Ten or so years ago, at the beginning of the social craze, the marketing rally cry was “Join the Conversation!” Experts pointed to the benefits of brand engagement, community interaction, and the once in a lifetime opportunity to go viral.
Value in the social world was associated with followers, likes and retweets. Frankly, that put a lot of folks off. How does this rah-rah cocktail party atmosphere create sales? Sprinkle in the regulation and compliance issues we face in the financial services industry and for most of us, social was a non-starter.
Even now, a fairly large group of financial professionals are only able to have a static LinkedIn profile. Guess what? Even if all you do is maximize your profile and use LinkedIn to help grow your connections, you can rock your sales with Social Selling.
When I speak and teach on the world of social, I start with LinkedIn for a variety of reasons:
- A LinkedIn profile is easy to create and maintain
- The pace is more manageable than Twitter
- The site is very Googleicious (meaning it aids in search engine optimization)
- Over 30 percent of American adults with annual household incomes over $100,000 use LinkedIn (check out this source for more amazing LinkedIn stats)
- More than 300 million people have a LinkedIn profile; one out of three professionals on the planet has a LinkedIn profile
- Business people use the site, and 35 percent of users access LinkedIn every day
- Finally, most broker/dealers allow for, at minimum, a static profile!
I know, some of your are saying, “but what about compliance, Sheri?” My response: Don’t let compliance get in your way of some awesome competitive information; just create an optimized LinkedIn profile, run it by compliance, and then do what you can to grow your network.
In other words, pretend LinkedIn is a series of rolodexes. You don’t need to do the social stuff. Do sales instead. Then dive into the Advanced Search function. You can always take your activity to the next level, but for now, don’t worry about doing everything.
Take baby steps. Because, frankly, if you don’t engage just a little bit in the digital space you will get left behind in the dial-up world. Like it or not, some of your competitors are taking full advantage of Social Selling.
So don’t bury your head in the sand and hope social media goes away. Don’t point to compliance worries as a barrier. Do make the leap and try out the waters. I promise, you won’t drown in the deep end of the social media pool!