I have a confession. I am not a super user of social media.
There’s a misconception in our industry that in order to be successful online, you have to strive to be a “fin-Twit” celebrity, garnering thousands of followers and having your posts go viral on a daily basis. It’s simply not true and not realistic. I have a personal Instagram profile for my family and friends, and I use LinkedIn and Twitter professionally. I’m not online all day, but I do enjoy interacting with these platforms because it enables me to connect with people, share my story, and initiate conversations. That’s success for me and my business. When I speak to advisors, I tell them that the secret to finding their success with social media is all about expressing who they are, what they do, who they do it for, and why they do it. Everything else flows from there.
Social media isn’t the answer for everyone, and that’s ok, too. Here are three questions we ask advisors who are either on the fence, have started some efforts, or who are contemplating investing more resources into social media marketing.
Question 1: Should you commit to using social media in your marketing efforts?
Let’s get it out there. Social media is a powerful communication platform, and one that most advisors are currently using in some form or another. It offers opportunities to create connections, build trust, establish our brands, build a community, and extend insight and access into who we are as people and professionals. And all without actually having to meet anyone in person!
All of these benefits require work on your part to achieve, so ask yourself these three questions:
- Are you looking to create meaningful connections to people and grow your audience?
- If you can picture your dream client, are they online on social media?
- Are you willing to commit to being consistent in how you leverage your social media channels?
If your answer is yes to all three, go on to question 2. If you’re not willing to not make that commitment, then maybe social media isn’t for you. That’s fine. Rather than step halfway into something and abandon it, or start something without a clear picture of your goals or your audience, it may be better just to sit this one out for now.
Question 2: What’s your mindset for success?
How we think about successful social media marketing is just as important as execution. In our industry, our experience is that advisors are looking for a formulaic approach – an equation for positive ROI. They want to know how many posts they should do a week, the optimal times during the day to post, etc. The truth is that there’s no cookie cutter way to get this right, and that’s because neither the advisor nor their target audience is generic. Here are three things to remember to get in the right mindset:
- Lead with authenticity. This feels obvious, but it’s not always easy. Just remember that your clients didn’t choose to work with you because of a persona, or even a brand. They chose you because of how you make them feel and because you’ve built a relationship that is unique and rewarding.
- Be targeted and focus on the right people. You don’t need to reach 10,000 people in your social media efforts. You don’t need a million followers. Rather than focus on reach, focus on targeting. How about getting in front of 10 people where two of those would make ideal clients?
- Define success and measure what matters. How are you driving to more revenue? Is it net new assets under management? Greater enterprise value? Don’t pay that much attention to metrics like click rates and an increase in followers that don’t drive to your bottom line of commercial success.
Question 3: How do I get started with a strategic framework for success?
Once you’ve got the right mindset, now it’s time to start engaging in social media or researching how you can improve on your current efforts. To help you in the tactical execution of social media, I always tell advisors to start with a visualization exercise. Ask these two questions and write down your answers:
- What is the change I am trying to create for clients and prospects?
- Who am I trying to reach in this desire to create change?
The change itself is part of your unique value proposition. Maybe it’s reducing stress and giving people peace of mind about their finances. Maybe it’s helping to educate them in an uncertain market. Whatever it is, write it down! What’s interesting is that it’s less about demographics and more about behavior. How do they make buying decisions? How do they communicate? What are their fears about their finances and about the future? What brings them joy? All of this information feeds into building your framework.
You’ve likely already identified the who in this exercise. You know your clients and you have a clear vision of your ideal client. So ask yourself, where are they online? Where do they go for information? Don’t worry about being on every single platform. Focus on one platform and start small. If you’re unsure about what type of content to create, why not start by answering the top ten questions that you most receive from clients and prospects? If you’re comfortable writing, you could turn this into blogs, and if you’d prefer, record audio notes or short videos. Mastering content on the one platform you choose is going to help you build confidence.
Once you start creating content and posting it, don’t wait too long before you start asking for feedback. Are your clients seeing your posts? What are their thoughts? If they’re not seeing your posts, ask them where they go for their information.
Lastly, it’s important to remember that mastering social media is an art form, and it’s absolutely useful to call in the professionals. Whether it’s within your professional or personal network or you hire a third-party coach, you only stand to benefit from honest feedback in your journey to creating a successful social media strategy.
CLICK HERE for a 5-point worksheet to help you get started.