Interview with financial advisor and social media expert, Jamie Cox
By Amy McIlwain
Financial Social Media Marketing
James A. Cox, III of Harris Financial Group has spent his entire career helping clients retire from some of America’s most established companies, including Verizon, Philip Morris, Dominion, AEP and Progress Energy. His MBA from Virginia Commonwealth University and his strong educational background in the industry provide the foundation for his insights on the topics of retirement planning, investment strategies, interest rate environments and other factors that impact the global marketplace. Jamie, his wife Melissa, and their two sons, Ian and Cade, live in Mechanicsville, Virginia.
Aside from being a stellar financial professional, Jamie has made a powerful footprint in the social media world. He currently has over 14,000 Twitter followers, over 1,000 Facebook fans and a huge number of LinkedIn connections. His consistency, passion and innovation on social media is remarkable — and a perfect testament to how social media can grow your practice.
I recently had the opportunity to interview him. Here’s what he had to say:
Q. How did you first get involved in social media?
I got “kicked in the pool”, so to speak. I had a friend that told me I had to use these social networks. The first network I utilized was Facebook. At first, I had no idea what it was about. In fact, I remember asking, “What happens when you post?” After I was shown, I said, “Oh. That’s it? I thought it was something grander.”
I think that this is how most advisors initially approach social media. But once they get started, they realize it’s not as complicated as they thought.
Q. Some advisors have been successful using Twitter and other sites to generate client leads. Do you do that?
When I first started using social media, Twitter was the platform I understood the best. In essence, you can follow anyone and anyone can follow you. It is a place where you speak in a microphone and anybody that wants to hear what you’re saying can go on and find it.
What most people don’t realize about Twitter is that it’s also a search engine. If you want to utilize Twitter’s maximum value, it’s essential to use the search function. I subscribe to different feeds from different searches to hear conversations and gain insights about the clients I want.
In addition to using it as a search function, I use it to communicate with the media and generate PR for my brand. Doing this on Twitter has allowed for me to gain higher recognition.
In the past year, I’ve turned an estimated 30 leads into actual clients. In my experience, Twitter has been a really great point of entry where I’ll cross paths and communicate with people. If they are interested, they often check out my other social platforms to make sure I am a credible, qualified advisor. From there, I often connect and communicate with them on other platforms. Nurturing these social relationships has proved to be really beneficial for me. Q. Can you take me through all the varied elements of your social-media efforts?
I spend three to four hours a day on Twitter. When I am on the phone with people, I often follow them on Twitter shortly thereafter. And even though I am on there all the time, I try to listen, listen, listen as much as I can. If there is something important for me to say, then I’ll say it.
On Twitter, words are everything. What you say can and will be used against you. It is for this reason that I always re-read what I write and go back to delete if I’m concerned about something I might have said in the past.
Q. What kinds of mistakes do people make when it comes to social media?
I’d say the biggest mistake that advisors make is not doing it!
Another mistake I see is inconsistent personalities. It is very important that your personality on social media matches your real personality. I am not a funny guy in person, so I am not going to act like I’m funny on my social platforms. Don’t be something you’re not, because people will recognize it right away.
Q. Any other pointers about Twitter?
Direct messaging is a highly functional Twitter feature that makes it easy to stay out of the public sphere when communicating with people. If you need any element of privacy, this is a great tool.
Do advertising. In my experience, Twitter has a far greater click through rate than Facebook. It’s very under-utilized. If people are actively looking for something, they can search for it and find it right down the middle of their screen. I’ve had great success with advertising on Twitter.
For advisors that have struggled adapting to social media, Jamie Cox is a great leader to emulate and follow on social media. Check out his platforms to get an idea of what works!