Networking on LinkedIn: Tips for Independent Agents
LinkedIn is king when it comes to online networking with fellow professionals. While other platforms with distinguishing features like NextDoor are cropping up, LinkedIn remains the dominant player (80% of social media B2B leads come from LinkedIn vs. 13% Twitter and 7% Facebook). Today we present helpful tips for newcomers and LinkedIn lovers alike.
Before diving into how to network on LinkedIn, let’s briefly explore why. The first—and likely biggest—reason to network on LinkedIn is for increased sales (networking produces an average 28% increase in sales according to surveyed executives). New sales can result from various networking efforts, from establishing referral relationships with P&C agents to becoming a preferred agent for an employer group transitioning retiring employees to Medicare plans. Additional benefits to LinkedIn networking include exposure to industry insights, solidifying your status as an expert in your field and increased brand awareness. Networking on LinkedIn is also a completely free marketing avenue to grow that—for the most part—doesn’t involve all the typical moving parts of compliance.
Shine! You want to look good when networking in person, and you want to look good networking online, too! Build your profile keeping in mind that you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Generate more views and interactions using a professional headshot. Use the Headline to let people know what you do and specialize in. Your LinkedIn Summary is a longer section for describing what you do well and how you can benefit potential clients and partners. Showcase your experience and ask others to write Recommendations that position you as an expert in the industry. Making your profile as complete as possible allows potential partners to research your qualifications without leaving the platform, increasing your chances of connecting.
Connect! You appear established in your industry when you have more than 500 connections on LinkedIn, though you want to avoid connecting blindly; connect with others who can provide valuable insights or with whom you can see yourself working. Always send a personalized note when making a connection request, rather than using canned greetings.
The ‘My Network’ section on LinkedIn appropriately presents many networking possibilities. Here, you can find and join LinkedIn ‘Groups’ related to the Medicare insurance industry, discover or post ‘Events’, follow relevant company ‘Pages’, or scroll to discover ‘People you may know.’
Share & Interact! Once you’ve made connections, it’s time to start building those relationships! Research your connections for common ground and talking points, reach out to them periodically if only to touch base, comment on posts, like and share relevant content, contribute to groups, join events and connect with attendees; follow company pages for employer groups, doctor offices, senior living facilities, etc. to identify opportunities and stay informed on recent activities and initiatives.
Publishing articles on the platform helps establish you as an authority and can result in more users finding you. The articles that get the most attention are those that entertain, inspire, teach, or tell a story—in that order. Use hashtags in your post when you publish your article to attract people interested in the topic. Respond promptly and professionally to those who comment on your posts.
Reciprocate! Potential connections are more likely to connect and engage when you approach the relationship with an attitude of “how can I benefit this individual”. Seek to help those you want to help you. People who send you referrals (or information, introductions, etc.) are more likely to continue doing so when their efforts are recognized and rewarded—even if you’re unable to immediately send a referral in return. There are several ways to you can give back to contributing partners on LinkedIn, including: inviting them to an event (as a guest, speaker, or co-host); introducing them to someone helpful; providing them with useful information or giveaways like free Medicare 101 booklets they can distribute to clients, employees, or colleagues; or highlighting their contribution or recent accomplishments in a dedicated post.
Networking on LinkedIn is a great way to expand your professional circle and grow important relationships in your own back yard and throughout the world. Approaching connections on LinkedIn with the goal to cultivate meaningful partnerships can lead to increased sales through referrals, making inroads with company decision-makers, identifying local or regional opportunities, and expanded brand awareness. Investing in LinkedIn networking is worth the effort.
As a National Marketing Organization that works with thousands of independent agents, we understand you must generate leads in order to grow your business. That’s why we work diligently to provide the resources necessary for successful marketing. If this information is valuable and you want to know more about the services we provide our Medicare agent partners, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 888-745-2320.