How Financial Agents Can Thrive Using Social Media

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How Financial Agents Can Thrive Using Social Media

Social media has become one of the most popular tools at a marketers disposal. Nearly every business has at least one social media channel, usually one or two of the big 3: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn and with good cause. 64% of Twitter users and 51% of Facebook users are more likely to buy the products of brands they follow online. 91% of retail brands, who are marketing to many of the same people as financial advisors, use more than two social media platforms. There are many benefits for brands who use social media.

The problem with social media is that you can’t just jump in and start going. You need a plan. The plan, just like any other business plan, should be related to your organizational goals. The results will take a decent amount of time to come to fruition, so don’t be concerned if the results aren’t immediate. Having a solid, written plan that guides your decisions will make starting out on social media much more straightforward.

There are many, many, many different social media platforms, all with different use cases and demographics. Crafting a strategy for each platform you choose to use is essential. Planning the strategy will follow the same steps, regardless of the platform. Only the details will be different, to cater to the strengths and weaknesses of a particular platform and their demographics.

Today, we will examine the steps needed to implement a fantastic social media plan. Remember, the steps will be the same regardless of the platform. 

1. Establish Goals

Without clear goals and objectives, you cannot create a plan. Setting goals gives you a path to follow. Even if the program changes down the line, having goals is crucial. Goals let you monitor the plan’s success. 

You know what your business goals are better than I do. I’m not going to tell you how to gain clients; you know how to do that. Just let me give you a few general pieces of advice for marketing on social media:

  1. Your social media goals and benchmarks need to be correlated to your overall business goals.
  2. You should use a variety of metrics, both platform specific (likes, shares, comments engagement rate, followers, etc.) and general (ROI, conversion rate, unique visitors to your website, etc.) to measure social media success
  3. Be patient, results from social media take time, but when they do there is a snowball effect.

Use the various metrics holistically, don’t put too much weight on any one metric. Stats such as likes, comments, shares and follows don’t bring revenue, but they are handy to know. Likes, shares and follows are a good way to see your reach, and comments can be used to see how engaging your posts are.

How and where you set your goals are up to you. Depending on your target demographics, the platform you use, and the platform-specific metrics, your goals can be established in many ways. Regardless of what your goals are, they should be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-Bound). Goals of this type force a more focused social media plan, something that will make it much easier to isolate, tweak and test various tactics.

2. Social Media Audit

Step 2 of your social media plan should be to do a social media audit. A social media audit involves combing through all your profiles, analyzing the performance of those pages, and researching which platforms your target audience frequently uses. A thorough inspection will give you an excellent idea of exactly how potential customers can connect with your business. This stage is an excellent opportunity to implement consistent messaging, finding areas where your branding is not uniform and fixing those problems. Your goal should be to understand what aspects of your social presence needs to be improved.

3. Check Out the Competition

Step 3 is just an extension of step 2, but it is important enough that I believe it deserves its own section. To be successful marketing on social media, you need to have an understanding of what your competitors are doing in the digital space. You can learn from their mistakes, successes, and ideas to improve your profile. Even if your social media plan focuses on LinkedIn, you should study competitors Twitter, Facebook and other social accounts. As Sun Tzu once wrote:

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat.”

You need to have an excellent understanding of exactly what your competition is doing, and why they are doing it. People only need one advisor, you need to win the war for their business. Look at how the competition promotes themselves, their services, and how they interact with people. Then you can learn from, adapt, and tweak these practices, so they fit who you want to be as an advisor. You want to be unique, but you have similar goals to the competition. It does not hurt to see what they are doing and how you can position yourself against it.

Another benefit of a competitive social audit is that you can use competitors as a benchmark for setting your own goals. Take a brief look at the number of followers, engagement, and other metrics you can get publicly and chart your success against them.

4. Create a Content Plan

The next step in the process is to create a content plan. A content plan should include the type of content you want to post, when you should post that content, and how you will promote that content. Posting the content on both your blog and social media platforms can be an excellent way to drive traffic to your website.

LinkedIn, with its professional demographics, is interested in educational materials. Its members are looking to become more productive, help them by providing high-quality information. If people realize you’re an excellent source of information, they may ask to join your network because they see you as a valuable member of their network. Becoming a trusted, accessible source of information can allow you to become a thought leader.

5. Re-evaluate

As with any plan, you should be regularly evaluating your social media and content plans. Regular evaluations will make it easier to monitor your goals to see if your desired results are being achieved. If you monitor the various metrics discussed above, you can identify aspects of your plan that may need adjustments. Always be experimenting with different tactics to achieve your goals, and let the plan evolve as new tactics work or fail. Remember, social media takes time to achieve success, some things will fail. Continue to test and constantly improve.

Conclusion

Once you have your social media plan in place, it’s time to get loud. By “get loud” I mean begin interacting, commenting, and otherwise engaging with members your network. On LinkedIn for example, you can join groups dedicated to specific subjects and interact with people who are interested in the subject.“Getting loud’ and using the platform’s unique features will help you grow your network and get better results from social media. You should also begin to branch out. Try out other platforms, see how they work for you.  

Having a strong social media presence is an excellent way rank higher in search results, will make you more approachable online, and improve your contact list. A social media plan will not guarantee positive results, but if you work hard at creating and executing the plan, you can experience excellent returns.

Social media is an essential aspect of a well-rounded content marketing plan. Your marketing efforts won’t go far without it. If “Content Is King,” then social media is the king’s messenger.

Do you use social media for your business? Do you have a social media plan in place? Let us know how you use LinkedIn over on Twitter @VeridayHQ or follow us on LinkedIn here. Which of the social media websites generates the biggest ROI? Find out by reading our article: LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter Ads.