We know that LinkedIn is a powerful networking platform for advisors, given that one in three professionals worldwide have profiles. The Pew Research Center surveys show that the average user is 44 years old, the average income is $109,000, and the average investable asset value is over $250,000.
If your new client account minimum is above $250,000, consider that 26% of ultra-high-net-worth investors also use LinkedIn. As the Great Transfer of Wealth begins, LinkedIn is becoming more important for your legacy plan, with the fastest growing segment being Millennials.
LinkedIn offers four main uses for advisors:
- It’s your online resume
- It’s an online Rolodex of your network
- It’s a powerful search tool to find and connect with qualified prospects
- It’s a publishing platform that allows you to share your expertise
The Problem that LinkedIn Solves
Remember the old days when you would exchange business cards with a contact at a networking event or on the golf course so that you could refer business to one another in the future? The problem with that practice is that once your contact changed companies, the business card was rendered useless. Because workers change jobs more often today than they did years ago, this problem has been magnified.
LinkedIn offers a solution to this problem, allowing you to virtually exchange business cards and stay in touch no matter the career transitions that you or your connection make. In fact, LinkedIn will let you know each time one of your connections changes companies so you can reach out and congratulate them, keep in touch, and perhaps ask if they have rolled over their old 401(k).
By connecting with your network on LinkedIn, you can stay in touch, grow your influence, share your expertise, and ask for introductions. But if you’ve spent any time on LinkedIn, you’ve probably been solicited with offers to upgrade to LinkedIn Premium.
What is LinkedIn Premium?
LinkedIn Premium is a paid LinkedIn membership that offers benefits above the free version. There are four versions of LinkedIn Premium, depending on if you’re a job seeker, a sales rep, a recruiter, or an advertiser. Fees associated with LinkedIn Premium accounts range from $30 per month for job seekers to $150 per month for recruiters.
LinkedIn Premium is a subscription-based service that “unlocks” special features on LinkedIn including:
- An enhanced profile with a larger photo and headline
- The ability to see who has viewed your profile
- Advanced search criteria
- Between 3 and 30 InMail Credits
- Up to 10 saved searches
Should You Upgrade?
The drawback to LinkedIn Premium for financial advisors is that the features focus on connecting with those you don’t already know. For most advisors, cold messaging on LinkedIn is not as effective as relying on referrals from their network or asking for an introduction from someone they know.
Advanced search capabilities are helpful for identifying qualified prospects, but the free version of LinkedIn allows you to search by criteria including current company, industry, and job title. LinkedIn Premium search criteria such as function and seniority level can be accessed for free by using keywords like “executive” or “manager” to target those segments.
InMail Messages are undoubtedly valuable and can be used to contact prospects or centers of influence that you’re not connected with. However, InMail Messages are easily ignored and LinkedIn no longer credits back InMail Messages that are not answered. At a price of $10 per message, advisors may have a higher ROI with other marketing efforts.
Some experts point to the LinkedIn Premium profile badge as a vanity cost and data on the renewal rates for premium subscriptions has not been published. However, because the LinkedIn platform was built primarily for job seekers and recruiters, it makes sense that they would benefit the most from LinkedIn Premium memberships.
For financial advisors looking to expand their network, a better use of time and resources may be to use the generous Basic LinkedIn features and to send thoughtful connection requests to members with a mutual acquaintance, which continues to be free. For more LinkedIn Quick Tips, check out The 2016 LinkedIn Guide for Financial Advisors, available on Amazon now!