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Practice Management

There are a number of social media mistakes that can trip up advisors. Get these details right to boost your social presence.

This Practice Management article is intended for financial advisors only (registered representatives of broker/dealers or associated persons of Registered Investment Advisors).
 

If you sometimes feel that you are not quite fluent in social media marketing, you’re not alone.

After working with many advisors on their social media efforts, we've identified five social marketing mistakes that can trip you up. Get all these fine points right, however, and in no time you’ll be on your way to mastering social marketing.

If you’d like to see more of your content shared and have a greater social presence, here are a few things you must be sure to get right:

1. Dot your i’s and cross your t’s.

What is the purpose of having social pages? When it comes down to it, you want to give your clients more opportunities to view you as a trusted financial professional, and social media will do just that. But if you post irrelevant or poorly constructed content, you will quickly turn off followers and lose clout.

The quick interactions make it difficult to be perfect, but here are a few tips to ensure that you don’t make embarrassing mistakes on your social pages:

  • Have someone you trust proofread your profile information. Your "Bio" and "About" sections are permanent features on your page, so take some time to make sure they are well written.
  • Read posts and responses to posts out loud before publishing them.
  • Write posts in Word (especially your longer Facebook posts) and then come back to them later after viewing something else. This will give your mind a chance to refocus and catch any errors you may have missed.
  • After posting, go back and look at your page a few minutes later. Reread your post, and if you see any errors you didn't catch, copy the post, delete it from your page, paste the content in a new post or tweet, and fix the errors before you send it out again.

2. Timing matters.

Do you ever wonder when the best times to post are? This infographic shows when your followers are on social media. Here are some interesting facts:

  • 48% of social media users are on Eastern Standard Time.
  • Twitter users are most likely to re-tweet on Wednesdays around 5 p.m.
  • The best time to post on Facebook is at noon.

There are two things to be aware of with your timing on social media: First, pay attention to the general statistics like those found above, and, second, keep track of what your users respond to. Have you found that some of your posts are more successful than others? Go back and look at when you posted those; do you see a common theme?

3. Once is not enough.

QuickSprout shares this interesting insight: "Although 82% of Twitter users have than less than 350 followers, 18% still have more than that. And just because that 18% number is small, you shouldn't ignore it, as Twitter has more than 500 million users."

Your followers may not follow a large number of people, but with its rapid newsfeed, Twitter makes it easy for any user to miss an update. Social media experts recommend that you send out tweets at least twice, if not more.

4. Social pages are marketing pieces.

Many firms are working to slowly define their social media-compliance policy. Because of the slow adoption in the industry, many advisors have steered clear of becoming involved in social media at all. The hesitation makes sense, but these advisors are missing the many benefits social pages can offer their practices.

When done well, social pages can be used as a marketing and branding tool. Even if your pages are static (meaning that they are not used for posting), they can be used to help increase SEO, help clients easily refer you to friends, and serve as a place for prospective clients to be introduced to your brand.

The graphics, profile photo, bio, and content of your pages should be current and as professional as your website. Many advisors have created multiple accounts, have created an account without adding images, or have not updated their current social pages. Missteps like these will hurt your brand appearance and hinder your potential success with social pages.

5. Follow up with face time.

Every interaction with clients should end with a call to action, and your social pages should be no exception. Your social media marketing will help you establish and gauge client interest. If a client shows a particular interest in a post or has a question, give them a call and invite them to come in to learn more. Nothing can replace that personal interaction—it's the outcome toward which all marketing is leading—and only you can make that call.

—by Craig Faulkner

Craig Faulkner is CEO of FMG Suite, offering a complete inbound marketing solution for financial professionals, from websites to e-mail newsletters to a customized mobile app. You also can follow him @fmgsuite on Twitter.

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