To reach the right audiences for your business needs, setting up a robust profile and developing applicable campaigns are key.
LinkedIn is an effective platform for insurance professionals to promote their expertise and generate leads. With more than 180 million LinkedIn members in the U.S., there is a major opportunity for business growth. However, many agents today merely use the social network to make professional connections without leveraging its full potential.
To reach the right audiences for your business needs, setting up a robust profile and developing applicable campaigns are key. Here are four steps to foster better connections and more effectively harness the power of LinkedIn:
1) Optimize your profile. LinkedIn functions as a search engine to help users find and connect with professionals, no matter their location, industry or role. Specific keywords that support your credibility make your profile easier to find. The most important sections to place these keywords in your LinkedIn profile include your job title, professional summary and your skills and endorsements.
For better visibility, your LinkedIn profile should contain relevant keywords and phrases people are likely to use when seeking an insurance agent. Therefore, it is a smart move to specify the type of insurance you provide rather than listing your title simply as “insurance agent." It is also important to list your real location, as many people search for insurance options based on where they live by including their city or the phrase “near me" in the query.
A polished profile with up-to-date information is essential for potential leads to perceive you as a legitimate, trustworthy partner. A professional headshot, a summary that highlights your top skills and experiences, and a list of relevant certifications help promote your authority.
2) Position yourself as a thought leader. LinkedIn allows users to showcase their expert knowledge and position themselves as a source of valuable information in the insurance world. If you specialize in serving a particular market segment, such as farmers or small businesses, they can share content related to solutions around relevant issues, such as equipment maintenance or employee safety measures. Timely articles and original blog posts are great ways to demonstrate passion and drive conversions.
LinkedIn also offers several interactive post options that can help users engage with others as well as gain valuable insights into who is viewing their content. For example, polls can help uncover industry trends, gather feedback on products and services, and gain a better understanding of what people are looking for.
Most importantly, polls are a straightforward way to start conversations with current customers and prospective leads.
3) Build relationships, not just connections. LinkedIn was created specifically for the purpose of networking, recruiting and job seeking. The platform provides insurance agents and other industry professionals with the ability to strategically research new clients and pinpoint target audiences to be more efficient with their outreach. If you are an employee benefits broker, for example, you can easily search for and connect with HR decision makers.
Users can also import their current contacts to build or expand their network based on people they already know. Additionally, when viewing someone's profile, LinkedIn reveals mutual connections so you can discern how you may know the person. This introspective feature is a valuable avenue to be introduced to more prospects.
LinkedIn is built for connecting and building relationships over time, unlike cold call sales pitches. Avoid behaviors such as sending direct messages to brand new connections to schedule a meeting. Instead, take the time to get to know your potential customers and their pain points, and build rapport by discovering commonalities. For instance, if you are alumni of the same college or involved in the same charitable organization, these are more authentic and personal conversation starters that lead to a better chance of conversion.
4) Run paid campaigns. LinkedIn advertisements are another way to kickstart your lead generation efforts. Marketers see up to two times higher conversion rates on the platform when they implement paid ads, according to LinkedIn.
One of the biggest benefits of LinkedIn campaigns is the ability to manually build ultra-specific target audiences, resulting in greater returns on investment and less time spent chasing unfit leads. These campaigns can aid thought leadership content or navigate users to a form that is pre-populated with data from their LinkedIn profile.
While it may seem like a daunting, time-consuming task, paid LinkedIn campaigns are affordable and easy to set up and monitor. However, these campaigns are rarely a one-and-done execution. Tracking pixels, also known as tags, are lines of code embedded into a website's backend that collect user data to provide a deeper level of engagement and website activity. The LinkedIn Insight Tag allows you to retarget specific visitors who interact with your ads, thereby moving them through the sales funnel.
With these initiatives, you can turn your LinkedIn profile into a networking powerhouse to discover and attract new leads. With countless opportunities to connect with the right people, in addition to the sheer amount of valuable data at your fingertips, LinkedIn is a worthy platform for your lead generation strategy.
Josh Arter is the director of social media at STIR Advertising & Integrated Messaging, an independent full-service marketing communications agency in Milwaukee.