followers to your profile via this method.
Strategy No. 2: Create a culture that encourages employees to build their own personal brand on LinkedIn, while at the same time building the company brand. Ensure that employees keep their LinkedIn profiles updated and free of errors. Each employee profile is linked to the company page based upon their current occupation, so this is another means of expanding the company network and increasing the visibility of your company.
For clients and prospects that visit your company profile, this provides a valuable resource: a list of all employees (at least all those on LinkedIn) with whom they may connect in order to build a deeper relationship with your company.
4. Post regular status updates with relevant content.
Engagement and relationships are the name of the game with social media. Take a similar approach with your company page. Use the 80/20 rule when posting content. Eighty percent of the posts should be materials and educational resources relevant to your target audience’s needs. People will follow companies and brands that provide the most value. The remaining 20 percent may focus on services and support resource that your firm offers to help your target audience (i.e. your company followers) fulfill their needs or meet their goals. In a recent article, I wrote about ways that advisers are wasting time on social media in general, but many of the principles apply specifically to your LinkedIn presence. The key is to build a content calendar for your social media posts. This will help keep you consistent and on track to meet your goals.
5. Integrate it into your overall social media marketing strategy
Unless LinkedIn is the only platform you are using (which I am going to assume that it is not), your efforts should be tied into your overall social media marketing strategy. Since, as we’ve already established, LinkedIn is more effective at lead generation than other platforms, it is in your best interests to find creative ways to also convert Facebook and Twitter followers into LinkedIn followers (or at least personal connections). You should cross-promote your platforms for optimal results by leveraging each platform for its strengths. In my opinion, Facebook is great for establishing informal relationships, Twitter is an exceptional conversation and relationship-building tool, but LinkedIn seems to be where people go to do business. It is strong for networking, sharing ideas, thought leadership and branding, both on an individual and company level.
6. Actively participate in groups.
Your employees should be actively engaged in sharing content in relevant groups (chosen because they comprise the target audience for your company), as well as posting comments. Each time an employee does either one of these activities, it creates exposure for their personal profile, but also your company brand. Share ideas and provide education (notice I didn’t say product recommendations) to establish expertise. Serve as a resource for members and they will want to do business with you.
In the end, the key to success is patience, persistence and, above all else, effort. Relationships aren’t created overnight; they require time and effort to nurture. Establishing relationships online is no different than networking in person, so set your expectations accordingly.
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