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Staff Reporter 5 minute read

Being active on LinkedIn is a great way to begin building the foundations of a good relationship with your clients and others in the broking industry 

Social networking websites are one of the most cost-effective ways in which to engage with clients and prospects.

Any modern business would be foolish not to have some form of social media presence, and using professional networking website LinkedIn is just one of the many channels that can be used to connect both with clients and peers online.

Posting updates and making connections can be useful in helping to build a reputation for being willing to engage, for both individual brokers and businesses.

A RANGE OF BENEFITS

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LinkedIn has a more professional, business focus and tone than its online networking counterparts Facebook and Twitter, although like Facebook, LinkedIn members have a profile and a space on which they can share updates, information, opinions and more.

Frequently used to connect to other professionals or companies in the member’s industry, the individual profile is effectively an online resume, often with previous professional experience and jobs held outlined. The member’s ‘Connections’ – like Facebook ‘Friends’ – are also visible.

Meanwhile, company profiles allow for a summary of products and services, news updates and other company information.

According to Jeremy Fisher, managing director at 1st Street Home Loans, there are several ways for brokers to use LinkedIn as a marketing tool.

“Professionals can be messaged or emailed directly for direct marketing uses, advertising can be placed on the LinkedIn website itself and we can market straight to our followers with page updates,” Mr Fisher explains.

“1st Street uses LinkedIn to stay in touch with the followers on our company page. We use it to search for other professionals and we use it to stay up to date with other companies we follow.”

Paul Smith of Loan Market says LinkedIn can also be very valuable for recruitment, brand development and – most importantly – listening.

“Some of the best insights you can get come from reading and listening to what people are passionate about,” he says.

“If a broker has a website with a blogging or news sharing feature, those posts can be used as updates on the LinkedIn newsfeed. This serves two purposes: you’re sharing your broking expertise and you’re driving traffic to your website.”

MAKING YOURSELF KNOWN

One of the primary benefits of using LinkedIn is that your profile will rank highly in Google searches, making your business more accessible to the public.

“Because LinkedIn ranks so well in Google searches, there are plenty of areas for brokers to optimise their profile in order to appear in search results,” he explains. “Often, it’s the simplest exercises and updates that can make the difference between your page showing up ahead of others.”

Loan Market broker Marios Rokka uses LinkedIn at a more personal level to get his message across both to clients and to other professionals.

“I use it to source out or find people that I want to either do business with, or the people that I already have as clients or know,” Mr Rokka says.

“I try to push out messages of value rather than just sales messages. We go back to how we’ve helped people, or ideas that we’ve come up with. I share strategies and thoughts within the group.”

Mr Rokka tries to update his page or to post something new at least once a week, but is extremely mindful of what he posts: “I don’t use other sources of social media because I don’t think we’re at a level where we can use it effectively,” he says.

“We’ve got a profile on Facebook, but we don’t actively do anything with it. I don’t want to do something wrong, then go back and think, ‘Oh jeez, we messed up there’. So we’ll get it right with LinkedIn, then we’ll get Facebook up and running as well and try and do it the right way.”

Mr Smith also believes it is important to be mindful of your social networking platforms as a company.

“It can be tricky to manage multiple social media accounts, not just simultaneously but also in collaboration,” he says. “One of the goals of social media is to raise the profile of your business and, in turn, to generate leads from that exposure.

“I use LinkedIn to drive traffic back to Loan Market’s website and the websites of my mortgage brokers.”

It’s important to manage your online presence carefully to ensure effectiveness, Mr Smith adds. “With other social media sources, like Facebook or Twitter, you’re dealing with different Friends and Followers and you’re competing with different types of conversation.

“The updates you share on LinkedIn may not be appreciated in the same way as your Facebook Friends [would respond to them],” he warns.

ENGAGING WITH CLIENTS

The brokers with whom The Adviser spoke use LinkedIn to connect with a range of peers and customers. According to Mr Fisher, the medium is not only a great tool to promote a business, but also to locate people with whom brokers want to deal.

“Using LinkedIn, we can locate someone in a particular role or with a certain specialisation who is already associated with one of our colleagues and may also have a reference. We have found that this has made for better and more successful new working relationships,” he says.

Mr Rokka also connects with a mix of colleagues, other professionals and clients. “I like to see what other people are discussing and talking about. I seek connections with people when I value what they have to say,” he says.

Meanwhile, Mr Smith emphasises the importance of maintaining professional relationships with clients. “Your connections are the biggest asset of your LinkedIn profile,” he says. “Connecting with the right people is key to making sure your online efforts are hitting the right audience.

“I believe LinkedIn is the best social media avenue for brokers to share their insights and expertise because they’re connecting with people in a professional and business capacity. It’s a great tool for networking with a variety of people who can benefit from you sharing information with them.”

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