Making the most of LinkedIn during busy season
January 17, 2023
During busy season, finding time to network can be difficult, so we often push it to the back burner. However, even during this time of the year, LinkedIn is an easy tool for staying connected with referral partners, clients and prospects to keep those relationships cooking while your time is limited.
To receive the most benefits from LinkedIn, consider these recommendations for success during busy season.
1. Make sure your profile is complete
The very first thing to do if you would like LinkedIn to help you build your business is to fully complete your profile. The simple fact is that we live in a Google society, and regardless of whether you get all your new business from referrals, those prospects are still going to Google your name first before they contact you. Because LinkedIn is a highly respected social media site, your LinkedIn profile will come up in search results. Therefore, your LinkedIn profile has the ability to help you — or hurt you — depending on the first impression your profile gives.
Here is a quick punch list to ensure that your profile is representing you correctly:
- Have a professional, updated picture as your profile photo.
- Ensure that your profile’s banner photo is professional, and ideally, an image that showcases your firm’s brand.
- Clearly describe what you do and who you help in your About section.
- Complete your Experience section so it describes your current position as well as the past few positions you’ve held.
2. Share valuable content
While 80% of new business for professional service providers comes from referrals, 67% of those decisions are usually made based on the credibility you already have with your prospects. Simply said, your referral sources will not refer you and prospects will not buy from you unless they see you as trustworthy. By consistently sharing valuable information to your network via LinkedIn status updates, you are providing thought leadership to your network, and creating credibility for yourself at the same time.
If you are looking for content to share, you can review your firm’s LinkedIn company page for ideas, or share blog content from your firm’s website. If your firm doesn’t have a blog or a company page, then look at content your state society is sharing. For example, the Minnesota Society of CPAs (MNCPA) shares content every day at 2:30 p.m. via the This Just In e-newsletter
— and it also has excellent content on their website under the News and Resources
section. We recommend updating your status at least once a week. Even better, shoot for posting updates 2–3 times per week.
3. Comment, like and share
In my opinion, the best way to network on LinkedIn actually takes the least amount of time. This one is perfect to keep in mind for busy season! All you need to do is engage with your connections on LinkedIn’s feed. What do I mean by that? Once a day, go into LinkedIn’s activity feed and like, comment and/or reshare a few posts. When doing so, others are alerted of your activity via their notifications.
Likes are simple and easy, but LinkedIn is at its best when personal engagement, added vantage points or resources are shared. Comments can be as simple as “congratulations!” or “thank you for sharing,” but those that thoughtfully engage with other individuals show the topic as one where you wish to be part of the dialogue. Resharing a post with your LinkedIn network is a powerful endorsement, but don’t waste the opportunity to reshare without briefly explaining to your network why you found the post valuable. I’ve read that likes and comments are more likely than reshares to show up in your connections’ feeds. Is this true? It doesn’t really matter. Your activity will always bring more views to your own profile, so the point is simply to engage!
4. Follow your client’s companies
Not only do you want to connect with your clients online, but you also want to make sure you are following their companies online as well. It’s a good idea to follow your prospects on LinkedIn. By doing this, you can subtlety show them your support and stay informed on their business at the same time.
5. Conduct research
LinkedIn can be a valuable resource for doing research on your prospects, referral sources, competitors and recruits. Before you meet with anyone, take five minutes to review their LinkedIn profile. Look for any connections in common, hobbies, school, church denominations or any shared area of interest. You’d be surprised at how often a conversation can be started and depth can be achieved based on information you gleaned from quick LinkedIn research.
You can also use LinkedIn to strategically search your connections’ connections to ask for potential introductions to people or companies you’re targeting. Although this tactic is a great method for leads, few accountants take the time to follow through.
6. Extra credit
This tactic was used by some of my accounting clients during the pandemic. What they did was think about the types of professionals they’d like to add to their network, and then search for those professionals on LinkedIn. After they found people who met their criteria, they requested to connect with them. The requests included a brief note of introduction stating why they were hoping to connect (i.e., they want to add them to their network to potentially become referral sources for one another). If the other person was willing to connect and seemed interested in learning more, they scheduled a Zoom call to chat about each other’s practices and services and ideal clients.
One of the most successful case studies I’ve seen is where an accountant who worked in a trust and estates practice sent out invites to estate planning attorneys. After a couple of months of consistently connecting with local estate planning attorneys, she was able to increase her own practice’s new business substantially because she had made so many new referral sources connections using LinkedIn.
By following these recommendations, you’ll have the opportunity to develop and maintain relationships with people even during busy season. Building a few minutes of LinkedIn time into your daily and weekly routines will help you gain momentum and connections all year round. It will also be easier to continue maximizing your networking efforts after busy season because of all of the good habits you’ve created on LinkedIn.
Kristy Gusick is the founder of Align Marketing Group where she and her team specialize in supporting accounting and financial advisory firms with their marketing initiatives. You can reach Kristy at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 651-592-4662.