Why I Invest Time Keeping Current on LinkedIn

We have all heard social media is addictive. (1) There are probably many people glued to it, seeing what their friends have posted at adding “likes.” In my case, I find it consumes a lot of time for a different reason: Keeping current. That is worth the effort.

Let us assume as a financial advisor, you are active on a social media site like LinkedIn to build your brand, identify prospects and fill your pipeline. You cannot just setup automatic posts and expect people to call you. Cultivating prospects on LinkedIn is like gaining the trust of a kitten. It takes work.

Over the years, I have gotten an annual engagement rate of about 37% from my universe of first level connections. This means you need to be both proactive and responsive. Here is what I have been doing:

1. Post regularly. You are likely doing this already. I try to post new content every weekday. This is posted to the daily feed and is proactive. When someone makes a comment and I am alerted through Notifications, I try to acknowledge their comment. This is responsive.

In Real Like (IRL): Imagine you dressed very well to create a positive impression. Someone said: “Great suit” and you ignored them. How would you feel?

2. Invite post responders to connect. Someone you don’t know took time to add a comment. Not just a “Like” but a comment. That took effort! Invite them to connect after scanning their profile. You are both proactive and responsive.

In Real Life (IRL): When someone says “Great tie” you stop and thank them. You might add your wife or partner gave it as a birthday present. You might give them a compliment in return. Now you are engaging.

3. Likes and comments on Notifications. These all indicate someone has looked at your post, actually read it and given feedback. Responding to comments was addressed above. “Likes” are more common. This is another opportunity to check out their profile and invite them to connect.

In Real life (IRL): Many people don’t engage with you, but give you some form of affirmation. You might get a thumbs up or a slap on the back after scoring. This is another opportunity to be responsive and acknowledge their gesture.

4. Checking people out. The above points looked at opportunities to invite people to connect who have made an effort to react to your posts. But are they for real? Phony profiles are not unheard of on LinkedIn. There are several ways you can tell. I am wary of people listing a country, but not a city, third level connections with only a handful of their own connections and profiles with misspelled words or very poor grammar.

In Real Life (IRL): Everyone gets those junk e-mails telling you about a large inheritance coming your way. You delete those or report them as pfishing.

5. Birthday notifications. Not everyone is sufficiently motivated to comment on a post. They might be afraid of confrontation. Imagine you make a comment and someone takes issue. Their firm might have rules. Birthday notifications are easier. You send a birthday greeting, ideally inserting their name. You are proactive. It is easy for them to be responsive and send a thank you. Now you have exchanged messages.

In Real Life (IRL): Someone sends your child a birthday card. It’s from a relative. It contains a check from that uncle. As a parent, you make absolutely sure your child calls or sends a thank you note.

6. Work anniversaries. This is another low key way to reach out. Who is going to be offended by a congratulatory message? You are proactive. This increases the chances they will send you a similar message on your anniversary. I f they answer directly or send a message on your work anniversary, they are responsive.

In Real Life: (IRL) It’s a compliment. Who is offended by a compliment?

7. Job changes. This is another Notification prompt. The financial advisor realizes there might be a potential of their retirement assets rolling over into an IRRA account. Maybe they can transfer them into their new firm’s plan. Congratulating them on making the change is a proactive compliment.

In Real Life: (IRL) A friend changes jobs. You will be supportive regardless if it is a step up or a lateral move. If they left on a sour note, they might want to get their retirement assets away from that firm ASAP.

8. Initiating messages. Does your firm allow you to start conversations? Assuming the answer is yes, there is plenty of potential. For several years I embarked on an annual project to write to every one of my connections. This is proactive. I wanted to learn a little about who they are. This started with my sharing some personal information.

In Real Life (IRL): If you have a connection with some, like a new neighbor or coworker, you will make an effort to get to know them better. It’s human nature.

9. Posting to groups. When you post to LinkedIn, you are posting to the feed and/or generating a Notification. Your connections might (or might not) pay much attention. Posting to groups where you are a member puts you and your message in front of many people you do not know. They might be interested in knowing you. This is proactive.

In Real Life (IRL): You can e-mail clients. You can e-mail prospects. If you take out a display ad in the local newspaper, your message is being seen by people you do not know. Can you grab their interest?

10. Commenting in groups. Once again, your firm might have rules. The best groups function as discussion forums. Someone poses a question and different people give their opinion. You add yours. You are proactive because you are engaging.

In Real Life (IRL): I think it’s like walking into the hotel bar at an industry conference and seeing a big round table with one unoccupied chair. They invite you in, let you know what they are talking about and you add your opinion.

This takes work. In my opinion, it cannot be automated or outsourced. Where else might you find a strategy for getting people’s attention that could get (me) a 37% response rate? Your only investment is your time. That could be anytime of every day or night, but you need to be consistent.

Related: Where Will My New Clients Come From in 2024?

1 https://www.jeffersonhealth.org/your-health/living-well/the-addictiveness-of-social-media-how-teens-get-hooked