Why It Matters:
  • People expect legitimate businesses to have a social media presence.
  • If you’re not reaching out to clients and prospects online, someone else is.
  • Social networks now connect more than 2 billion people.

Gone are the days of delegating social media to the back burner of your communications plan. The kettle is hot: Social networks are now so well established, so ingrained in our everyday lives, it’s not surprising to hear they connect more than 2 billion people.

Having a strong brand presence on social media isn’t just recommended; it’s expected. Here’s a blueprint to help tighten your social media strategy:

  1. Have a plan: Who do you want to reach? What type of content will you post? What will you be doing online during the next month, three months, year, and beyond? Get started with the social media cheat sheet for 2017. And keep in mind, while social media may be a newer medium, FINRA’s rules on communicating with the public still apply. Learn them, live them.
  1. Have goals and objectives: Set measurable goals, whether that’s finding new clients, connecting with existing clients, or showcasing your expertise. Concrete goals will make running your social accounts easier and more effective. Keep in mind these social media best practices for businesses.
  1. Explain your business: A financial professional’s business is complex. Make it clear to your team — explain your business philosophy, how you work with clients, and how you distinguish yourself from the competition. This knowledge will help your staff safeguard and strengthen your brand. With the unmatched accessibility and reach social media provides, it’s important to keep your channels buttoned up and monitored: Take steps to mitigate insider threats.
  1. Determine the scope of the role: While social media can be a component of your larger business strategy, it doesn’t have to be a massive time commitment. These responsibilities can often be accomplished in less than 30 minutes a day. Determine how much time will be spent each day finding content, posting, monitoring, responding, and analyzing — and who will be responsible for which tasks.
  1. Who to hire: If you’re considering bringing someone on to oversee social operations, consider his or her background in digital marketing and brand management. Have they managed social media for other businesses? What do they know about the financial industry? Ensure they are on the same page when discussing goals for your overall strategy.
  1. Outline a process: Nothing should be posted to your profile without your approval. Social media is the digital “face” of your practice — possibly more prominent than your website. It’s often the first search result someone stumbles across when searching for your business online. Thankfully, there are several social media management tools that can help you keep a cool head with account management, choosing the right hashtags, tracking mentions of your business, and more.
  1. Start slow: Create a profile on one social media network, such as LinkedIn. Make connections. Listen. Study what other financial professionals are doing. How are they engaging their audience? Post a few times a week and see what happens. If mistakes occur, they will likely be small and easy to correct. Take it from there.
  1. Learn: Even if you delegate day-to-day responsibilities of your social accounts, stay involved. Ask to regularly see results about who you have connected with on social media and the types of interactions taking place.
  1. Don’t get complacent: Mistakes happen when you think everything is going fine. Review your process periodically and make sure it’s being followed. Understand what’s working and what’s not. Make adjustments as needed.
  1. Be patient: It can take years to build a strong social media presence, so celebrate small victories and milestones, be persistent, and remain committed to interacting with established clients and connecting with new ones.

Things to Consider:
  • Start with a plan: Who will run your social channels? What are your goals? How will you separate yourself from the competition?
  • Social media responsibilities are important but can often be accomplished in less than 30 minutes a day.
  • It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Connect with other financial professionals, observe your environment, post with purpose, and track results.