With a proliferation of mobile devices for each and every household — ranging from smartphones to tablets — social media has been stealing the limelight away from more traditional media and marketing. Financial advisors, however, often appear to be a more sedate and cautious breed, which begs the question “can social media be a valuable marketing tool for financial planners?”
The answer is a resounding Yes! … if done correctly.
It’s easy to get disconnected from who we are. A job is hardly fun anymore, if it’s just a job and not connected to what we love. Once we lose the connection, we’re not having much fun, not feeling like ourselves, and not as valuable to our clients. So, can social media be one way of keeping the connection?
Social media is really, just an expression of you on another channel. It’s pretty hard to outsource that! (Though it has probably crossed your mind once or twice!) Your personal brand is the essence of how everything works — online and offline, and if you don’t have a message to share, then… you DON’T have a message. Have a think about your message, your brand and what you’d like your story to look like.
Conventional websites often do not provide critical elements to allow prospective clients to make a decision to look further, and decide to engage. If 80% of our communication is nonverbal, it’s an important reason why using video on your website is such a powerful way to communicate.
Social media is ALL about conversations and relationships, not speeches or ads. And it’s easier to be honest when you’re being yourself. You want it to take your message, put it under the microscope, and amplify it to your target audience. It’s all about sharing you, not being all things to all people, but getting out what you’d like to say – to those who will be receptive. It’s about doing business with people who want to do business with you.
So what is social media?
Social media is about making the most of web-based platforms to share your content, opinions and experiences. Think Twitter, YouTube, Google+, Facebook, blogs, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, etc. It allows people to connect with others who share similar interests, and interact quickly and easily online, even anonymously if wanted. So how can all this work for financial advisors?
If you haven’t already, start by learning more about the various social media platforms by being a passive user, and just observing what others do. With Twitter for example, you might try and:
- download Twitter and begin exploring topics of interest and following digital influencers in your field
- When setting up your Twitter account, choose a name that fits logically with your business so you’re easily identified
- For finance professionals, type “finance” or “insurance” into the search area and see what comes up. Look for organizations you’re a member of: banks, insurance and finance companies you use in daily business; commentators, finance channels; media or industry experts. See what they have to say. Many financial advisors from around the world share content and you’re able to share or re-tweet this, even if you aren’t ready to start tweeting yourself
- Once you’ve set up Twitter and gained an understanding of how the platform works you’ll see how conversations get started. Throw caution to the wind – join in!
Or… you might choose to check out LinkedIn first:
- Create your personal profile on LinkedIn, arrange a great photo and connect with colleagues, associates, friends ,and clients within your network, helping to raise the profile of you and your business. If you allow access to your LinkedIn account, Nimble will do the hard work and locate your contacts for you and fill out a richly-detailed Contact Record.
- If you’re self-employed or run a business, also add a business page outlining your products and services and ensure colleagues join and follow.
Do a bit of research and see what you think is the best way to express your personal brand and focus on just one form of social media to start. Many businesses choose LinkedIn (often viewed as Facebook for professionals) to get started.
And don’t worry, if you make a mistake, you can close accounts, delete photos, and remove tweets.
How will social media fit into your overall plan?
Basically, make sure you have a plan before jumping in.
What do you want to achieve with Social media? Is it just to raise the profile of your business, or do you want to generate new leads every day of the week? These take very different strategies and management techniques.
How do you want social media to help achieve your business objectives? Do you want it to be a mix of you personally and your business? Or strictly business? Both have their benefits!
Your efforts shouldn’t be an ad hoc arrangement, but integrated into your broader business development activities and included in your marketing plan. Ensure you institute a social media policy for staff to follow, also.
When considering your social media objectives, it’s important to ensure they’re closely tied to your overall business goals. According to Wealth Professional, an adviser’s social media goal should be “to be recognized as a trusted, expert source who provides engaging, useful and relevant information.”
Wouldn’t you like to be that trusted source?
Amanda Cassar is passionate about making sure that Australians have a workable plan for their financial goals. She is on the team at Wealth Planning Partners.
Photo credit: By nottsexminer [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons