Social media is a term that gets discussed a lot these days in the financial services industry. It has changed the way we communicate and the way we share and receive information. It has also changed the way we introduce ourselves to prospective clients, keep connected with existing clients and how we market ourselves.
But before you spend hours enhancing your LinkedIn profile, keep in mind that Social Media is one piece of the puzzle. Of course an important piece, but in order to be effective you need to have all the pieces in place – making up your online presence. Your online presence is crucial especially in this day and age when people want information fast. You need to be visible so prospects can find you.
As the old saying goes "You are only as strong as your weakest link." So how do you create a strong online presence? Let's talk about all the pieces and how to effectively use each one.
1. Your Website
Your website is the most important part of your online presence. Every other TouchPoint (marketing materials) in your business should direct prospects back to your website. It's the virtual "face" to your business so it needs to look as professional as you do.
Your website should communicate your brand to your ideal client and should be easy to navigate. Prospects will loose interest quickly if they can't figure out who you are. Make sure you answer the questions, "What do we do?", "How do we do it?" and "Who do we do it for?" The answers to these questions should be easy to get to, directly from the home page. Also, it's important that links to other sources, like your social media and marketing tools, are present on the home page. Your readers should be able to tell a detailed story about your business just by looking at the first page.
2. Online Marketing Material
Your online marketing materials should be downloadable directly onto a reader's desktop. It's important that these files have hyperlinks directing readers back to your website and your social media platforms. Marketing materials that you would choose to share on your website could include information on your company, discussing your process and detailed information on services you provide.
These tools should communicate your brand and speak to your ideal client as well. A lot of advisors simply have hard copies of their marketing materials. If you put these materials online you can significantly increase your exposure. However, client specific material should remain confidential.
3. Affiliate Websites
Most likely, there are websites out there that have your name and company information on them, but aren't directly related to your official website. Some examples include publications who have written about you, any industry related events at which you've presented, or a board on which you serve.
You need to be aware of these pages and make sure that if people find this information they can be redirected back to your website. The more exposure to your website, the stronger your online presence.
4. Social Media
Your social media platform is a place where you can share and stay connected with prospects and colleagues and clients. Which type of social media you choose is up to you, but the rules remain the same.
Read: Find new clients online
If you are using LinkedIn, make sure that you have your website address and other social media links in your profile. Also, in order to be effective you need to be easy to find. Make sure you are using keywords in your title, your bio and your job description, detailing your job title and all services and products you provide. You are doing yourself a disservice if you only put the basics in your profile. As with your website and your marketing materials, be thorough with your information so readers/prospects aren't left guessing.
All of these pieces are important in creating the most effective online presence. They all need to link to one another so you are easy to find and, most importantly, present you as a trusted professional. Don't underestimate the power of your online presence. If your website and other online tools look professional, are easy to navigate through and you have a compelling brand that people can relate to, this will go a long way. Readers will know you are an expert, are organized and easy to work with.