LinkedIn is an untapped tool for many sales professionals, especially those within the insurance and financial services industry.
That’s according to Amy McIlwain, a social media marketing specialist and author of “The Social Advisor.” She spoke today at the annual NAILBA annual conference, where she shared her insights into LinkedIn and why it’s a good tool for every professional, but especially those looking for new leads, sales and contacts.
The following are takeaways from her presentation:
LinkedIn is like a tradeshow
Not doing anything on LinkedIn is like going to a tradeshow and not talking to anyone. Participate in groups, ask questions. LinkedIn is like a giant tradeshow and your profile is your booth. Tell your story.
“Decision-makers now ignore cold calls,” McIlwain said. “You have to find a different way — a better way. And a better way is through LinkedIn. LinkedIn emails are five times more likely to be opened than traditional email.”
It’s true. Many now rely on social media when determining their needs from different types of businesses. In fact, 75 percent of buyers now use social media to conduct research.
LinkedIn has more than two billion member updates per week, 300 million members and billions of professional relationships. Essentially, as McIlwain continuously stresses, if you’re not taking advantage of it, you’re letting opportunities pass you by.
Tips to optimizing your profile
Create a custom URL, such as www.linkedin.com/in/amymcilwain. This makes it easier to find you on LinkedIn and just looks nicer, more professional.
Upload a professional photo. “Even though you like hiking or guitar, this is not the place to share this,” McIlwain said.
- Create a list of keywords that people may use when searching for you or someone in your field
- Use a combination of short- and long-tail keywords. For example, “insurance” or “insurance marketing executive”
- Weave your keywords into your current job titles, past job titles and personal summary
- McIlwain used one man’s profile as an example. He used “annuities specialist” in his title and it’s woven into different pieces of his profile. “LinkedIn is not like Google; there’s no hidden algorithm as to how they rank you in a search,” McIlwain said. “So just find those keywords and repeat them often.”
- Your headline, title, summary and skills are where your keywords should go.
Create a powerful headline
As McIlwain notes, the headline is what shows up in everything so use words that will get people to click on your profile. You should describe what you do, of course. But also leverage the real estate available and don’t just list your current title. If you’ve ever been published, then you’re an author. Do public speaking here or there? You’re a speaker. Use these keywords to your advantage.
Maximize anchor links
Link to websites. Take advantage of this tool and drive people to different pages. Link to your company page, and if you don’t have one, start one. And start discussions on the page. Share status updates, webinar information and news.