Let’s talk about why and how to use LinkedIn for social media marketing success. Many people see LinkedIn as solely a platform for storing and displaying professional credentials. However, this powerful social media platform is much more than a database of resumes. There’s also a rich network of business minded people who are, for the most part, open to social media marketing. Welcome back to Agent Branding System. Hi Agents, I’m Jon Anderson, Founder and CEO of agentbrandingsystem.com. LinkedIn might not be the biggest, most vibrant, or the most prominent social media channel, but for B2B interactions and social media marketing few other platforms come close to being as effective as insurance or financial services agents. It’s important to know how to use LinkedIn for marketing. You might already have a presence on Facebook and Twitter. After all, these are the superstars of social media and the platforms where the whole world seems to congregate; but, while those channels are important tools to include in your social media, marketing strategy they’re not primarily designed around business-to-business marketing. That is what makes LinkedIn different to other social media platforms. People who mean business meet here on LinkedIn. LinkedIn doesn’t boast huge user numbers like Facebook. The latter has 1.6 billion users now while the former has only 400 million. However, for building meaningful connections, generating leads, and brand development, LinkedIn is second to none in the realm of digital marketing. The targeting potential of LinkedIn is unparalleled. You can hone in on the exact industry, job roles, and demographics you need. Now, through words you can find the exact group of people you know will want your services, and if you’re marketing to people who you know will want your service, then life becomes a little easier, doesn’t it? A 2012 HubSpot survey found that referral traffic from LinkedIn had the highest visitor-to-lead conversion at 2.17%. Compare that to Facebook at 0.77%, and Twitter at 0.69%. No doubt those figures will have changed slightly over the years, but LinkedIn continues to be the dominant force for business referrals. Once you have created a compelling profile on LinkedIn that’s keyword rich and relevant, you can begin leveraging all the available marketing tools set up an advertising campaign to quickly drive large numbers of leads to your offering. Start building connections by reaching out to key LinkedIn users via LinkedIn’s messaging tool, InMail, and develop brand awareness through group interactions. Here are a few tips for leveraging LinkedIn for marketing for your insurance and financial services agency. Be Specific: Specificity is the key and in your profile, you need to tell people who you are, who you help, and how you can help them. Be Creative: On LinkedIn, standing out from the crowd is advantageous. A little creativity, such as adding a video to your profile will help you stand out among millions of other profiles that might be considered bland without them. Socialize: It’s easy to get caught up in your appearance on LinkedIn and forget one of the most important aspects of the platform: socialize. Signs of interest in making a connection might be in the form of a connection request, a like, or follow. You have to ensure that you remain on the radar of those who have expressed an interest by doing things like daily status updates, weekly blog posts on LinkedIn Pulse (the company’s publishing platform), and answering relevant queries of other users. By keeping your name in front of your network, you can build trust, more interest in your service offerings, and better brand awareness. Any good social media strategy should include plans to direct people to your email list. A good quality email list is similar to creating your very own platform. You can share your marketing message and nurture your customers from there without the umbrella of another company intervening. LinkedIn, of course, does not disclose the email addresses of its users, so with that in mind, your LinkedIn marketing strategy should include ways to get your connections to join your email list. This can be done by doing something as simple as sending a thank you message to people who connect with you. Within that message invite them to be a part of your email list by giving some sort of an “in” and an incentive. People are unlikely to give you their email address for free, so give them something like a helpful, compliant white paper, or some other thing of value may be offered by corporate that, again, is compliant. There are obvious benefits to brand exposure on LinkedIn including the maintenance of top of mind awareness for your customers, attracting more business clients, and consistent, high-quality inbound leads. That’s really what you’re looking for on LinkedIn and all social media for that matter. A properly optimized profile and a high-quality company page can increase your brand’s ranking in the Google search as well. Ranking higher in the search results mean the potential to reach a far higher number of people than LinkedIn’s potential user base, giving your brand the best chance of high rankings on LinkedIn. In the search engines, ensure the following: 1. Use relevant keywords in your profile and within your page description 2. Add links to your company website in your profile Pulse articles and page description 3. Make sure that your company description and your profile contain as much information as possible. Use descriptive wording in the job title field to connect with LinkedIn groups. There are LinkedIn groups for almost every profession and industry. You’re likely to find not only groups related to the insurance and financial services industry, but also groups based on specific geographical regions. Furthermore, if you can’t find what you’re looking for you can always take the initiative and simply create a group on LinkedIn groups within your industry. It will serve as great networking avenues allowing you to meet and learn from other agents in your industry. However, you should not restrict yourself to just your industry and like-minded professionals. Join other groups where your potential customers might also be socializing. When you join groups outside of your industry, you will find opportunities to answer queries and solve problems of the people who might want to spend money with your company and your agency by positioning your company as the solution to their problem. You can further develop your brand, increase your connections, and acquire more customers. Isn’t that what we’re all here for? No doubt LinkedIn is a worthwhile investment for your business. In fact, a lot can be done with just a free account; but, with a small budget, you can also boost your efforts through LinkedIn’s advertising platform and a premium account like LinkedIn Navigator. By utilizing all the available social media marketing tools that LinkedIn has to offer, you will soon begin to experience the real value of this platform. Can ask you something now? When do you utilize LinkedIn for marketing and social media efforts? Tell me your thoughts comment in the box below. 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