Branding is branding. Why should a financial advisor care about social media for branding a practice or firm? Investment firms use a broad range of marketing activities, starting with a sound strategy, to position their firms for new business. A good value proposition and a sound marketing plan beat any single marketing tactic such as social media any day. Frequently recommended in modern marketing plans — what can social media do for you?
Social media starts a conversation.
Start a conversation on LinkedIn. Be an observer on Twitter before you tweet. You will find that affluent investors choose to engage in serious topics on these two platforms, saving Facebook usage for keeping up with friends and family. This was the consensus of recent panelists at the SIFMA Social Media Conference.
Social media improves reach.
No question that having a dialogue on social media puts you in front of people you would not otherwise meet. I compare this to networking: you attend a business function with 200 people in attendance. Some are qualified to become clients; many are not. You won’t meet everyone who is there. Social media can improve your visibility with all “followers” and open the opportunity to chat with some at a follow-up occasion. Advisors who are active on social media offer sporadic anecdotes of what happened next: she was recognized by Mr. Big in a restaurant; he was invited to submit a 401(k) provider proposal. The results demonstrate success in gaining visibility and low levels of closing from relationships generated from social media. This will likely gain ground as social media reaches full potential.
Social media can improve your position on search engines.
Advisors who lament that their web site is hard to find on search engines should consider going social. Establishing a social media presence that drives traffic to your site will move you up in search engine rankings. Search engine web crawlers elevate rankings for sites that are accessed through social media platforms.
Social media is not a strategy, it is a tactic.
Clients of various ages, professional backgrounds and wealth profiles are using social media in increasing numbers. It is also true that many investors over 45 are not. Be careful not to base your entire business development strategy on social media, to the exclusion of traditional initiatives such as advertising, seminars, public relations and other marketing tactics. The laws of marketing were NOT repealed when social media took root.
Social media is here to stay…as a means of networking, branding and even lead generation. The return on investment for social and all your digital strategies can be measured. (Link to ppt of The ROI of Social Media).
Many of the largest investment firms are committing substantial resources to figure out how best to deploy social media to extend their brand. Some advisory firms are wise to experiment with LinkedIn and Twitter, keeping an ear to the ground for how others are leveraging these platforms, without discontinuing the marketing programs they already have in place. Balance, then, is a pretty good way to play it.