7 ways to build trust online using social media
By Lauren McNitt
Social media is one way advisors can establish credibility online as an industry expert, thereby gaining the trust of clients and potential clients. Here are some tips:
1. Personalize your social media presence.
Include your headshot on each of your social media pages, and share unique things about yourself and your firm. Provide fans and followers with a legitimate way to reach you. Don’t include contact information such as firstname.lastname@example.org; offer followers a personal email address with your name.
This transfers to your website, as well. Never have visitors fill out an anonymous form. Instead, give them a phone number and a personal email address where you can be reached.
2. Engage and respond.
If someone reaches out to you on Facebook or Linkedin, send them a message in response. If one of your Twitter followers mentions you or retweets one of your posts, thank them.
Monitor discussions about yourself and your firm on your social media sites. If you find any that are negative, address them directly and professionally. Remember that once you post something online, it stays online. Don't ever post anything you might regret later.
3. Build your following.
What looks more credible, a Facebook fan page with 10 fans or a page with 500 fans? Spend time building your fan base and followers.
4. Update your pages consistently.
You will lose credibility if you let your social media presence lapse and become outdated. You don’t want potential clients to come across your Facebook page and wonder if you’re still in business because there hasn't been a post in six months. Whether it’s daily or weekly, make sure you update your pages consistently.
5. Don’t spam your followers and fans.
Provide useful information on your social media pages, such as relevant articles and updates on legislation or industry events. You can also share glimpses of your expertise by either sharing content you wrote or sharing tips relating to your services.
Do not use social media to bombard your followers and fans with promotion of your business. They will find this obnoxious and alienating, and it will lead them to stop following you.
6. Separate the personal and the professional.
Make sure you have a separate page for your personal life. You don't want to repel a potential client because they see you follow a politician that isn't in line with their beliefs, or they see you are a fan of a sports team they don't like.
As financial social media expert and ProducersWEB author Amy McIlwain says, “So you had a fun time last weekend dancing, drinking and having a good time at a friend’s wedding and consequently a few tagged pictures of you appear on Facebook. There’s nothing wrong with sharing those photos with personal friends and family, but the last thing you want is for a client to see those photos and find you unprofessional.”
7. Finally, if you don't have an online presence, start building one.
Today, potential clients will question your credibility and trustworthiness if they can’t find you online. At the very least, make sure you have a professional, updated website. But also having well-managed social media pages including a Linkedin profile, a Facebook fan page and a Twitter page will give potential clients the impression that you hold authority in your field.