Part of my job as Director of Marketing for Carson Group is to educate and train advisors on social media. When I first engage with an advisor, I begin with discovery questions to understand their level of social media knowledge and how active they are on various networks.
Most of the time, advisors sheepishly hang their heads as they tell me, “I don’t really use social media.” If you too are a social media neophyte, guess what?? You’re not alone! In fact, you’re part of the vast majority of advisors who don’t use social media to their benefit. Now here’s the fun part…since many advisors aren’t present on social media, you have the opportunity to set yourself apart from your competition. Your audience is waiting – and searching – for you on social.
Still not convinced that social media is the best use of your time? Consider this statistic… males age 55+ are the fastest growing demographic on Twitter (Source: Pew Research Center’s Internet Project, 2014). Most advisors state this is also their target demographic. By having social media sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, you’ll help optimize your website and build authority with search engines such as Google. Now who wouldn’t want to rank hire on Google without paying a dime?!
So what’s the best way to become a social media master? Follow the five steps below and you’ll be well on your way to enhancing your digital presence.
1. Content, content, content!
It seems that most advisors delay hopping on the social media bandwagon because they don’t know what to share. When I’m asked what they should post on social media, my response is simple: content. Do you have an upcoming event that you want to promote? Do it on social media. Does someone in your office have exciting news to share? Post it on social media. Has the market taken a dip and you want to let clients know to stick to their financial plan? Share it on social media.
Even if you don’t have anything newsworthy to share, you still have plenty of options for content to post. Each week feature a different page of your website to post on social media. For instance, schedule a few posts about the history of your firm and share the link to the About page on your website. After all, one of the goals of social media is to drive traffic to your website. You can also share news articles or links and add your commentary or opinion on the article. Just be careful not to be too controversial in your statements!
Which brings me to my next point…compliance. Many advisors are concerned about using social media due to compliance regulations. Here’s the good news: most regulatory departments will conduct and initial review of your social media profile, require a brief social media training and connection to an archiving service, and then you can post at will. Social media posts typically don’t require pre-approval from compliance so it’s a way to share instantaneous updates with your audience!*
2. Be more efficient.
We recommend creating company Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter accounts as well as individual LinkedIn pages for each advisor. I know what you’re thinking – that’s a lot of social media accounts to manage! Here’s the good news… with dashboards such as Hootsuite you can aggregate all of your social media accounts and post one update that blasts to all accounts. That’s right; you’ll only need to post once and all of your accounts will receive the update. You can even schedule posts for future dates. When I work with our Alliance Partners, I recommend that they carve out 30 minutes each week to schedule their social media posts for the week.
Interested in learning more about Hootsuite? Contact Carson Institutional Alliance to request the training video for using this handy dashboard.
3. Don’t hesitate to delegate.
We understand that advisors have a lot on their plates and wear many hats – do you really have time to wear a social media hat as well? If the answer is no, identify someone in your office who can be responsible for your social media accounts. This may be your Director of First Impressions, someone in Operations or Client Services, an intern or maybe your teenager who needs to earn a few extra bucks (after all, that generation has a knack for social media – they never put down their phones!). Let someone else be responsible for posting work-related updates and you can have fun with the personal posts.
Founder and CEO of Carson Group, Ron Carson, didn’t take long to become a social media master. The marketing team ensures his social media accounts are up-to-date with firm announcements, blogs, insights and newsworthy info. Ron has become accustomed to checking his social media accounts when he checks his email and shares updates from his travels, links he finds interesting and photos. This helps to ensure that relevant content is always posted on his social media accounts while he’s able to add a personal touch as well. I recommend following a similar strategy so your clients and prospects can get to know you as a person, not just as an advisor.
4. Patience pays!
Once these social media accounts are set up and you’ve began sharing updates, the next logical question is, “How do I get more followers?” Patience, young grasshopper! Advisors who have thousands of followers have either been active on social media for quite some time, they have a huge network of contacts or they’ve paid for their followers. I do not recommend option three – be more concerned about the quality of your followers rather than the quantity. You can start by uploading your list of contacts and following anyone who has a social media account. Follow your favorite sports teams or athletes, news outlets, celebrities, local businesses, etc. You will also notice a direct correlation between your length of time on social media networks, the frequency of content shared and number of followers. Steadily, that number of followers will begin to climb if you stick to your social media strategy.
5. Just do it.
The final step to becoming a social media master is to let go of excuses and opportunities to it push off any longer. To borrow the tagline from Nike, just do it! You won’t regret not being active on social media but you will continue to have this unchecked item on your “to do” list until you dedicate the time to get started. The good news is that once your social media accounts are set up and approved, the rest is easy! Pretty soon you’ll become a social media addict and will need to remind yourself to put your phone away at dinner.
Interested in learning more about social media? Check out this blog post for additional social media tools to help you grow your business or contact Carson Institutional Alliance and request a meeting with a member of the marketing team.
How are you using Social Media to grow your business? What is your biggest question about social media for financial advisors? Tweet using #GrowthEdge to share your ideas or questions on social media for financial advisors to connect with our marketing team!
*Compliance regulations vary. Check with your regulatory department for social media rules and regulations.
For advisor use only. Not intended for client distribution.