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7 Ways to Overcome Fear of LinkedIn

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Yes, you can make good use of your LinkedIn account.

LinkedIn launched in 2003. It took financial services firms over 10 years to become comfortable with it. Now they’ve gotten religion, encouraging advisors to embrace it.

Related: How to Network at a Party)

Some advisors love LinkedIn. Others hate it. They’ll say things like, “All I see are posts from people like me looking for business,” and “LinkedIn lets you do cool things. My firm prohibits them all.

Whether you are selling life insurance, annuities, voluntary benefits, or other products, there are ways to use LinkedIn to find prospects and start real relationships. 

Here’s a look at seven ways to overcome the self-imposed shackles that may keep you from achieving your LinkedIn networking objectives.

1. Be honest with yourself about bad habits and negativity.

It’s easy to explain, generally, how advisors should be using LinkedIn. The objective is to raise your visibility with lots of professionals, start dialogs, and meet the people you want to know face-to-face.

Here are some statements that reflect the kinds of bad attitudes and bad habits that keep advisors from succeeding on LinkedIn.

  • I joined. I’m not getting business. It doesn’t work. Katy Elle Blake reports that the average LinkedIn user visits the site for 17 minutes a month. Compare this to the average time per Facebook visit. Zephoria says that’s 20 minutes! Conclusion: If you’re only spending 17 minutes per month on LinkedIn, you aren’t giving LinkedIn enough attention.

  • I joined. I didn’t post a photo. Too much work. A professional photo makes it 14 times more likely people will view your profile.

  • I don’t post. I don’t do likes. I don’t comment. Compliance is a headache. If your firm has rules on posting, it likely has an archive of approved article links you can post.

  • I ignore those annoying emails. LinkedIn sends conventional emails when people view your profile, comment on your posts, etc. They give you information you can use to take your LinkedIn efforts to the next level.

  • It’s too much work building a network of first-level connections. Adding those first-level connections gives you access to their first-level connections. This is ideal for learning “who knows who.”

  • I don’t join groups. Well, then, you should. Joining groups is a good way to identify people with similar interests. This can lead to new connections. You might also be allowed to post. Check the rules.

2. Update your profile.

The firms you work with likely have someone who can help. Learn best practices. Think about the keywords someone searching for a financial advisor or insurance agent is likely to enter. Put those in your profile, and keep your profile photo up-to-date.

3. Build your network.

The easiest way is to find the “Add personal contacts” area on the left hand side of the My Network page. Think about what kinds of friends you have. A typical advisor might have gym friends, golf friends, college friends and work friends. Once you think about where your friends come from, there’s lots of prospecting potential in that list.

4. Post regularly.

Visibility equals credibility.

5. Pay attention to “Messages” and “Notifications.”

Congratulate people on promotions, work anniversaries and birthdays. It gets a dialog started.

6. Join groups.

Start with college alumni. For many colleges, in many communities, there are at least two alumni groups to join: The school alumni group and the local alumni chapter group. Visit each group. Read people’s posts. Post article links yourself, if your firm allows it. Invite some members to join your network.

7. Prospect.

Now, you’ve done research. You’ve got a list of the local accountants, or veterinarians. Run each name through the LinkedIn search field. Determine “who knows who.” You might find out that one of your first-level connections knows additional people you want to meet. Call your first-level connection on the phone. How well do your first-level connections know the people you’d like to meet? Would they feel comfortable introducing you?

Pretty soon, some of those people will be in your own network of first-level connections.

— Check out Your AUM increase using social media: a cool $8 million-plus on ThinkAdvisor.