Social media is not just some fly by night fad. It’s the biggest shift in our society since the printing press. The individual is now the media programmer. We all have access to new media tools in order to publish and share our own thought leadership content, not just the major media outlets and not just the brands. However, there is much resistance and disbelief that surrounds social media.
Gary Vaynerchuck of Vayner Media says it very well in this interview that this is the calm before the social media storm. He says it’s the year 2000 all over again when the internet began to take off. First you have the hype phase. There’s been a lot of hype in social media. Next, people begin to question the validity, value, and return. This is definitely true in social media. Lastly, many abandon because they don’t believe in it and that’s when a disruptor will come in and take over. With regard to the internet, many well-known and established companies were essentially put out of business. (think Netflix vs. Blockbuster, Amazon vs. Borders)
The risks of avoiding, resisting, and procrastinating about social media are great. If you don’t adapt and adopt, you will not only be left behind by those who do, but it will be difficult and expensive to catch up. Don’t sit on the social media sidelines. Seek to understand what it is, and how it can help you.
What is Social Media?
Let’s move beyond the hype and break it down to what social media really is. Social media is simple when you think of it in the following way:
Social media is a communications tool
Just like your phone and your email, social media is a tool for communicating with real people in real time.
Social media is live networking
Not only is social media live networking, it’s virtual and it’s perpetual. You can network with anyone at anytime in as little as few minutes a day and develop or strengthen relationships.
Social media is a global university
For this one, think teachers and students. With social media, you can teach what you know and you can learn from others anywhere at anytime.
When you understand social media for what it really is, you can move beyond the resistance. If you don’t have time for social media, then truly you don’t want to make time for communicating, networking, teaching, and learning.
The true excitement about social media begins to come into play when you realize what it can do for you, both personally and professionally.
2 Reasons to Get Excited About Social Media
There are two very compelling reasons you should get super excited about leveraging social media as a financial professional.
#1)Establish yourself as the credible, likable, trusted, visible expert
Have you ever conducted a seminar or workshop? Many financial advisors have. This was how I built my business as a financial advisor. I did breakfast workshops for women over the age of 50 all over my city to develop a pipeline of relationships, and many of those women became my clients. Those seminars were a lot of work, but as a former high school teacher I enjoyed sharing financial planning and investing concepts with the women who attended my workshops.
Fast forward to the internet and social media. Today, your stage and your audience can be massive. Imagine breaking down your unique thought leadership insights and publishing those nuggets of wisdom online either through text articles, videos, podcasts (audio), and/or slide presentations with or without audio! Next, imagine socializing all of this content so that it is shareable on sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube! This can easily be accomplished through a professional blog.
When you publish our thought leadership insights to public social platforms, you will establish yourself as the credible, trusted, visible expert in your niche markets and your local community. You won’t be limited to that room full of 20 people who attended your workshop. You will potentially reach thousands of people who are members of your target markets!
More importantly, you will be the credible, likable, trusted, visible expert which can and will result in increased client loyalty and new client relationship opportunities.
#2)Vastly expand and grow your network of relationships
You are likely familiar with the idea of scaling your business. By scaling your business you open up opportunities for growth.
The same goes for your network. With social media, you can scale your network exponentially. In fact, you can build a network of thousands if you want to. Ideally, if you are practicing the #1 reason to get excited about social media (above) first, you will build a loyal and trusted network of connections who are interested in what you have to say. These are the people in your network who will become your clients and/or your advocates.
Additionally, you can gather rich data about your connections. Where do they work? What are their hobbies and interests? What are they thinking? Who are they connected to? Gathering intelligence in order to establish rapport is a golden opportunity that social media affords us, and one that we must respect and be very careful with.
Through social media, you can also interact with thought leaders and influencers. This can lead to amazing opportunities for greater exposure and visibility.
By putting in a little time everyday to grow your network and interact with your network, you will have the opportunity to develop key relationships that can help you both professionally and personally. It also means that you can help, promote, and connect others to position yourself as a person of influence.
In order to actually grow your business through social media, you have to first establish yourself as the online expert and work to grow a loyal and trusted network. There is not a more efficient or effective way to do this today other than through blogging (publishing your thought leadership content) and social media.
If that’s not worth investing in, I don’t know what is.
Start thinking about how you will differentiate yourself online and get excited about social media! What unique knowledge and insights do you have to share with your target markets?