Making the most of LinkedIn

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43486899_SThe insurance industry was slow to warm up to social media as a tool for business development and networking, and perhaps for good reason: The term “social media” conjures the digital social life, where people share jokes, biting comments and videos of their pets chasing their tails. But social media is a much bigger tent, and in the B2B corner, LinkedIn is obviously the place to be. With more than 500 million users in more than 200 countries and territories, it’s the world’s largest professional network.

If you’re new to LinkedIn or want to be more adept at using it to build your business, this webinar for the Target Markets Program Administrators Association is an excellent place to start. Brynne Tillman, author of The LinkedIn Sales Playbook and the webinar instructor, says that 9 out of 10 people that you give your business card to will visit your LinkedIn profile before they visit your website!

Want to know one of the best ways to meet others in the industry, learn a ton and ultimately become the expert others turn to for insight? Join industry groups. These are powerful forums for information and referrals from people who share your professional interests. Here are a few of the best groups for those in the commercial property and casualty industry:

Insurance Professionals. This group has more than 178,000 members, and while its focus is rather broad, it’s one of the oldest industry groups on LinkedIn. It claims to be the largest industry group on the platform.

Excess and Surplus Lines Professionals. This group is more narrow, with just over 6,000 members, and a more specific interest: surplus lines.

Commercial Insurance Industry Executives. Another group that’s not huge, this one is for pretty much everyone in commercial insurance — from sales to underwriting and claims. It has nearly 13,000 members.

Wholesale and MGA Insurance Professional Network. The group taps into more than 30 news feeds from a variety of sources. It’s small, with about 5,500 members.

Global Insurance Network. If you’re interested in the international insurance industry, this group is a good one. It has nearly 79,000 members.

Insurance Journal. Powered by the national magazine Insurance Journal, this group is great for news and in-depth content. It has nearly 91,000 members.