Social Media – Get Your Priorities Straight
There is a lot of discussion about the use of social media by advisors.
Let me throw you a curve. You probably think that as a consultant and business coach for financial advisors, I should be standing on a soap box and shouting out all the benefits of social media for your business.
I am an early adopter. I love technology. I love learning new software programs.
I bought my first computer in 1985 for $8,000 and when I got it home, I found out that it didn’t have any software loaded and I needed to try to find programs that would make it a worthwhile purchase.
I currently use an iMac, have a MacBook Pro and an iPhone. I looked at an iPad and decided that I didn’t need one and bought a Kobo Reader instead and have Kindle on my iPhone. I’m not sure I made the right decisions but I do have use of an iPad anytime I want and never use it. I do think, however, that they are great for client presentations and are worthwhile for advisors.
I have two WordPress websites: www.synchronicity.ca and www.bobsimpson.ca. I am a very active blogger. I try to write two to three blogs per week on www.synchronicity.ca and my personal site has been quiet since we re-launched www.synchronicity.ca late last year. I have published one eBook this year and am working on my second.
I have an account with Audbile.com and have downloaded over 80 audiobooks since 2005. I used a VOIP phone line almost 10 years ago and then abandoned it but just went back to it at the beginning of the year. I use GoToMeeting extensively.
I have an account with LinkedIn (499 connections), where I run a group called Advisor Collaboration and am currently experimenting with LinkedIn Ads, which I think is way too expensive. I have used Google Ads successfully, when we represented two best selling books ($500 in ads got us $78,000 in revenue) but have not been able to replicate that success lately. I have four Twitter accounts with 5,000 followers (but maybe only 1% are of any value) and personal and business Facebook accounts. We are currently reviewing these accounts and will be closing two and revamping the other two. Bottom line is that Twitter and Facebook directed visitors represent just 0.8% of our website traffic this year.
I have a bit of an advantage, though. My son is community manager (manages Facebook and Twitter accounts) for his firm and surveys Twitter for people searching for his firm's products. My eldest daughter is a Public Relations and Media grad and my youngest daughter is a Twitter and Facebook power user, so I pretty much leave this work to them.
Before you spend a lot of time on social media initiatives, you should check your business priorities:
- Do you have a relationship management strategy that is producing high client satisfaction scores?
- Is your investment management approach protecting clients from losses in the secular bear market that we are experiencing and helping them achieve their financial goals?
- Are you gaining personal satisfaction and happiness as a financial advisor today?
- Is your business (AUM and revenue) producing above industry average growth rates?
- Do you have a strategy and spend an appropriate amount of time building your client, personal and business networks?
- Do your ideal clients or people, who match your ideal client profile, follow Twitter or Facebook?
This is a list of typical priorities for advisors. Your list may be somewhat different but it is important that you have a prioritized list, plan and timeframe to deal with the most important issues. If developing a Twitter strategy is at the top of your list, then go for it.
If you are ready for social media, here’s how I would prioritize technological initiatives:
- Become a power user of an industry specific CRM
- Develop collaborative workspaces for your clients and get everybody on a Client Roadmap (see www.clientroadmap.com)
- Develop a WordPress website/blog
- Get comfortable writing and posting one or two blog entries per week
- Develop client presentations for investment planning, estate planning, insurance planning, will planning, etc.
- Write an eBook
- Set up a LinkedIn profile and begin building your LinkedIn network
- Set up a Facebook page
- Set up a Twitter account
Twenty percent of items on the two lists above will produce 80% of the results. In most businesses, if you can get your relationship management, investment management and business development systems right, you should be able to grow at above industry average growth rates. If your ideal clients or people who match your ideal client profile use Twitter and Facebook, you definitely should use them to help you communicate more effectively. Otherwise, get the core things working first.