Laying Your Social Media Foundation
Posted by: Jennifer Woodard | on May 9, 2012
Before jumping into social media and getting involved in every social networking site around. It is best to begin by laying your social media foundation and building upon it when the time comes.
While it is not necessary for financial service professionals to become involved in social media, it is becoming an important asset in the marketing toolbox. While I am not advocating giving up traditional marketing techniques, I am saying that integrating social media marketing can help you reach more targeted prospects at a cheaper cost.
Inbound marketing-dominated organizations experience a 62% lower cost per lead than outbound marketing dominated organizations. Hubspot
How are financial services using social media and what are the benefits they are achieving?
According to Hubspot 2011 report
61% of Financial Services Firms acquired clients using LinkedIn
47% of Financial Services Firms acquired clients using Blogs
40% of Financial Services Firms acquired clients using Twitter
35% of Financial Services Firms acquired clients using Facebook
Deciding on what you want to achieve and establishing goals
Before you decide what social media networks to invested it is a good idea to determine what you are trying to achieve and deciding on a concrete goal.
What are you trying to achieve?
More website traffic
More inquiries concerning your services
Develop a deeper relationship with prospect
Lead prospects to becoming clients
Become known as an industry expert
What concrete goals are you trying to achieve?
1000 website visitors per month
50 inquiries concerning your services per month
For prospects to engage more with you through online social networking avenues
Five prospects nurtured to become clients per month
Media to contact you when they are writing financial article in your expertise
Now that you have determined what your desires and goals are, it is time to lay your social media foundation.
While many in the financial services field are nervous about venturing too far out into the social media landscape for whatever reasons; regulation, lack of knowledge, lack of time, ECT.
The bottom line is that you current and future clients are hanging out on social media networks and they expect you to be their also. They are expecting to be able to interact with using social media, so it is time to let go of your fears and build your social media presence.
Statistical information: Local monthly searches for key financial terms
Financial Advisor: 368,000
What does the foundation for a financial services firms social media landscape look like?
Your five areas of focus:
- Your Blog
- Groups, forums and other blogs
- Email List
- Twitter (optional)
Your Blog: You will use your blog to write articles that your target market will be interested in reading.
Groups, forums and other blogs: You will use this avenue to connect with your target market and create awareness of your blog. You will also encourage readers of your blog to become a facebook fan, join your email list, and follow you on twitter.
Email List: You will create a build an email list to allow you to keep in contact with people who show interest, leading prospects to become clients and reinforcing your relationship with current clients.
Facebook: You will use facebook to interact more closely with prospects and clients, helping to create trust and turning prospects in to clients.
Twitter: You will use twitter to offer helpful tips and advice to draw traffic back to your blog.
Now that I have told you why I have chosen these four social media areas to begin with, let’s look at how to develop an easy plan that doesn’t have to become overwhelming. The key is to start small and be consistent in your approach.
Sample Social Media Strategy:
A financial services firm that is looking to increase leads using social media and their goal is to bring in 10 new leads per month. Their target market is small business owners who are looking for ways to reduce their taxes, invest for their futures and leave lasting legacies.
Step 1: Create a blog offering financial planning advice to small business owners on how to reduce their taxes, invest for their futures and leave lasting legacies.
Step 2: Sign up for an email service provider and offer a short free report to people that sign up for their monthly newsletter to grow your email list.
Step 3: Search out 2-3 groups geared towards small business owners such as American Express open forum and groups on LinkedIn and 2-3 blogs that target similar readers.
Step 4: Leave comments on blogs, groups, forums and answer questions. Include a link back to your blog so that readers can follow.
Step 5: Create a Facebook page and encourage readers to sign up by offering information that they will not see on the blog
Step 6: Sign up for Twitter and encourage readers to become followers. Use a program like Hootsuite to create scheduled tweets that link followers back to their blog
How much time does all this take?
I suggest that you create a plan that will last at least six months, preferable a year, in order to truly see a return on your investment. Social media inbound marketing activities generally take longer to see the benefits of your time invested.
You should post to your blog at least twice a week and offer a monthly newsletter. Spend at least one hour per day and engaging in your social media activities, including commenting on blogs, groups, forums, your facebook page and twitter. You can schedule tweets in advance, so spend an hour every couple of days setting up tweets to send out. Depending on how long it takes you to write and research your articles you could spend about 10 hours a week on social media activities.
Do you have 10 hours per week to spend on social media?
Well you could easily find 10 hours to invest in your business. You could get up an hour earlier each day, devote 2 hours on Saturday or skip watching television a couple of hours a week. If you truly want to succeed in the social media arena, then you will find the time necessary to invest in social media.
Does 10 hours a week seem feasible to invest in social media activities for your business?
How much time are you currently investing in social media?
Do you have a social media plan?
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