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As the Global Head of Category Development, Financial Services for LinkedIn, I’m often excited by the ways financial advisors connect on LinkedIn and share content to educate themselves and their customers. In my role, I’m uniquely positioned to see how these advisors use the platform as more than a prospecting tool or referral network. It’s no secret that financial companies increasingly take advantage of the many benefits of social media. Clearly, advisors who want to share and receive market commentary (55%) and investment manager insights (45%) via social media channels consider content on LinkedIn more relevant than that of other networks. When finance industry users share updates and insights on LinkedIn, they invite current and potential clients to engage with them.
Financial services clients expect to receive advice and insights from advisors on LinkedIn. Sixty-five (65%) percent of Putnam respondents said they belong to groups on LinkedIn, and for good reason: groups (and private) discussions are paramount to influencing people and developing loyalty and trust. No matter what your business, one of LinkedIn’s chief member rewards is watching your connection numbers grow. Financial advisors have always used LinkedIn to open new doors and find leads and referrals, but now they’re using the platform for more.
For more insights on how financial advisors are using social media, access the research here. With 111+ Million registered LinkedIn Users in the United States alone, most of many of your future clients are out there. A survey published by Hinge Research Institute revealed that 70% of buyers listed LinkedIn as the social media platform they are most likely to turn to when gathering information on service providers. This presents a tremendous opportunity for you as a Financial Advisor to connect, engage and build relationships with potential clients on a “strictly business” note without worrying about any distractions that come with personal type of profiles.
Having said this, today’s post is the first of a two-part series on How Financial Advisors can use LinkedIn to find prospective clients and open more accounts. We will take a closer look at four tips for how Financial Advisors can get started on LinkedIn to grow their network of clients and prospects.
Having an impressive profile is a prerequisite to enjoy greater success with your LinkedIn efforts. Once you’ve set up and optimized your LinkedIn profile, the next step is to start adding 1st degree connections. Use LinkedIn Search to find a person you just met at a conference or elsewhere and send them a connection request. As a Financial Advisor, re-connecting with people you already know, not only presents an opportunity to grow your professional network and improve your profile strength, but also softly reminds your prospects, clients and family about you and your services. For example, according to a post on Social Media Examiner blog, Bill Waterhouse landed his company a $450,000 contract almost immediately upon joining the network. Let’s say you have a college friend who is your 1st degree connection on LinkedIn and he currently works at an Adult Day Care Center. Via LinkedIn Introductions – This feature allows you to ask your friend (your 1st degree connection) for an “Introduction”. Via Email – Instead of using LinkedIn introductions, you can also use the network to create a list of prospects that are a 2nd degree connection. It’s important to know that the warmer your relationship is with your 1st degree connections, the sooner you will reap the benefits of LinkedIn networking.

Occasionally, take the time to send direct messages to your connections who are well networked on LinkedIn.
In addition to exploring prospecting opportunities within your current and extended social circles, LinkedIn Groups enable you to connect with your target audience even if they are not your 1st or 2nd degree connection.
Stephanie Sammons, a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) and CEO of Wired Advisor – a digital marketing company serving Financial Advisors and firms – wrote a great post a while ago, “How to Network Using LinkedIn Groups”. Identify and join active groups relevant to your industry, location, interests, job functions and other business aspects.
Asking and answering questions in the group so that you are seen as a helpful expert in the financial services industry.
After you’ve spent some time participating in the group, you may start sending personalized connection requests to group members with whom you have previously interacted.
Discussing tax returns with clients benefits you—their financial advisor—in three ways: (1) you gain tremendous insight into their financial situation, (2) you can identify areas for additional financial planning, and (3) you can strengthen the client-advisor relationship with your careful attention and guidance. Finding planning opportunities in clients' tax returns is a goal for many financial advisors at this time of the year. Financial advisors often establish ties with another professional—for example, a CPA or estate attorney—to refer clients to each other, generate leads, and offer more comprehensive services. It's no secret—strategic alliances for financial advisors can help catalyze business growth. Uniting with CPAs, attorneys, real estate agents, and other professionals can add value for existing clients by allowing you to offer more comprehensive services, as well as help you generate referrals for new customers.
Financial advisors who are interested in business networking or finding prospects online should focus their social media efforts on LinkedIn. In Part 1 of this post, we focused on defining objectives for getting started with social media for financial advisors. As a financial advisor and small business owner, you are probably interested in getting started with social media (if you don't use it already). They now share market trends and commentary, company videos, financial calculators, and product updates in ways they haven’t before. But new research from Putnam Investments affirms it: financial advisors also use LinkedIn to enhance how they manage their relationships with current clients.
According to Putnam, 50% of financial advisors say their companies impose no restrictions on the business use of social media.
Ours is the ideal platform from which to deliver the content sought by the financial audience and launch a comprehensive, targeted content marketing strategy.
Great examples of companies that share timely and compelling finance content on LinkedIn include BlackRock, Charles Schwab, and Bank of America. Whether advisors build on buzz by responding to comments about what they’ve shared, or start a group discussion based on feedback, engaging on a personal level is critical.
Engaging in relevant discussion with your audience on LinkedIn is easy and effective, and can pave the way for long-term success. When you showcase your historical experience and influential connections on LinkedIn, potential clients perceive you as trustworthy even if they are only gathering information, before considering doing business with you. You should leverage this online real-estate to establish personal branding and credibility as a Financial Advisor. Use keywords, if possible – LinkedIn algorithms take into account the description when recommending you to other LinkedIn users who might know you or be interested in connecting with you.

Begin with people that you already know like fellow alumni, interns, current or former colleagues, current or former clients, friends and family.
Consistently growing your network of connections on LinkedIn makes your profile stronger and the stronger your profile, the better your visibility on LinkedIn. A lot of his 1st degree connections are baby boomers or retired men and women who might be interested in personal savings or financial tips. Ask for their advice on an interesting issue or offer your assistance, but make sure you are useful.
They are very well moderated and present tremendous prospecting opportunities for Financial Advisors trying to open both Business to Business (B2B) and Business to Customer (B2C) accounts. It is also a great chance to assess clients' overall financial situation—as well as add value to the client-advisor relationship. The site was created specifically for business purposes: corporate recruiting, professional networking, and, more recently, news. But you might not know where to start or what exactly you need to do, and, for sure, you probably think you don't have enough time for it. Here’s a secret that’s now public: Putnam’s findings reveal that 75% of financial advisors use social networks for business, and 95% percent of them use LinkedIn for business purposes. Advisors, therefore, are doing everything they can to ensure their social presence on LinkedIn informs the financial decisions of their clients and prospects. This might come as a surprise since the financial industry is so heavily regulated, but for companies that allow social media interaction, LinkedIn is the perfect point of entry — a social media platform designed for professional interaction, rather than informal sharing.
As we shared last March in a white paper titled Influencing the Mass Affluent, LinkedIn is the most trusted social source for financial information.
What you may not know just yet is that LinkedIn has proved to be one of the most effective prospecting tools for Advisors.
Sixty-two percent of Financial Advisors actively prospecting on LinkedIn converted new clients from that process over the past year.
Being a Personal or Retirement Financial Planner, those connections might be great potential clients for you.
Any and all of these can be a good conversation starter for you and your 1st degree connections. For instance, you recently connected with a prospect over a common group discussion who is a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of a large organization. LinkedIn tends to attract a slightly older, more professionally oriented demographic than Facebook and Twitter—making it particularly appropriate for the financial advisor community. All of this will add value to your profile and help you build your credibility as a Financial Advisor.
He might be a higher priority lead versus an individual Baby Boomer prospect, as the CFO could possibly land your Advisory Firm an annual contract to provide Financial Advice to all the employees of his firm. To make your use of LinkedIn as effective as possible, we suggest aspiring to join the 500+ Club.
The good news is that, when it comes to social media for financial advisors, there are some very simple steps to get up and running so that it doesn't feel overwhelming.

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