Now is a good time to review your digital marketing and social media engagement practices.

Here are five trends that you should be paying attention to as we begin 2016.

1. Your website must be mobile-friendly

The number of mobile users now exceeds the number of desktop computer users worldwide. Anywhere from one-third to two-thirds of your website traffic could come from mobile devices. And last year, Google altered its algorithm to rank websites higher in search results if they are mobile-friendly.

If your website and online information assets are not optimized for viewing on mobile devices in 2016, you’re falling behind. Try this Google test to see if your site is mobile-friendly. (Note: If your site runs on WordPress and fails the test, there may be a temporary fix in the form of a mobile-friendly plugin.)

2. Video helps prospects get to know — and maybe even like — you

Video continues to grow in popularity and will become increasingly important to advisors this year. Video is great for sharing insight and ideas, while also giving viewers something to help decide whether they want to learn more about you.

Potentially game-changing video tools such as Periscope and Meerkat allow you to live stream video from your mobile device, but I’m skeptical about their usefulness for most advisors.

Think of video as a tool for storytelling, sharing ideas and communicating your brand. Then, hire some capable professionals to make you look and sound really good.

3. Ignore online security at your peril

Gone are the days of ignoring your online security. Cyber-criminals are looking for soft targets online and even a small security breach can have significant financial and regulatory consequences for you and your practice.

Strengthen your online security in 2016 by doing any or all of the following:

  • develop a security strategy for your business;
  • always use strong passwords online;
  • communicate no private information with clients via public email;
  • train yourself, your staff and even your clients on the importance of online security.

Read: 5 simple but important online security habits

4. Find and share great content more often to increase visibility

Clients, prospects, peers and competitors are turning to search and social networks like Google, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to find helpful content and answers.

Focusing on being a source of relevant and helpful information for your audience, not only on financial matters, continues to be one of the best ways increase your visibility and build your online network. Best practices for sharing are at least 3 times a day on LinkedIn and at least 10 times a day on Twitter.

Read: Social media in 3 hours per week

Publish engaging and informative articles on your blog and on LinkedIn. And don’t overlook the power of a consent-based email list to regularly distribute helpful information and add value to your relationship with existing clients.

5. Personal engagement drives social media ROI

As social networks become more embedded in people’s daily lives and habits, they become more social places. Don’t make the mistake of treating social networks as marketing soapboxes.

Invest time in building and nurturing relationships online, not just pushing out content. Advisory businesses are relationship businesses, and deeper engagement with existing clients and external centres of influence will drive sustainable long-term growth.

Read: Make better connections on social media

Jay Palter is a social media strategist and coach with two decades of experience in financial services, software development and marketing.
Originally published on Advisor.ca
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