Is your social media plan a simple act of dipping your toes in the water? If so, you should be prepared for the consequences of premeditated drowning by your competition. NOW is the time to jump in and get your feet wet. Social media is a critical business tool which is no longer considered a stand-alone marketing option; you must streamline it into your overall marketing strategy. If you haven’t read our article, Ready To Jump On The Social Media Bandwagon , review it now for simple and basic steps to get your toes wet. Today’s blog guides you further with a blueprint to incorporate social media into your overall marketing plan.
Financial advisors are expecting and planning for social media to play a meaningful role in 2013. Research conducted by LinkedIn partnered with FTI Consulting reports seven in ten financial advisors are using social networks for business. Adoption rates will continue to grow as 2013 unfolds representing an 80% increase year-over-year. Advisors face unique compliance challenges unlike other professions, however, the good news is advisors recognize ways to overcome these obstacles.
According to Forrester Research, 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 their overall business and marketing plans.
7 Steps To Create Your Social Media Plan
1. Establish Your Foundation– You know I preach “always begin with the end in mind”. The same holds true in a social media plan. Creating a social media plan requires a solid foundation and a vital first step. Many firms engage in social media but do not have a structure in place to support their efforts. Identify your goals and objectives while ensuring they link to your overall firm goals. Keep your objectives SMART! (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic/Relevant and Timely). Read our blog, The Gold Rush To Social Media-How To Track Your Success, Part I to gain insight on developing a secure social media foundation.
2. Identify Social Media Channels Best For Your Firm – Find out what networks your clients and prospective clients are engaging. A simple start, and the most common, is to incorporate LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
3. Create A Social Media Calendar – This goes beyond scheduling your own social media content. Schedule time to engage in conversation. Avoiding engagement in online conversation is the biggest reason for social media failure. Tip: use social media streamlining to simplify your social media efforts. Hootsuite, SocialOomph and TweetDeck give you the ability to schedule and simultaneously post to social media channels.
4. Create Content – Schedule time for content creation. One of the best ways to organize your content is to create a library of topics relevant to your industry. Research and save documents in your library to compile information related to your chosen topics. If your firm has adopted blogging, which I highly recommend, use a blogging template.
5. Identify Contacts – Make connections by following relevant conversations. By interacting, connections will happen naturally. Tip: create a list of centers of influence you would like to connect with along with a plan for introduction. Share their content through re-tweets and shares.
6. Research Competition – Schedule time to stalk your competition. Find out what they are doing, what they are talking about and how they are engaging with others. Read their posts, tweets and blogs. In this case, advisors need to keep up with the Joneses.
7. Track and Measure Results –There are many ways and tools available to track and measure your social media efforts. To get started, refer to your goals and objectives you established in step one. Identify the increase in followers, engagement level, connections and leads you have made. Watch for our follow up in another blog with more information for you to use in tracking and measuring your social media results.
Don’t become overwhelmed with social media. Have fun with it, follow these steps and reap the benefits.
Question: What do you think about social media? What challenges or success have you experienced in social media? You can leave a comment by clicking here.