It’s time to plug your practice into social media.
Yes, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Do you like taking pictures? Give Instagram a shot, too. Wooing millennials and Gen X? Try out Snapchat. Have videos to share? Try posting to YouTube.
Break down the social media preconceptions you may have. It’s OK to start small. Figure out what platform you’re most comfortable with and get started. These days, most firms and broker-dealers are allowing social media, but check with your compliance officer to make sure you understand the rules of engagement. Take any training offered so you can use social media appropriately and meet your firm’s standards, and check that B-D surveillance tools are in place for those channels you want to use. LinkedIn is the most common platform for business-related engagement, but Facebook and Twitter are also popular channels for your clients and prospects.
Incorporate your name and your practice name when setting up pages. You want to align your social media with your website so that you’re easily found and identifiable to clients, prospects and even search engines. Be sure to populate your address, email and phone number, too. Make the account public so your clients and community contacts can share your information with others. Think of your social media outreach as another digital business card.
Social media marketing can be less obtrusive than emailing, especially in the eyes of younger clients. Consider the medium an equivalent to cold calling. It has the potential to provide visibility and broaden your referral network, as long as you appear trustworthy and genuine. According to Constant Contact, an online marketing company, we spend just under two hours a day on social media, which equates to about 5.5 years over a lifetime. (By comparison, we spend just 3.5 years eating and drinking and 6 months doing laundry!) This cost-effective and time-efficient marketing method can highlight your business and reach audiences in ways traditional methods can’t achieve. Be sure you are following best practices per your compliance department.
What should you be sharing? A mix of content: educational pieces, a concept video, an interesting stat. A photo of you and your staff enjoying donuts and coffee on a Friday morning. (Be sure to understand the evolving FINRA rules regarding live streaming and texting, should you wish to go down those paths.)
Educate and engage with your followers and fans; keep them interested and wanting more. Just be sure to stay neutral so you don’t alienate your followers. It’s probably best to avoid politics, religion and passionate sports posts or keep them to a minimum. Carve out a few minutes each day to figure out what your engagement piece will be. Regardless of the content, be sure to respond to comments you may receive. These readers become potential leads, which generates business growth. Just don’t be salesy in your approach. Post information that provides a tip, answers a question, solves a problem – but don’t push products.
Social media marketing for financial advisors is no longer in the future. Don’t be left behind because you are unwilling to take a risk with social media. Take a class, ask your kids, or hire a staffer who can help you understand the technology and help you come up with ideas, or even craft posts.