Every New Year brings another chance to recognize areas for improvement and act on them. Better networking is an area where everyone can improve.
In a people business, financial advisors are much more successful if they have large networks of clients, prospects and business contacts. The better connected one is the better business success one will likely have.
When it comes to connecting with professionals, LinkedIn is likely the best tool, for a number of reasons:
• LinkedIn has over 200 million members worldwide.
• The network has members in 200 countries, with the U.S. topping the list with 74 million members.
• About two new members join LinkedIn every second (86,400 seconds per day equals 172,800 registrations per day)
Advisors no longer have to depend on randomly bumping into people at networking events to grow their practices. The Internet allows people to build new relationships online in a much more focused and effect way.
Here are three resolutions for increased success on LinkedIn in 2013:
1. Connect. Advisors should build strong networks.
A network’s strength is not 100% determined by the number of people one is connected to. Quality is more important that quantity.
Connecting with strangers can actually put your business at risk. You need to trust the people looking at your connections. Ignore invites from strangers. It is that simple.
On the other hand, make it a goal to build your network by 20 to 100 strong connections before winter is over. Browse recommendations from LinkedIn of who you might know, but also actively search for connections.
2. Congratulate. LinkedIn sends weekly updates of changes that have taken place in your network, such as when people get promoted or get new jobs. Take time to read these e-mails and send messages to those that have had changes.
Although these notices are helpful, it is easy to get too busy and fall behind keeping up with weekly e-mails. If that is the case, use the Year in Review tool from LinkedIn. It shows you all those who have had a LinkedIn profile change in a calendar year. Check 2012 and send personalized notes to contacts who've made a good career move.
3. Brand. LinkedIn profiles allow members to have their own Web site. It is a personalized site that tells your professional story. Sites like these may someday replace resumes.
Make sure your profile page creates a positive impression. Does it tell prospects know why you are better than your competitors? Do your differentiating factors pop off the page or are they buried in paragraphs of text?
More and more people are doing research online. If people are researching you, they will likely check out your LinkedIn profile, so make sure to get it right.
If you do not have a quality photo of yourself, you are making a bad first impression. It is worth hiring a photographer, as the old saying is very true—a picture tells a thousand words.