When I talk to advisors about social media, it’s not uncommon for their first question to be: How can I use social media to market myself?

The best way to generate new leads and fill your pipeline with prospects is to focus your social media efforts on engaging with your clients and peers. That’s right. By using social media to engage your clients, other professionals and centres of influence in your business ecosystem, you will be creating opportunities for prospects to find their way to you.

Engage clients

Social media may be one of the most powerful client retention tools you will ever find. Engaging your clients online creates opportunities to deepen your relationships with them. Start by making a habit of connecting with your clients on social networks such as LinkedIn. If you already have a personally close relationship, you can also connect with your client via Facebook which is typically reserved for a more intimate circle of friends and family.

If your client is active online, sharing their thoughts via Facebook or LinkedIn updates or even a Twitter feed, you can gain valuable knowledge about who they are, how they think and what’s important to them—topics that don’t always come up in your business meetings with them. Clients will tell you exactly what they want from you on social media. All you have to do is listen and focus on translating what you read into better service and greater satisfaction. That’s real engagement.

Network with Peers

Businesses rarely operate in a vacuum and practice professionals are no exception. There is a community of other businesses that complement and enhance your offering. When it comes to financial advisors, there are many other business professionals with subject matter expertise in accounting, law, insurance and a wide variety of other business advisory services that form a vital part of your ecosystem.

Your clients also live in your business ecosystem and often have dealings with—and are influenced by—some of these other professionals.

Your reputation among peers in your business ecosystem should matter to you because it affects your success. Thus, your social media activities should consider this audience, what their needs are and how you want them to think of you. I call that paying attention to your personal brand.

One social media strategy you can use in this context is to focus on discovering and sharing remarkable online content in your area of expertise. This helps to build your credibility and demonstrate your knowledge.

Trusted source of information

In this world of information overload, we are all looking for people who we can rely on, people who cut through the noise and add value in the form of high quality information and/or insight. When we use social media effectively to become trusted sources of information for our clients and peers, some of that trust rubs off on us.

Inevitably, someone in the extended social network of your engaged clients and peers will ask them for a referral or recommendation. If you’ve done your social media homework, you will be top of mind because you will have become better known, more liked and, most importantly, trusted within your network.

Ultimately, if you use social media to deepen relationships with your clients and build a reputation for knowledge and trustworthiness among your peers, you will succeed in attracting new clients and prospects of the most powerful kind: referrals.

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