Everywhere you look these days, we are all being urged to engage in social media to market our businesses and deepen our relationships with clients. This may sound good but there are some serious barriers preventing advisors in particular from reaching their true potential.
Here are the top four barriers and how you can overcome them:
1. The compliance requirements are unclear.
To be sure, social media technologies are creating some compliance gray areas, however, new guidelines are in the works to help to clarify some of these uncertainties. Recognize that social media for a financial professional is a lot more than tweeting about products. For the record, that’s probably an area you’ll want to avoid.
Focus instead on building credibility, relationships and trust. Use social media to build your personal brand and deepen your connections with clients. Leave the transactional “heavy lifting” – that is, whatever you need to say to help your client make a specific product or investment decision – to traditional channels such as face-to-face meetings, telephone calls, and corporate email. Use social media to be, well, social.
And, whatever you do on social media, archive it, store it and be able to retrieve it. Commercial solution providers such as Socialware and Arkovi offer affordable tools for archiving all social media activity in order to meet compliance requirements.
2. Opinions cannot be controlled.
Correct. You need to understand – and accept – that you cannot control online conversations, user-generated content or search results about yourself.
Instead, focus on what you can control:
- You CAN participate in online dialogue;
- You CAN inspire people about your brand
- You CAN respond, reply and engage.
When you let the lack of control dissuade you from participating, you give up your voice.
3. There’s just no time to participate.
As professionals, we are very busy people. Time is the most valuable and scarcest commodity in our day-to-day work lives.
Social media engagement takes time but as a professional you are well-advised to find ways to fit it in.
Here are some suggestions:
- Re-evaluate ALL your time allocations – You may love golf but is an 8-hour charity golf day the best use of your time? Make a donation and use the time more productively.
- Leverage your support team to help you – I’m not suggesting you delegate all your social media efforts to your administrative assistant but learn how to leverage your team to make you smarter and more efficient.
- Burn the midnight oil – There’s a learning curve with social media and you may need to put in some extra time to figure it out.
- Outsource strategy and implementation support – Consultants, specialists and third-party services can really help you in social media. Understand your goals and hire out to enhance your capacity.
4. I don’t know what to do or say.
Many accomplished professionals find themselves out of their element in the social media space. You may not know what to say on Twitter. You don’t feel like your insights are unique enough to blog about. Perhaps you are a bit technophobic.
Admittedly, there’s a lot to learn in order to be productive using social media – new tools to use, new etiquette to be observed, new people to meet.
Everything you ever wanted to know about social media is available online, so read up. Experiment personally with social media tools – connect with your friends and family – and get the feel of sharing in an online space.
And finally, remember this: Your observations about the world – the unique lens through which you focus your vision – is precisely what your fans and supporters want from you. It’s an important reason why your clients do business with you and refer you to others.
And it’s the very basis of your personal brand.
Your most important goal in social media is to unleash your personal brand – because in the end, no one else can.