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This is the year to dedicate more time and attention to LinkedIn, using it to connect with your clients and grow your practice.Tero Vesalainen/iStockPhoto / Getty Images

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Last year, Bloomberg declared LinkedIn to be “cool.” So did Axios. And Slate. Even Snoop Dogg joined.

Once synonymous with career change notifications and conference selfies, the social media platform is having a moment similar to what Facebook experienced more than 15 years ago – and it’s easy to see why: compared with other major social media platforms, there’s a noticeable lack of trolls and hate speech.

While not perfect, LinkedIn is a “safe” space in which you can reasonably expect others to act in a professional manner. And with the ability to follow thought leaders, it’s also a space in which you can receive reliable information from a variety of people – both inside and outside your “network.”

But it can be leveraged to do so much more.

This is the year to dedicate more time and attention to LinkedIn, using it to connect with your clients and grow your practice.

Before using the platform to prospect, it’s worth taking the time to review your profile to make sure it’s optimized based on LinkedIn’s best practices. From making sure your profile picture is up to date to turning on “creator mode” and linking your website (along with gaining access to additional tools and features to grow your audience), there are several steps to ensure your profile is optimized.

Once your profile is ready, here are three ways to begin prospecting on LinkedIn.

1. Recognize you are an influencer

When we think of influencers, we generally think of what an influencer does on other platforms such as Instagram or TikTok – selling exotic vacations or unboxing cutting-edge products. On LinkedIn, what you’re “selling” is your thought leadership.

You’ve spent years – maybe even your entire career – cultivating experience and knowledge. You’ve been through the highs and lows of the markets, including world-changing events, and have come out of it all for the better. Investors want to hear what you have to say and know your story. The advisory business is built on trust, and LinkedIn is the perfect way to turn that experience into trusted content.

There might be some apprehension around posting content, whether due to writer’s block or imposter syndrome. Regardless of the reason, you don’t need to overthink it, and here’s why: on social media, volume and frequency are king.

Still, if consistent daily posting sounds intimidating, LinkedIn offers a feature to schedule posts weeks to months in advance. To be efficient with your time and avoid staring at the blinking cursor, you can prepare your content in advance.

LinkedIn also rewards consistent posting with an extended reach that increases your overall impressions. The good news is your content doesn’t need to be long. Whether you choose long- or short-form writing or opt for video or audio, all that matters is you’re posting consistently every day or every other day.

So, find the medium that works best for you, because your comfort with it will come through in your posts and will attract the right audience.

2. Think of LinkedIn as an enormous 24/7 conference

There’s the main stage of headline speakers, smaller breakout sessions, people that you “bump” into (through your feed), and sponsors (ads). The best part of this analogy is that everyone has a stage, including you – if you’re compelling enough, you will attract an audience.

And much like a conference, the more you interact with everyone around you, the greater your benefits will be. Liking a post is the bare minimum of value that LinkedIn rewards, but you can maximize your exposure through different types of engagement:

  • Choosing a reaction other than the general “Like” (Celebrate, Support, Love, Insightful, Funny).
  • Commenting on posts (even if you don’t actually know the person).
  • Reposting interesting or relevant articles to your feed.

A combination of these types of engagement will put you into other people’s feeds, creating opportunities for connection.

3. Leverage the platform’s prospecting tools

Explore the available tools to help with your prospecting efforts. There are costs associated with them, but they’re minimal.

The most popular tool to start with is LinkedIn Sales Navigator. Embedded into the platform, it offers features such as custom-targeted direct messaging to help you manage the curated lists you develop. It’s a powerful tool that has been designed to maximize LinkedIn for sales teams. With three tiers to choose from, there are features in each that may appeal to you, but the core one should be sufficient to start.

You can also look at third-party tools, from lead generation tools such as Taplio to automation ones such as Dux-Soup. A simple Google search will show you more than a dozen additional options. There is a caveat, though – third-party tools are frowned upon from LinkedIn’s perspective, as the platform wants you to use its proprietary software. It’s best to start with what LinkedIn offers, discover where the limitations are for your practice, and then investigate which tools can solve them.

The bottom line

If you’re looking to maximize everything LinkedIn has to offer, it’s time to dust off your profile and move beyond your occasional post of attending a conference or liking someone’s career change. Invest the time consistently in the newest opportunity to grow your practice. Between an hour or two a week should be a good start.

Now, if you could please like and share this article on LinkedIn, that would be very much appreciated.

Matt Coyle is chief customer experience officer at Purpose Unlimited in Toronto.

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