The third social network of what many consider to be the big three, LinkedIn may not be as popular as Facebook or Twitter, but it has its own niche as the social network for business. Because it is for business, how you use LinkedIn will differ slightly from how you might use Facebook or Twitter. If you're looking for ways to use LinkedIn to market your agency, there are several things you should be doing that will impact your marketing results from LinkedIn.
Review and update your profile often
When was the last time you looked at your LinkedIn profile? If the answer is when you set it up, or you can't remember, it's time to do a profile review. By reviewing and updating your profile every few months, you'll make sure your profile is fresh and up-to-date. Plus, whenever you update your profile, your connections will see it in their newsfeeds, which will help you stay top of mind (as long as you have the featured turned on in your settings). Is your profile picture recent? Do you have a profile picture? Take a professional looking photo – by professional I don't mean a professional headshot, I mean a business-appropriate picture – and upload it to your profile so your connections know what you really look like.
Build a network
A great way to get found on LinkedIn is to be connected. The more people you're connected with, the more places your profile will show up. Keep in mind that your connections should be people you actually know. But don't let that stop you from increasing those connections. You may or may not want to connect with your customers on LinkedIn. You definitely should connect with people who refer business to your agency, people you meet at networking events, and anyone else you work with either on a regular or occasional basis. If you are sending the invitation to connect, make sure you personalize it. If it's an old contact, you might remind them of how you met. If it's someone you just met, you could mention what you talked about or ask a question you may have forgotten in that initial conversation. I love this tip because the majority of people just used LinkedIn's standard message without bothering to change. Taking a few seconds to make it unique to the person who you want to connect with will make you memorable. My second favorite LinkedIn tip is to send a thank you whether you initiated the connection or the other person did. This will also help to make you memorable to your connection as so few people do it. I've had great conversations with connections that were started because I sent a thank you for connecting message.
Your LinkedIn profile could be robust and up-to-date with relevant information, but it will do you no good unless you are actively participating on LinkedIn. Luckily, being seen on LinkedIn does not require the same amount of time or number of updates that Facebook and Twitter do. Logging into LinkedIn and posting an update two or three times a week will go a long way to making you more visible on the social network. Some ideas for how to be more active on LinkedIn:
Share interesting news stories or your most recent blog post
Ask a question / answer a question
Comment on or like others' updates – congratulate them on good news, or comment on a story they've posted
Get involved with LinkedIn Groups
Last fall LinkedIn introduced a new feature called Endorsements. This allows your connections to endorse you for a skill you've listed in your profile with a single click. Whenever you give or receive an endorsement, it adds an update to your newsfeed for your connections to see. Building up your endorsements can be a powerful way to reinforce your expertise as an insurance agent.
How do you get endorsements? Check your skill list, and make sure it's up-to-date. Then start endorsing your connections. Most people will endorse you back.
About the Author: Laird Rixford, vice president of product development at Insurance Technologies Corporation (ITC), currently consults agencies nationwide on their online marketing initiatives. Laird and the Insurance Website Builder team have launched more than 2,000 insurance agency websites nationwide. In addition to Insurance Website Builder, Laird has designed the AgencyBuzz drip email marketing and lead management solution exclusively for the insurance industry. To learn more about ITC and its products and services for insurance agents, visit www.GetITC.com.