By Taylor Clark
In the world of a financial adviser, time management can mean the difference between success and failure. Unfortunately, when you attempt to fit a social-media marketing schedule into a week packed with staff meetings, annual reviews and client appreciation events, it can appear as if there simply isn't time to manage your online presence, let alone find time for a lunch break. But adding social-media marketing to your workload doesn't have to be difficult or time-consuming. By utilizing these tips along with the social-media marketing schedule template offered in this article, you can improve your brand's online presence and actively engage your audience without having to make major adjustments to your normal routine.
In order to develop a social-media marketing schedule, you first have to understand what your goals are and exactly how you're going to achieve them. You've likely developed an annual marketing schedule to plan out your workshops, monthly newsletters or client appreciation events in an effort to achieve certain goals each month, and your social-media schedule is no different.
Schedule content, promotions and status updates to promote your upcoming events, share useful information and engage your fans and followers. In less than two hours per week, you will be able to post actively to multiple social networks and share relevant information to educate your followers.
Putting it to work
Determine at what time each week you'll dedicate two hours to working on social media, and put it on your calendar as a recurring event to ensure that time is blocked off each week. These two hours will be dedicated to finding content to share, scheduling posts and writing short blogs to educate clients and prospects.
One of the most important things you can do as a financial planner is use your social-media accounts as a means to educate your clients and prospects on what you do, what's happening in the news and how they can improve their financial situation. To do that, you need to share content from reliable online news sources that your followers will be interested in reading.
When you come across a great article on a news website or from an e-mail newsletter, record that article, a summary of its content and the URL on your schedule template to be used for the following week. By the end of the week, you will have plenty of content.
Google Alerts is a useful way to stay up-to-date on topics of interest. It takes a lot of the work out of finding content by sending you links based on keywords you've identified. I've set up Google Alerts to send me news articles that include the words “annuities” and “retirement.” Anytime a news article about one of the keywords is posted online, Google Alerts will send me an e-mail with a link to the article. To use Google Alerts, simply visit google.com/alerts, enter your search query, what type of sources you'd like to receive information from, the frequency and the e-mail address you'd like these alerts sent to.
You can create a rule using your e-mail program so that all of your Google Alerts are stored in one location. Be careful — if you set up your alerts to notify you as things happen, you will receive way more content then you could possibly use. Instead, try receiving the alerts once a day or as frequently as it makes sense for your schedule.
Keep up with the competition
One of the easiest ways to find great content to share with your friends is to keep an eye on your competition. You've likely heard talk about who's successfully using social media to promote their business, so keep an eye on what they're doing. “Like” their Facebook pages, follow them on Twitter and pay attention to what they share. If they share a great news article, schedule it for your own page to share with your fans. If they wrote a great blog post about a topic you think your fans will like, check out their sources and write your own version; don't plagiarize their content.
When you start paying more attention to your competitors, whether they're from across the country or your local area, you may start noticing techniques they use aside from content sharing that you can use to help promote your own business. There's nothing wrong with utilizing ideas that you get from your competitors — they are probably keeping a close eye on what you're doing, as well. It should create some friendly competition.
Social-media management tools
Once you've found content worth sharing and you've written down the information on your social-media schedule template, you will have no trouble at all getting posts scheduled for the following week. To make this task easier, you need to use a social-media management tool. These tools allow you to manage multiple social-media profiles from one location, pre-schedule status updates and interact with your followers. There are dozens of SMM tool options available, but the two most impressive and cost-effective options I've found are Hootsuite and Sprout Social.
• Hootsuite is probably the most used and best-known social-media management tool. While the interface takes a bit of getting used to, its cost (free) makes it the best, most functional option available for someone looking to manage their social profiles in one place.
• Sprout Social offers one of the best-looking and most advanced SMM platforms out there, and the monthly cost is relatively low compared with tools such as Hubspot. While there is no free option outside of its 30-day trial, the level of control and powerful analytics and reporting tools it offers mean you could have a competitive edge and certainly complete control over your campaigns.
Either tool will allow you schedule your content in advance. Set up at least one posting per day to all of your social-media profiles.
Creating and maintaining a social-media marketing schedule doesn't have to be difficult and doesn't have to eat away at your weekly schedule. By simply setting aside two hours per week to seek out great news articles, create interesting content and pre-schedule your posts a week in advance, you can maintain an active social-media presence to promote your business without crowding your weekly schedule.
Taylor Clark is a blogger and marketing consultant. Find him online at www.taylorclark.co.