It may come as a surprise to some, but social media can play a key role in successfully growing your business. Routinely publishing content on social media platforms will not only help you establish your brand, but it will also help you develop deeper connections with current clients and build trust with prospects. Although it involves planning and commitment, the benefits of having an active social media presence are worth the effort.
Why You Need to Be on Social Media
We live in a digital age where most people educate themselves online long before they pick up the phone to call and schedule an appointment. What you publish online has become essential to proving your credibility and solidifying your reputation as an expert. Clients and prospects look to your website and social media content as a way to get to know you better, so it's important to ensure that the digital impression your firm makes is just as professional and differentiating as the one you provide in person, especially if you want to use your content as a tool to grow your advisory business. But how can you make sure you approach the content-generation process in a brand-relevant, consistent, and systematic way?
The Buck Stops with Your Marketing Content Calendar
As you look to develop your social media presence, you'll want to develop a marketing content calendar; it can help you plan and publish content on your website, blog, and social media pages. A content calendar can be created as a simple Excel spreadsheet or Word document, or you can even write it in your daily planner. The purpose is to keep you organized and on top of all important dates and topics you want to cover throughout the year.
The first step is to identify key dates that may be important for you or your clients. Think in terms of seasons and what might be on your clients' minds. For example:
- Back to school
- Tax return season
- The start of summer
- Sports seasons
All create opportunities to develop content your clients will find relevant and interesting. You'll then want to include events you'll be hosting or attending, as well as important community events. You should also schedule posts that focus on content you wish to share with your online network, such as personal updates about you and your staff, as well as financial planning information.
A marketing content calendar helps you stay organized in planning your content, but you'll need to keep track of your posts. As you begin to create content consistently, each new post you share will become part of your content library. Keeping a record of what lives in your library will help you remember what you've already posted so your new content is always fresh but still in line with your style.
Brainstorming Your Posts
The process for building a strong social media presence can be overwhelming. But to fully leverage social media, you need to make every effort to post your own original material. Start small. Try to write on a topic once a month at first—this is where your marketing content calendar helps to keep you accountable. Identify a date on which you want to post your content, and get it on the calendar. Once you have a date locked in, you can start writing. Below are some ideas to help you begin brainstorming your posts.
Showcase your knowledge. Think about what makes you unique. Do you have experience in a particular area of financial planning? Maybe you're a tax expert, or you specialize in planning for small businesses. Think about the questions your clients ask you on a regular basis. If you find yourself frequently answering the same questions, those questions may make great topics for a blog or social media post. Once you start publishing content on a particular topic, you will begin to establish yourself as a subject-matter expert.
After you've accumulated six months to a year's worth of content, you can always go back and revise or add to posts that are still relevant and republish them. For example, an article on the top five tax tips would remain useful to your audience if it were updated and reposted around tax return season each year. Also, with a content calendar as part of your social media content strategy, you'll have a reminder of why you're republishing those particular pieces.
Focus on your best clients' interests. Another helpful exercise is to make a list of your top five or six clients. Write down what you know about them, and see what those clients have in common. Are they in the same age range? Do they all own businesses or work in similar industries? Are they all involved in the same community activities? The answers to these questions will make it easier to determine what your clients' interests are. Using your existing clients' interests to drive the content you produce may attract new clients with similar interests and help grow your advisory business.
Be you. Articles that show the human side of your practice are usually well received. You can publish pictures of your holiday decorations or feature a particular employee each month. Be sure to write about any community activities you're involved with. The human interest side of your firm will help you connect with readers authentically and add to the trust you're building through your content.
Ready to Be More Active on Social Media?
Clients and prospects start their buying decisions long before they make contact with you personally. Online content serves as a way to communicate, meet needs, and build trust even before you establish a direct relationship. Having an active social media presence also allows you to connect with clients on a personal level in an environment in which you can share common interests and experiences. The good news? You can start small. As you gain experience and momentum, generating content can become another strategy to grow your advisory business.
For more guidance on putting your ideas into action and giving your firm a competitive edge, download our complimentary workbook, 5 Steps to an Effective Marketing Plan.
This post originally appeared on Commonwealth Independent Advisor, a blog authored by subject-matter experts at Commonwealth Financial Network®, the nation's largest privately held RIA–independent broker/dealer. To subscribe, please visit https://blog.commonwealth.com.
This content is made possible by Commonwealth Financial Network®; it is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of InvestmentNews' editorial staff.