Becoming a trusted financial adviser is about much more than talking and offering advice; it’s about listening to your clients and understanding their needs. People will tell you when they’re ready to become a client, when they have more questions that need to be answered, and when they are ready to follow your suggestions… if you are paying attention. Social media hasn’t changed the need to listen, but it has changed where you do your “listening”.
A lot of the focus on social media is about how to share content, but what gets overlooked is your ability to hone in on what your network is sharing with you. For example, your LinkedIn Newsfeed is a fantastic aggregator of everything that is going on in your LinkedIn network. When you are connected to your prospects, clients, peers, and referral partners, a few minutes a day can keep you in the know and cue you in to important happenings in their professional lives. That’s what’s exciting about using social media for listening – the ability to leverage your time and find lots of information quickly and easily.
As your network grows to the hundreds and even thousands on LinkedIn, it can be a little overwhelming to sift through all of this information. That’s why the filters in the Newsfeed can be incredibly useful. They are accessed through the upper right hand of the Newsfeed – just hover your mouse over “All Updates”. You can choose which information you’d like to view, and you can even hide connections that “overpost” or customize what you see.
As you are developing your listening skills on LinkedIn, there are three filters that will make your life easier:
Shares: This is the no-brainer – anyone involved in client relationships or business development should look at this daily because this filter shows you the status updates of all of your 1st-level connections. Think about the updates you post – they are important to you or else you wouldn’t have posted them. Flip that around and you’ll realize that this is a golden opportunity to feel the pulse of your network in just a few minutes a day. Many of the status updates won’t be relevant to you, that’s OK. You’ll also find your connections asking questions, sharing opportunities, and giving you information that you can use to strengthen and bring value to your relationships.
Profiles: How would you like to know when one of your connections is going through a major life change like a promotion or a move to a different company? When they change their profile to reflect this, it shows up in the newsfeed. You have a perfect chance to reach out and say congratulations and offer to answer any questions that they might have. Or maybe they’ve changed their profile picture; reaching out to say “I like your new photo” can be a great way to maintain contact with them because we all like hearing that our picture looks good!
Companies: LinkedIn has made the Companies section more robust over the last year, and increasingly companies are taking advantage of the new features – including the ability to send updates through LinkedIn. Take this opportunity to keep in touch with companies that are relevant to your business. Do you have a clients who own companies or are executives at a firm in your area? You can get relevant information through your Newsfeed that can help you plan your next meeting. You can use the same idea if many of your clients are with a major employer in your area. You can also stay in touch with partner companies, service providers, and even your competition through the Companies tab.
These are just three of the areas that you can use to listen to what your network is talking about; we’re just scratching the surface. In the end, the more information you have when you are working with your prospects and clients, the more likely you are to find opportunities and convert those into business. Don’t get caught up in worrying about what to say on social media. Work on listening better!
This article originally ran at theDigitalFA. You can visit it here, and be sure to check out the site – it’s full of great ideas on building a digital presence for financial professionals (and the rest of us).