What in the world is new media, and why should I care about it? That is what many financial advisors are asking. One of my favorite definitions of new media is “communicating in a wired world.” With millions of people connecting, conversing, sharing, and searching online, technology has simply become more “social.” In fact, one of the primary components of new media is “social media.” You might think of social media—like Facebook and LinkedIn—as the convergence of technology and personal relationships.
Financial advisors have been slow to embrace social media as a legitimate business-development tool for various reasons. They cite compliance issues and lack of time; some even regard it as “irrelevant” to their businesses. However, as more and more advisors see clients and prospects engaging in social media, they are realizing that they need to have a strategy for being a part of that conversation.
Technology is certainly no substitute for personal relationships, but people don’t abandon technologies that make it easier for them to communicate. How quickly we forget that e-mail completely changed the way we work and communicate today. With a solid social media strategy, an opportunity exists to nurture existing relationships and attract new clients in your niche markets.
If you’re still wondering what the value of social media can be for your practice, here are seven benefits of harnessing its power:
- Replicate your real-life network online. A social media profile can serve as a built-in drip tool for staying in front of prospects, clients, and centers of influence. This is a no-brainer. If you establish a social profile on the major social networks such as Linked In and Facebook, you will build connections and have lots of opportunities to engage in online conversations with those people. Social conversations do not have to be about business, and probably shouldn’t be. As you know, Sales 101 is to connect with people first around shared interests or passions, and eventually the social connection will lead into a business conversation. Social media is a perfect venue for that.
- See beyond your immediate network. The beauty of social media is that it lets you peek into the social connections of your connections. You can see beyond your immediate network. This can be incredibly powerful as you seek to gain access to ideal clients and centers of influence. Forget about asking for referrals. Social media is built on transparency blended with sharing; if you ask for an introduction to an ideal prospect through one of your connections, you are likely to get it.
- Gather intelligence about your clients and prospects. What do they care about? Who are they connected with? What’s going on in their lives? You can gain incredible insight about people due to the transparent nature of social media—there’s a lot of information about likes, dislikes, and interests available right on the surface. Use this intelligence as a starting point for getting to know your clients and prospects well—social media provides easy starting points for building relationships so that you can really own your social network.
- Target your niche markets with precision. Not only can you visibly establish yourself as an expert in niche markets, you can target those niche markets with precision. We now live in a nation of niches, and it is simpler than ever to locate people who share certain passions and interests. If you are looking for golfers in Dallas who enjoy Italian food, for example, you can probably find them!
- Shape and broadcast your personal brand. Your online real estate is an asset that should be claimed by you for the benefit of your personal brand. First of all, establishing profiles on the major social media networks lets Google and other search engines generate a more accurate picture of who you are and what you do for people. That will help clients and prospects learn more about you—and you can let them learn whatever you decide is important. If you take control of your social media and establish robust online presence, you wield all of the power to define your personal brand.
- Establish a specific voice. By showcasing your personality, passions, interests, and expertise online, you can build your own reputation. One of the greatest advantages of the social media movement is that it lets you self-publish and enhance your credibility. You get to show who you are and why you are different. If you become a resource to your niche markets and share valuable content, your reputation can spread very quickly. If what you bring to the conversation is relevant and valuable, no matter the topic, it can potentially be shared with thousands of people.
- Relate to the next generation. According to a 2019 Pew Research population estimates (the latest available), Generation X is expected to outnumber boomers in 2028, and millennials overtook boomers in 2019! Some 83% of those under 50 use a social media platform, and 68% of all Americans do. Your clients and prospects of every age are online; to be a part of their world, you need to be prepared to meet them with a marketing strategy that matches the way they seek information, knowledge, and connection. As those 76 million baby boomers retire, you certainly want to be in a position to connect with the great inheritance generation.
I believe that we have entered a new era of relationship marketing. Those financial advisors who make the commitment to educate themselves on best practices and participate in this newly “wired” world will have a tremendous competitive advantage. Those who decide to sit on the sidelines risk opening the door for their competition to engage with and influence their clients.