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LinkedIn: You Gotta Give Before You Can Get

A part of our series, Mastering LinkedIn

Prior to using LinkedIn or implementing any of the strategies referenced in this presentation, please consult with your firm’s legal and compliance teams about social media policies and required participation in social media programs.

We’re all familiar with the notion that in order to climb the corporate ladder, you need to put your interests ahead of everyone else’s. In other words, nice guys finish last. However, research by Adam Grant, a professor at The Wharton School, found that there are more givers at the top of organizations than takers. Why? Givers build a valuable network of grateful colleagues. Takers have success initially, but once their motives are clear, they pay a hefty price because people don’t want to work with them.

Being recognized as a giver also plays out in your LinkedIn prospecting. By giving, you’ll increase your chances of getting introductions from connections.

What’s Giving on LinkedIn?

On LinkedIn, “giving” means that you help others without expecting an immediate return. You can do this by focusing on your first degree connections, thinking about what they value, and then delivering that value. Five examples are:

  1. Offer networking support
  2. Offer your time
  3. Give small gifts
  4. Provide information
  5. Give verbal affirmation

Do You Use LinkedIn to Get Introductions?


The Oechsli Institute identified advisors who acquired new clients using LinkedIn. They call these advisors “influencers.” 74% of influencers get introductions by asking a connection personally (vs. 20% of non-influencers).1

Why Giving on LinkedIn Is Effective

If you’re using LinkedIn to grow your practice, your goal should be to get personal introductions to targeted prospects. Personal introductions are the number-one way affluent clients initially discover their financial advisor.2

Ask your LinkedIn first degree connections to introduce you to their connections. Kevin Nichols from The Oechsli Institute calls these people “connectors.” They are connections you know well, who are well-connected, and are avid LinkedIn users. You want them to see you as a giver on LinkedIn. Evaluate your first degree connections and identify those who you think can be your connectors.

If you request an introduction from a connector, will they automatically start introducing you to their LinkedIn connections? Maybe. But the better your relationship is with your connectors, the more likely they’ll be willing to introduce you. Just being connected on LinkedIn isn’t enough; strengthen your connector relationships with giving.


Find Prospects Through Your LinkedIn Connections


Connectors are first-degree LinkedIn connections you know well who are well-connected and are avid LinkedIn users. You can strength your relationship with these connectors by practicing giving activities.



5 Ways To Be a Giver on LinkedIn3

  1. Offer networking support
    Your connectors who are business owners are probably trying to grow their businesses also. Offer to introduce them to a few of your LinkedIn connections. Your connectors will be appreciative and will likely reciprocate by offering to introduce you to some of their connections. Eighty percent of influencers offered introductions to their LinkedIn connections.4

  2. Offer your time
    Identify connectors you want to develop social relationships with, then invite them to do something fun. For event ideas, check out this article. At these get-togethers, don’t talk too much business. It can send the wrong message and make your connector question your motives. Keep the conversation focused on your connector’s interests. If you have both a social and a business relationship with your connections, they’re more likely to introduce you to their clients (see graph below).

Spending Social Time With Connectors Can Boost Your Introductions5


When the relationship between advisors and clients was purely business, 57% percent of clients were willing to introduce the advisor to one of their connections. Seventy-seven percent of clients were willing if the they had both a business and social relationship with their advisors.

  1. Give Small Gifts
    Give small, personalized gifts to your connectors. The gifts shouldn’t be too expensive, but rather genuine tokens of appreciation Gift ideas include books related to their hobbies, pet accessories, or alumni items like a hat from their universities.

  2. Provide Information
    Occasionally send your connectors articles or resources you think they’ll enjoy. The articles can be related to their profession or to their personal interests (e.g. gardening, golf, or cooking). Consider an 80/20 mix, with 80% of your posts on non-business, emotionally-engaging content that your connectors care about. The other 20% of your posts can be about topics related to financial planning.6 See the graph below for the kinds of content influencers post on LinkedIn.

Types of Content Influencers Post7

symbol  48% Compliance approved materials

symbol  36% Interesting articles they read

symbol  29% Personal updates

symbol  22% Self generated content

symbol  20% Don’t post


  1. Give Verbal Affirmations
    Here are some ideas:

    Comment, like, or share your connectors’ LinkedIn posts (in compliance with firm’s social media policy, of course). If you’re concerned about compliance violations, select non-financial posts and engaging with them. Almost 80% of Influencers comment or like posts from their connections.8

    Check your notifications and newsfeed for birthdays, anniversaries, and new jobs. Congratulate your connection or wish them well on their special day. There are generic pre-populated messages you can send with one click, but your relationships will benefit from taking some extra time. Take an extra five or ten seconds to personalize these messages so they stand out from the other multitude that’s not differentiated. Jenkins asks which would you rather receive?

    • Happy Birthday!
    • Hey, John!! Happy Birthday!! Hope you are well. It's been a while. We should connect and catch up. I will be in touch next week. Have an awesome birthday!9

Is Being a Giver Really Worth It?

In a world of ever-pinging smartphones, it can be hard to maintain a standout social media presence. But the payoff for eking out such a presence can be huge. Luckily, you don’t have to post like crazy to outpace your competitors. Instead, you can focus on being a “giver” on LinkedIn by creating meaningful, personal posts to connect with clients and prospects. If your content is sincere and personalized, your connections won’t dismiss you as a spammer or a scammer in that endless stream of push notifications. They’ll become a valuable part of your network.

To summarize, We've covered:

  • What’s giving on LinkedIn?
  • Why giving on LinkedIn is effective
  • Give small gifts
  • 5 Ways to be a giver on LinkedIn
  • Your giver game plan

Will You Be a Giver or Taker on LinkedIn?

Like takers in the corporate world, if you only use LinkedIn to meet your prospecting goals, you may achieve some initial success. But once connectors notice that you’re only out for yourself, your prospecting efforts will fizzle. Rather, start being a giver and your connectors will likely be glad to help.


Next Steps:

  1. Within one week, evaluate your first degree connections and make a list of your connectors (people you know who are well-connected and avid LinkedIn users)
  2. Within two weeks, begin implementing Your Giver Game Plan
  3. Download or order our Mastering LinkedIn workbook



The best LinkedIn-using advisors who met all of the following criteria:

  • Used social medial regularly
  • Been introduced or referred through social media
  • Researched a client or prospect on social media
  • Posted updates regularly on social media
  • Acquired new business as a result of using social media
Consider emulating their LinkedIn best practices.



First-degree LinkedIn connections you know well, who are well-connected, and are avid LinkedIn users. Your goal is to get introduced to connector’s connections.

watering can

People who help others on LinkedIn without expecting an immediate return. Do this by focusing on your connectors, thinking about what they value, and then delivering that value.

1The Indispensable LinkedIn Sales Guide for Financial Advisors, Kevin Nichols and Matt Oechsli, 2015, Kindle Edition, 434. Most recent data available used.

2The Oechsli Institute Research, 2017.

3The Indispensable LinkedIn Sales Guide for Financial Advisors, Kevin Nichols and Matt Oechsli, 2015, Kindle Edition, 488-521. Most recent data available used.

4The Indispensable LinkedIn Sales Guide for Financial Advisors, Kevin Nichols and Matt Oechsli, 2015, Kindle Edition, 496. Most recent data available used.

5The Oechsli Institute Research, 2015. Most recent data available used.

6Four Hacks To Be a Better Human Advisor in a Digital World,, 12/6/17

7The Indispensable LinkedIn Sales Guide for Financial Advisors, Kevin Nichols and Matt Oechsli, 2015, Kindle Edition, 2320. Most recent data available used.

8The Indispensable LinkedIn Sales Guide for Financial Advisors, Kevin Nichols and Matt Oechsli, 2015, Kindle Edition, 2225. Most recent data available used.

9Don't say Happy Birthday on LinkedIn, Andrew Jenkins, LinkedIn Post, 2/23/16. Most recent data available used.


More on Mastering LinkedIn


The Oechsli Institute is not an affiliate or subsidiary of Hartford Funds.