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Linked-In or Linked-Out?

Linked-In provides a ready-made channel to connect with industry peers, professionals and potential clients but requires commitment, says Tanith Harding of Mitchell Moneypenny

There are so many different forms of social media available now that even the most social savvy among us can be left with a spinning head when deciding which platforms are right for their particular business. Financial advisers, understandably due to compliance issues, have been more cautious than most in their approach to social media in general. It may be surprising then to know that a report from Linked-In from January 2013 told us that, despite the worries about social media, financial services is the second largest industry using the site, with nearly 2.03 million users.

Great news indeed then that so many financial services firms have taken steps to use this fantastic business tool, but how many users are missing out on the key benefits of an online presence with Linked-In? It would seem on closer inspection, that whilst there are indeed excellent examples of usage across the industry, that many ‘users’ have done little more than upload a picture and add a few snippets of employment history. This confusion that Linked-In is little more than just an online CV will undoubtedly mean that businesses are failing to utilise the functionality of the site and, therefore, missing out on major lead generation and networking opportunities.

Limited business access

Linked-In is widely regarded as the most professional business networking platforms of all the social media sites and therefore a presence in the form of a business page or at the very least a business profile is important for sharing company news and displaying your brand. Working with the Linked-In business pages can be a little frustrating as you are currently unable to navigate the site effectively as your company page. This inability to move around, comment and like other business pages makes it difficult to draw a following and encourage interactions on its own. For this reason business owners and employees need to do the networking on the company’s behalf.

Make the connection

The first hurdle we must cross is the hesitance to connect and the question of whether it is indeed ‘appropriate’… the simple answer is yes! Upon meeting someone that you may possibly do, or like to do, business with in the future the first thing to do on returning to the office is send a connection request. This is a good early demonstration of commitment to business possibilities and can make potential connections realise that you are dedicated to giving a professional yet social service.

Surely a site that beckons with the tag line, ‘Connect, share ideas and discover opportunities’ should be enough to make anyone realise that increasing the amount of connections in existence can only be a positive step? The next thing is to ensure that profiles are up to date, easy to find and inviting to read. This applies to business pages also which should be frequently updated with company news and not just left to stagnate.

Keep up your connections

Ensuring regular visits and interaction with connections via the home feed doesn’t need to take up too much time but will make sure that current connections feel valued. A great way to seek out new connections, demonstrate thought leadership and join in new conversations is via Linked-In Groups. Looking for groups within the industry to seek out conversations related to business interests and joining regularly in the conversations is a great way to make connections that would otherwise not be possible whilst also demonstrating knowledge within your field. Although many people tend to join groups when they start using Linked-In, many fail to keep up regular visits and so miss out on opportunities that could make a difference.

It pays to regularly review our social assets and make sure that we were getting the very best out of them? It also requires a commitment to stay Linked-In.

Tanith Harding is head of Social Media at Mitchell Moneypenny

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