Best Practices for LinkedIn Social Selling for Financial Services & Beyond

When it comes to Social Selling stats, you may see plenty of promising numbers for the World, US, Canada, India, EU and China, but don’t be disheartened. Even if you are targeting the UK, you have many reasons to engage on LinkedIn for social selling:

  1. As of August 2019, 75.6% of the UK’s working population is registered on LinkedIn.
  2. The number of UK users has grown by 8.3% over the last year at nearly 163k registrations each month.
  3. The UK is listed as the 3rd most active user base amongst 44 European countries.
  4. The most common UK based profiles belong to Operations (9.2%), Business Development (7.5%) and Sales (4.8%). This also means that Financial Services do not figure in the top 3. Furthermore, these 3 account for only 20% of the user base, hinting at much greater diversity amongst users.
  5. 94% B2B marketers distribute content through LinkedIn. You can give and get valuable content inputs along with amazing opportunities to interact with people in the comments section.
  6. 2019 global user statistics mention 90 million senior-level influencers and 63 million decision-makers on LinkedIn. Financial Markets are connected too. You could build the right network of global referrals while seeking local business.
  7. You may not be a subscriber to LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator yet, but you can still improve your score in the Social Selling Index (SSI) on LinkedIn. A better SSI also improves your chances to reach targets by 51% and generate 45% more leads in each quarter. Once you see consistent results, you can upgrade the Sales Navigator and access your SSI analytics.

Initial Social Selling Practices

LinkedIn wants to enable social selling for users with 500+ connections and it introduces many features to assist the user, but there are some basic practices that you have to get right before getting into the updates. The SSI Index of LinkedIn evaluates your profile in 4 key areas or pillars of social selling i.e. Your Professional Brand, Finding the Right People, Engaging with Insights and Building Strong Relationships

Create Your Professional Brand

Achieve an All- Star Profile: An All Star Profile is a complete LinkedIn Profile and it scores a better SSI as a Brand.

  1. Write an attractive Headline which mentions your title or area of expertise, your target audience and your value proposition. For example, “Finance Expert | Helping Londoners Manage Financial Risk during Uncertainty since 2010” or “Affordable Reliable Financial Services in the UK- Forex, Shares, Investments, Insurance ”.
  2. Upload a high resolution image of yourself and make sure that you have a plain background. Make sure that your face covers 60% of the image space. It should not be too different from how you appear at work. Try using LinkedIn filters and also adjust the image contrast, brightness, etc. A background picture can enrich your profile but it is not necessary for an All Star Profile. You can learn to add a background picture here.
  3. Write a buyer-centric summary that gives further clarity on your Headline. Since the viewer can only see the first few lines of your summary, you have to capture his/her attention with an achievement or an offer. For example, “80+ portfolios and counting. Avail a free consultation worth 10 years of experience in Risk Management.” Thereafter, the user can click on see more and get to read your professional summary which must reflect achievements that validate your claim with humility.
  4. Complete your sections of Experience, Education & Volunteer Work. Mention all your employers, key clients, schools, colleges, universities. This will help LinkedIn make relevant suggestions for networking. If you haven’t done any volunteer work, you can express your area of interest to do such work.
  5. Add Recommendations and Key Skills in your Profile. LinkedIn allows you to ask for recommendations from people in your network. You can click on the Ask to be recommended link on your recommendations section and reach out to a few happy customers and some well-established connections to write you a recommendation and endorse your skills. You must list at least 5 skills that also match with your headline and summary.

Apart from the Profile Picture: You must enrich your profile and contribute content. Once your profile is complete, you can add your background picture, presentations, documents, videos, events etc. to enhance it. If you want to showcase your products and services, you can also create a complete Company Page and grow your SSI.

Find the Right People: You can network efficiently by:

  1. Accepting invites from networkers who fulfil your intended audience or refer you to the right people.
  2. Sending connection requests to a deliberate shortlist of professionals from the LinkedIn suggestions on your networking page.
  3. Find professionals or companies and content that attract engagement from prospects by:
  4. Using the LinkedIn Search bar. You can filter your search to specific people, content, companies, schools and LinkedIn Groups. Once you conduct a search, it leads you to the search page and provides suggestions and news feed for subsequent searches.
  5. Visiting your App Index or networking page to follow the right influencers and Hashtags. Consequently, you will get the opportunity to engage other followers and connect with them.
  6. Requesting an introduction from a mutual connection between you and your prospect. Whenever you visit a LinkedIn profile, it mentions a number of mutual connections and if you click on it, you get the complete list.
  7. Studying visitors and interactive followers of your profile. LinkedIn prompts you of profile visits from time to time, but you can make it a habit to check it on your LinkedIn Dashboard and network while they are online.
  8. Joining LinkedIn Groups of potential customers. This allows you to now send UNLIMITED messages to other Group members who are outside your network. Be careful that you do not spam them and initiate a conversation in the comments section of an article or post, unless they express themselves as open networkers or you see them as receptive people.

Before you network, you must evaluate the possibility of meaningful engagement. You can identify the “right people” by studying their profile, groups, recommendations and LinkedIn activities.

Engage with Insights: Share your professional insights on LinkedIn with the objective of adding value. Foster conversations in the comment sections. Join relevant LinkedIn Groups by checking their activities and admin profile. The active members must fulfil the criteria of your intended audience.

You can also create a content calendar for publishing short form posts and articles. You can save reminders on your mobile and publish at least 2 or 3 articles on LinkedIn every month. Short posts can be more frequent and diverse. They can express your opinion and insights on the latest industry happenings, consumer awareness and the related social media trends. Once you grow into it, you can use LinkedIn to share resources with your audience i.e. a budgeting template, a checklist, a database, an excel tracker, a video tutorial, informative screenshots etc. The utility of your content will drive your brand engagement.

Build Strong Relationships: Make your network rely on you for:

  1. Fruitful conversations about your industry, area or even LinkedIn tips that worked for you.
  2. Driving their engagement by commenting on their posts.
  3. Referrals and recommendations. Being helpful to your existing network can increase your conversion rate tremendously.
  4. Prompt responses, feedback and proposals.

Before you even know it, you will be inviting people from your network to engage on a piece of content by:

  1. Inviting them to a relevant group.
  2. Tagging them on an informative post i.e. just add @ before their names in your comment or post.

Social Selling may need a lot of work but it isn’t painfully difficult. It cannot be captured in a single article but the above practices can lay a strong foundation to leapfrog rankings and trade ahead of the competition

For bespoke social media marketing advice to take full advantage of the opportunities available to you via #LinkedIn, schedule an initial phone consultation here:

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