It’s 2019 – are you on social media yet? If you think that social media is only for sharing vacation photos or displaying a static resume that you occasionally update when you’re searching for a job, it’s time to think again. Wealth managers and other financial professionals are not exempt from using social media platforms to build their personal brands. It may sound intimidating and you may be starting from scratch, so I’ve created a 10-step checklist to help jumpstart the process for you.
10. Develop a plan.
Many people tend to approach social media in an ad hoc way. But to make your social media use effective, it’s important to think about who you are targeting and how you want to target them. Are you developing a new client base? Are you hoping to interact more with existing clients? Do you want to interact more with other wealth managers? Whatever your response is, it should trigger different ideas about what you want to share and how you want to share it.
I hope by the end of this you feel energized and ready to tackle social media with renewed vigor. Don’t let that energy die in the coming weeks! Create some realistic goals for yourself when you develop your plan. Think about monthly, weekly and daily benchmarks that you can meet. Having realistic goals will help make sure that you are active on social media, and that you stick with your strategy.
9. Apply a holistic content strategy.
You’ve thought about your goals, now it’s time to think about the type of content you’re going to share. Fortunately, third-party content is readily available. Think about your daily reading routine. You’re bound to come across articles, blogs or photos that you find interesting and entertaining. Share them!
Don’t forget to think about how your target audience will interact with your post. You don’t want to just drop a shared link into your social media feed and never think about it again. Be social when you share. Add value to the post by sharing your opinion or asking others a question. Think of it this way: Social media is the soil and content is the seed. Sow the seeds to grow your network!
8. Make your content compelling and consistent.
Make sure that the content you use and produce reflects who you are as a person, and that it is consistent across all social media platforms. It’s important that people can recognize you both online and offline. Your content should reflect you professionally, but don’t forget to let it represent you personally as well.
A professional contact of mine has been a regular and frequent user of social media. But most of his posts include just regular, branded content from his firm. One day he decided to ask his followers for recipes for cauliflower rice, as he had a surplus of cauliflower in his garden that summer. The post went viral! He ended up with interactions from his contacts, as well as plenty of new people- even a national rice association! He learned an important lesson: we can make contacts and interact with people through non-business posts. Put the “social” in social media! There is no right or wrong way for you to use your social media accounts. Just be social.
7. Use keywords and hashtags.
Hashtags are not just for Twitter; they can be used on every platform. But using hashtags isn’t about tagging every little subject that came up in your post. Think about the keywords that you want to be known for. For me, it’s words like wealth, content marketing and financial services. By consistently tagging these words on all platforms I can make myself easily discoverable. There is a lot of noise out there and you need to target relevant readers. You can even create your own hashtag. Conferences frequently do this to make sure all of their participants can interact with each other. Your profiles should be found just as easily.
6. Make your profile authentic.
This may sound silly, but do you have a profile photo that looks like you? You may want to keep a headshot that shows you 20lbs lighter with a full head of hair, but that’s not who you are today. People should be able to recognize you online and offline. You don’t want to ruin your own credibility by something as simple as deceiving people on your looks.
And, again, make sure your profile represents the whole you. The more you share your different passions on social media, the more points of entry there are for potential contacts.
5. Think before you act.
Social media can be a hotbed for snap reactions and inflammatory posts. Don’t be that person. Anything you post online will stay there forever. Be positive in your interactions. Don’t enter negative conversations or respond to provoking remarks.
4. Ask, don’t tell.
Engage with your audience. Don’t just post something and walk away. Make a conversation. Ask questions. You want people to interact with your posts and the best way to do that is to give them a prompt or opportunity to respond to something.
3. Be a productive part of your network.
Social media is all about networks and social interactions. Don’t focus so much on your own profile that you forget to interact with others. Respond to other people’s posts. Share posts from others that you enjoy. Be active and keep up with your posts. Social media is a dialogue, not a monologue!
2. Measure results and modify your approach.
Sometimes posts fall flat, or you don’t reach your intended audience. Don’t be afraid to try something different. Maybe you need to use more photos. Perhaps a humorous cartoon will mix things up. Try something different and unexpected.
Be sure to use metrics to understand how your posts are being received. Plenty of people like to look at a post without responding. Views are still interactions, so it is important to know if your posts are receiving attention in this way as well.
1. Move online conversations offline.
That’s the point of all of this, right? We want social media to be social. We want conversations to continue on and offline, when we interact with potential clients or introduce ourselves to someone new at a conference. Use social media as just another tool for keeping conversations going.
Want to learn more about connecting with clients and prospects in a compliant way? Watch this webinar for more details on my top-10 strategies for using digital platforms to grow your online following and build your personal brand.