Advisor social media: Put yourself out there!
Social media isn't just for the millennial crowd and for sharing beach pics. It's a way to engage with clients, increase your brand awareness, and build your network.
Total engagement includes being on LinkedIn
Total engagement is a goal we all strive for as financial professionals serving clients. While many advisors are capable of and achieve total engagement when in client meetings, we believe the best advisors display total engagement beyond face-to-face meetings by leveraging service models and sharing content and though leadership via social platforms, including LinkedIn.
Over the past few months, Russell Investments has introduced an updated social media policy that has allowed me and my colleagues to more deeply engage with our clients and the advisor communities we serve. With a few months of experience working more closely with the platform, I'd like to share some of my insights.
If you're not on LinkedIn you don't exist (or at least not in the way you want to)
- Let's start with a simple exercise. Google yourself. Type your name into Google and see what the results are. If you have a common name you may need to add your city or your firm to get the most relevant results. Once you're comfortable that you've found yourself, ask a simple question: what are the top three results shown by Google? In most cases, a profile on your firm's webpage and your LinkedIn profile will fill two of the top three slots. This is huge (read: huge)! We all know that, when searching on Google, most people don't scroll through pages and pages of results. Rather, they scan what's at the top of the first page and click into the results that interest them. In other words, in the minds of an internet user, what your LinkedIn profile says about you is what you are--for better or for worse.
- Now that you know your LinkedIn profile will be one of the top results for your name, ask yourself whether it accurately tells your story and if it explains why a client or prospect would want to work with you. If your profile is optimized, this information should come through easily. Unfortunately, in many instances, this isn't the case.
Incomplete profile = incomplete brandNow that you recognize LinkedIn as one of the most relevant results for your name and the ability for LinkedIn to tell your story, it's time to optimize your profile. Here are a few questions to get you started:
- Look at the basics. Is your profile up to date? Does it include all relevant work and educational experience?
- Does it tell who you are and why a client or prospect would want to do business with you? If it doesn't, there's a great opportunity to include your unique value proposition and to spice up your profile to tell your story.
The power of sharingLet's think about content next. Posting content creates a powerful opportunity to publish information you find relevant to a community you care about. In essence, sharing content is an opportunity to create and distribute your own mini-magazine, making you visible to clients and prospects at their own convenience. Considering the following questions:
- Are you posting articles that you have written, such as thought leadership pieces? If not, think about what message you want to share with your community. In many cases you will be able to leverage high-quality content created by your firm.
- Aim to be authentic by posting across different categories: family, community and financial planning may work for many advisors. Travel, education and retirement are topics to consider as well.
Direct connection with clientsIf you're only connected to colleagues and other industry professionals, you're missing a powerful opportunity to speak directly to your clients. Now that you have a professional profile and you are posting content, you need to ask yourself if you're connected to the right people. Here's a step-by-step guide to establishing the right network:
- Print off a list of your top clients and cross reference that list against your LinkedIn connections
- Go further by connecting with your clients' adult family members
- Connect to your top prospects
The bottom line
Connecting to your best clients, their families and your top prospects allows you to broadcast your message to a community you care deeply about. Sharing content will increase mind share within your community--helping to build trust and deepen client relationships while opening doors to potential business with the families of your clients and the prospects of your choice. As a top advisor, you are already totally engaged when you are with your clients. LinkedIn is a powerful tool that will help you to display that level of engagement outside the boardroom too.