As financial advisors, most of us have been conditioned to think in terms of quantifiable returns. We manage to, measure, and report portfolio performance to clients.
Ultimately though what we really do as financial advisors is help guide our clients. We help them make smart decisions about their money when times are tough and we help them create the best probability for achieving long-term financial success based upon their goals, resources, time frame, and risk tolerance. At the end of the day, it’s less about the numeric return achieved and more about the progress being made toward the goal. The value is in the relationship.
This is very similar to investing in digital and social media for your business. Just as your clients have an opportunity to preserve and grow wealth through their relationship with you, you have the opportunity to preserve client loyalty and grow your business through RELATIONSHIPS.
In building the asset of trust through digital and social strategy, you can create the most valuable form of equity; relationships. Relationships are the lifeline of any professional services business, after all. Achieving a return on social media is about achieving a return on relationships (ROR). This ROR includes the strengthening of existing relationships (client loyalty) and the creation of new “key” relationships that can lead your business to new heights.
A return on relationships is ambiguous at best because you can’t always identify where the business comes from. Also, anyone in your expanded digital network can become a client or lead to a new client. This is the new digital world that you have to get used to. You’re not going to have all the answers because the process is not linear. It’s not as simple as measuring seminar attendees and cold call conversations. However, much of your activity and progress can be measured. (future post)
You can always ask how someone found you, but most won’t recall because it’s likely they came across your blog post through a mobile content app on their iPad, or perhaps they saw a consistent stream of your social media updates where they are connected with you. Regardless, you want every impression they have of you to count, and to cultivate trust. It is high trust that drives a return on relationships.
Not only will you create new avenues for developing and accelerating potential client relationships through a trust-based digital strategy, you will create these “key” relationship opportunities as well: introductions, referrals, business advocates (those you aren’t your clients and never will be, but love you anyway), center of influence relationships, speaking opportunities, media exposure, new business ventures, talent discovery, and talent acquisition.
Being proficient with digital strategy and software tools can also lead to better client service, scalable communications, and expanded marketing capabilities. Embracing and adopting social media can improve your bottom line. Marketing efficiency can produce greater profitability.
The question is not “should I create a LinkedIn profile”? The question to ask yourself about creating your own ROR in the digital age is this: How can I create a comprehensive, trust-based digital strategy program that will help me achieve the best probability for success with the least amount of risk?
In this case, your risk is defined by the precious resource of time; the time it takes to build an effective and efficient digital portfolio strategy, the time it takes to manage the strategy, and the time it takes to start achieving a return. If you get this right, you will achieve a return on relationships. There is a tipping point. Smart digital strategy and tools can also help you maximize impact while reducing time spent. This creates efficiency, and as mentioned above, greater efficiency can improve your bottom line.
Achieving a return on social media doesn’t come quickly or easily. It’s a long-term survival strategy for your business. It requires an investment in time, technology, and maybe even a partner relationship for coaching, guidance, and support. You must be willing to be open, flexible, and adaptable. You must believe that this is where you have to go not just to sustain your business, but to thrive in the connection economy.
Are you looking for the wrong kinds of returns with digital and social media? What is it that keeps you from moving forward?Learn More About Wired Advisor Digital Marketing Programs