What works in social media (for financial advisors) is simple in theory, but more difficult in practice.
The reason it’s more difficult in practice is that to achieve meaningful business outcomes, social media requires your personal involvement, at least on some level.
Consider this: Would you have an intern do your live, in-person networking for you? Would you have an intern deliver your presentation to a room full of qualified potential clients? Would you have an intern engage in direct conversations with potential clients? The answer is most likely “no.” I don’t know many (if any) financial advisors who would agree to being represented or replaced by an intern in these kinds of live, in-person settings. Perhaps, however, a trusted team member or members would be suitable to represent your firm and your messages publicly. Still, if it’s not you, there is an opportunity cost.
Being personally and genuinely engaged in the content development (your messaging) and building your community (online social networking) is the foundation for what works in social media.
Don’t believe me? Just look around. Many highly successful business people who are leveraging content marketing and social media are not outsourcing or separating their personalities from their marketing efforts. Instead, they are deeply integrating these components. (see Michael Hyatt and Ric Edelman). Think about individuals such as Richard Branson and Oprah as well. These individuals have built their successful brands around who they are as people.
The Great Resistance
If you’re like most financial advisors, you might find that having to be personally involved in social media is a very painful truth. You don’t have the time to learn new tools and technologies, nor do you have the desire to. You don’t want communication to be more complex and networking to be more sophisticated (your cheese has been moved). You don’t believe in investing in something for your business that may not provide an immediate return (imagine if your best clients evaluated the value of your services based upon short-term performance).
Get the coaching, guidance, and support you need, but don’t outsource your personality in the process or you will end up wasting even more time and money (it just doesn’t work). Instead, align your team (and/or outside partners) to support and facilitate your program as well as serve as amplifiers of your message. They can help you run your program as more of a “team effort.” Every successful leader has a great team in place, whether that team is internal or external.
Also, consider integrating social media tools into your business that can help automate the distribution of your messages (not the actual creation of your thought leadership). If you outsource your value messages, you may find that what’s being published on your blog and shared on your social profiles doesn’t really speak to who you are and what you stand for. It’s just not authentic and it won’t build trust.
The bottom line is, you need to learn the art of networking in the digital age. Infusing your personality into your social media program is extremely valuable in building trust. If you commit to being personally involved in social media, your true authentic self is going to shine through, and that’s what your ideal clients are going to be attracted to.
It’s your voice, and your original thoughts or opinions that are shared through your blog and on social networking sites that will lead to new and deeper relationships. That’s how you build a trusted and loyal network in the digital age. It’s also how you position yourself as an authority, which is a critical part of being an advisor!
It doesn’t matter if you have a firm of 20 advisors who help contribute to the core thought leadership and social networking, or you’re a one man/women practice. The message and the strategy should begin at the top.
It’s the people and their respective personalities sharing the messages that facilitate relationship development opportunities and attract the right kinds of clients into your business. It’s you and your team.
Shift Your “Time” Paradigm
Want to find time to integrate a comprehensive social media program (blogging/content development, social networking, email marketing) into your business?
View your social media program as a replacement for your existing non-productive marketing, communication, and business development activities that you may currently be spending time and money on (you may need to do an honest analysis here).
If you make the time for a comprehensive social media program and make it a priority in your business, you will begin to realize that marketing and communication with clients and prospects can become much more cost efficient. Accelerate your knowledge and stay on the cutting edge by working with people who know the tools and strategies and are able to provide tracking, insights, analysis, and guidance.
The longer you wait, the more difficult and expensive it will be to catch up on building this digital equity that is there for the taking. Building digital equity is a bit like saving for retirement. It takes time to build that nest egg and you have to keep adding to it consistently.
The secret to what works in social media for financial advisors is…YOU and your personal, authentic contribution. Whether your contribution is at a higher level or you are in the trenches, having your name, your messages, and your personality infused in the process will make your program successful!