Failure to launch: Why most financial professionals fail at social media
By Todd Greider
Take charge of your brand, put in the time and resources to manage your social media presence effectively and with a little time and patience, you will begin to see results for your business.
We've all done it at one point or another in our lives: We've dumped our resources into something that we believe is a great opportunity, only to quickly discover that things just aren't panning out as we had hoped. Many financial professionals are experiencing this with social media, but why do some succeed where others are failing? Those that fail tend to assume one of these three personas:
The broadcaster — Someone who posts an excessive amount of content (which may or may not be relevant to their audience) and fails to respond to or engage their audience in any way. All talk and no listening. Their only plan is to push, push and push some more.
The relentless salesman — Someone who only posts things that drive to a sales scenario for their business. Typically, their posts provide minimal information of value, pitch their wares, and they often will only respond to comments or posts that enable them to try and push a sale. Their plan and only motivation is the sale.
The hapless wanderer — This person will typically post content with no real purpose. They post because it is interesting to them, but don’t really provide any intrinsic value to their ideal audience. They don’t have a plan, the frequency at which they post is sporadic, and they have minimal to no consistency of branding across multiple social media platforms.
- Identify your target audience — Women, small business owners, high-net-worth clients, Gen X and Y clients, etc.
- Conduct research — Locate where your ideal clients are interacting online (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, etc.) and determine which platforms you can effectively manage given your available time and resources.
- Establish objectives and outcomes — For your social media marketing efforts, identify what you are trying to accomplish as well as what you would like your audience to do as a result of your activities. For example, if you write a blog, do you want the audience to share your content, subscribe to your email list or RSS feed, or connect with you on LinkedIn and Facebook? What is your call to action going to be and how are you going to implement it?
- Create a content calendar — Create a strategy for how you are going to post content, when you are going to post, and document any themes that you would like to establish. It will condition your audience to come back regularly if they know when you update your blog and what topics you cover.
- Engage your audience — Ask them questions or solicit their feedback (i.e. via polls on LinkedIn). Create two-way conversations to show that you are not just talking, but also listening to them. People want to be heard. If you want to build rapport with people and earn their trust and respect, you must do more listening than talking. Maintain that mindset when using social media.
- Track your activities — Use tools like Hootsuite, TweetDeck, or Buffer that will show you analytics to help track the type of content that resonates with your audience (i.e. number of shares, comments, etc.)
*For Registered Reps: Contact the compliance department of your broker/dealer before engaging in the use of social media or blogging to ensure you are approved and in compliance of their social media policy.