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How to Get Started with Social Media

by WBI Insights

So many financial advisors are already using social media to grow their businesses. If you aren’t, what are you waiting for? Social media is a great tool to educate and communicate with your clients on a large scale. It can also be a great tool to attract new clients to your business. Before you get started, or if you already have a social media presence, here are some things you will want to think about.

With so many social media platforms that are great ways to connect with your audience, it’s important to focus on what you can do well rather than trying to hit everything. Consider the types of people you are trying to connect with and what channels will be the best fit. Who are you trying to reach? Let your target audience demographics guide your choices.

What resources do you have for community management? Creating your posts is only half of the job when it comes to social media. Be realistic about how much bandwidth your team has to manage responses.

Why you need social media

Did you know social media is now the preferred channel for the public to communicate with brands? Whether they want to make a complaint, share a suggestion, or just get some information, people are more likely to contact you on Facebook than any other channel these days.

We probably don’t have to tell you that your business needs a social media presence, but in case we do: Your business needs a social media presence. Social media has evolved to be much more than sharing pictures of your brunch with your aunt in Tennessee. Today, people use social media to find new brands, learn about their medical diagnosis, keep up with what’s happening around town, hear who won last week’s election, and I could keep going. Social media provides businesses the most powerful source of word-of-mouth marketing. Because if someone cares enough about what you are doing to follow your page on social, then they likely care enough to share it with their friends. But with so much happening on social media each day, how do we cut through the noise? 

A strategic approach to getting started

Like all aspects of a business, strategy is essential for social media success. Some of you may have the resources to create a dedicated social media team, many of you only have a handful of people running your entire organization, or you may be doing it all solo. We’re going to try to breakdown the essentials of social media strategy in a way that you can all implement. 

Here are main steps to get started with social media: 

Social Listening

The most basic, and essential activity that brands need to carry out on social media is listening to what is being said about them, their competitors and their market. Social is a focus group on a global scale. Listening to discussions that are relevant to you and your mission will help you understand how your customers really feel about your services, and identify new opportunities. If you take one thing away from this article, let it be that you need dedicated time for listening to what people are saying on social media. 

Publishing System

Then you need to create an organized publishing system. First define your “content pillars,” or major content themes. Using what you learned from social listening, select three to five broad topic areas that your audience cares about and where you can offer expertise. Then create a content calendar. I recommend aiming for at least one large-scale piece – a video, long-form blog post, or a report – per month. Try to create pieces that can be broken down into smaller chunks and shared across all your channels easily. If you have the resources for a social media publishing platform like Hootsuite or Sprout Social, that will make things easier, but you can use tools like Excel and Google Sheets to keep you organized as well. You also want a centralized repository of your images and other assets. I recommend organizing by social platform and theme.

Paid Content

Use paid content as a booster for your campaigns. Continuously running paid content on Facebook is likely to be as ineffective as it is expensive. Instead, develop a broad content strategy and use paid placements to spike engagement in strategically important places and times. 

Engagement

Finally, you need to engage with your community to build strong customer relationships. Interact with your followers, respond to questions and comments, educate them about your services. The key to effective engagement? Consistency. Once you’ve chosen the social channels your team will focus on, consider your resources. Then internally commit to target response times for engagement in your chosen channels.

While planning and strategy are the keys to a successful social media initiative, it is important to be responsive. As we have seen recently, current events can have a profound impact on the needs of your audience. Be sure to build some flexibility into your schedule and be sure to review your plan frequently.

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