The Elements

By Ironstone   |   October 15, 2013

Financial Advisors and Social Media – How To Plan Your Strategy

Categories: Blog, Business Development, Marketing Plan, Social Media

Photo courtesy of ©iStock

If you are not using social media, questioning its value or wondering if your efforts are getting lost in the mass of information, take a look at the latest headlines.

“Almost half of U.S. financial advisors are interacting with their clients through social media. And the clients they chat with on Facebook aren’t just “tweens and millennials” – about 60% of advisors surveyed who were active on social media had client portfolios over $20 million.” (Source Forbes – April 2013)

Forrester Research gives us further insight: “Two-thirds of U.S. online adults with an investment account now have social network profiles.”

Presented with the adoption rates of clients and prospective clients utilizing social media, advisors are facing their fears head on by linking social media strategies to over-all business and marketing goals.

Getting Started With Social Media

Whether you have dabbled in the garden of social media or are fully interacting with investors, implementing a social media plan and strategy should be your first priority. Implementing a successful social media plan requires you to link your social media goals to the overall goals of your firm.

Many firms are not investing in proper social media management; by utilizing team members who are not qualified to fully implement a social media plan.  Despite the headlines and statistics, many advisors are still questioning the value and are baffled by the implementation of a successful plan and strategy.

Social media is no longer an optional way to connect and engage, it’s expected. Before you can choose the tools you will use in measuring the ROI of your social media, you must start by implementing your plan and strategy.

Adding Social Media To Your Marketing Platform

If your social media plan is a simple act of dipping your toes in the water, be prepared for the consequences of premeditated  drowning by your competition. Social media is a critical business tool which is no longer considered a stand-alone marketing option; you must streamline it into your overall business and marketing strategy.

Prior to implementing a social media strategy, it is critical for firms to complete two comprehensive steps.

  • Perform a Business and Social Media Evaluation
  • Identify Goals

Business and Social Media Evaluation

Begin the process of assessing your current business environment through a SWOT analysis. Perform a secondary SWOT evaluation assessing your social media condition, including your existing social media plan if you have one. During the evaluation process, assess social and non-social levels of influence for your firm as well as your competition. This process is critical in identifying obstacles, challenges and goals.

Identifying Goals

Top financial advisors have one common denominator; a plan and a follow-up strategy. The biggest difference in this common denominator is what is within the plan and how committed each firm is to their follow-up strategy.

Ironstone has created a social media goal planning worksheet for your use. This worksheet will lay the foundation for integrating or enhancing social media with your overall business and marketing goals. Identifying the goals and objectives of your practice are crucial in determining the strategy you will implement for your social media plan.

10 Social Media Strategic Steps

Once you have identified the goals you wish to achieve through social media, you are ready to design your social media strategy. Your strategy is your roadmap; providing growth and awareness to your social media approach.

You don’t have to take on the world with social media. In fact, if you are currently not using social media at all, start small. It is more about quality over quantity. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and blogging are all easily managed social media channels that will provide you with:

  • Name Recognition
  • Established Credibility
  • Client Acquisition and Retention
  • Strengthen Existing and New Relationships

Ironstone has identified 10 crucial strategic steps to establish a solid social media plan for your firm. These steps will provide the framework for designing your social media strategy.

  • Map Demographics and Centers of Influence
  • Identify Your Target Market
  • Assign Responsibility
  • Create Profiles
  • Research
  • Create Content
  • Create an Editorial Calendar
  • Engage
  • Create a Social Media Policy
  • Track and Measure Results

Creating Your Social Media Process

Successful firms follow concise processes. We recommend creating a standard operating procedure for your social media plan just as you would other processes in your firm. Social media pages are not static pages like your website. Your social media presence will require time and attention in order to be successful and reach your goals.

Your standard operating procedure should include a social media checklist for daily, weekly and monthly reporting. Some of the vital components to include are:

  • Check messages, comments, shares and replies
  • Identify additional social media channels to engage
  • Monitor competitor postings
  • Research industry mentions for trending topics
  • Create content
  • Track and measure your statistics

Refer to the goals and objectives established on your goal planning worksheet to ensure your social media checklist provides you with visible benchmarks, moving towards your overall business and marketing goals.

Social Media Tracking and Measuring

One of the most frequently asked questions is, “What is the ROI on social media?” Return on investment should be only one metric in your social media tool kit. Firms should evaluate social media on its overall contribution to business and marketing goals.

Tallying the number of likes, followers and comments will provide value; results-based metrics are equally important.

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As your practice starts to measure social media, you will find some tools fit your practice better than others. The key element is to start with your foundation of goals and objectives and make adjustments as needed.

Vital areas of measurement should include:

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Social Media Project Consulting 

We have no doubt that you will still have questions about your social media plan. Ironstone has developed a comprehensive guide to take you through each vital step to implement an effective and successful social media plan for your firm.

Compliance issues tend to be in the forefront of advisor concerns, however, the latest announcements from FINRA and the SEC encourage advisors to take their social media engagement to the next level.

With 5 million affluent investors using social media to research their final decisions, financial advisors need to build a stronger social media presence and broaden social media plans.

Business Insider also gives us insight to what investors want from financial advisors using social media:

  • More relevant and timely content and updates
  • Information and greater transparency
  • Real-time interaction and conversation

Our social media project consulting packages will include detailed components highlighted in our blog as well as a compliance checklist,  best practices in tracking and measuring social media along with social media self-audits. We are extremely excited to meet the needs of our clients through this offering which will also include an extensive Ironstone social media audit for your practice.

You can get started today by downloading Ironstone’s Social Media Implementation Checklist.

For more information: Contact Ironstone regarding Social Media Project Consulting


Ironstone
Practice Management

Ironstone is a learning and development consultancy with business acumen that translates across many industries. Our focus is on practice management strategies in order to enhance and improve both business and personal life. We support professionals who want major and comprehensive improvements that look at all aspects not just an isolated area for change. Ironstone has identified 4 key performance areas known as the Fundamental 4™, which are required to design, develop, and sustain a successful business.


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One thought on “Financial Advisors and Social Media – How To Plan Your Strategy

  1. Social media as a tool of marketing is very popular now a days. Most of marketing firms use social media very often. However, Social media is just a tool and does not dictate the success of your marketing campaign. The success of you marketing campaign depends on your marketing strategy. Social media is just a tool to make your marketing strategy more efficient and easier to implement.

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