Are you lagging behind in your social media presence? Are you worried that it takes too much time or that you may not know which activities to focus on when participating in social networking?
You are not alone.
Social media is fragmented, somewhat complex, sophisticated, and constantly changing.
There is so much information out there about how to do social media that it’s hard to know who to trust.
The best advice I can give you is that random tactics don’t work with social media. Rather, you need a plan, a strategy, and a framework that you can work within to create your own formula for success. What works for you is going to be unique to you, ultimately!
There are many benefits to getting on board with social media, but perhaps the most important benefit is that it can lead to new relationships and strengthen existing relationships. Never before have people been so transparent and accessible. Finding and growing the right relationships is the key to business growth.
Marketing through social media is different than any traditional marketing you may be using or have used in the past. Social media marketing requires a mindset shift. Instead of promoting, you should be helping and influencing. If you set your sights on finding ways to be helpful with your niche market, you are going to lead them to you. By default, building online influence breeds business success.
It requires patience to focus on building influence versus overtly marketing through social media. However, if done correctly, you will experience significant long-term benefits of social media in your personal and professional life. You will meet some amazing people and open doors that you’ve never imagined.
Perhaps up to this point you’ve avoided diving in to social media. Consider making 2014 your year for improving your social media presence! Do you need help doing this?
Consider signing up for our 30 Day Financial Social Media Strategy Builder Course launching January 6th, 2014. I’ll be leading advisors through my step-by-step process for building an effective, strategic, and sustainable social media presence.
In the meantime, here is a sneak peak of the course and a few tips for you to think about:
If you’ve already set up your social media profiles (or had someone set them up for you), it makes sense to go back and review them. Are they polished? Are they personalized? (I prefer profiles that are written in the 1st person for this reason) Do you have a recent photo on your profiles? Are you taking advantage of all of the features offered? Do you have professional background graphics and images?
Social networks tend to improve their profile features every so often. It is worthwhile to review and improve yours at least once a quarter.
Most importantly though, profile views are the gateway to targeted website traffic where someone can learn more about who you are, who you help, and how you help!
Once you’ve set up your profiles, you can start to look for people you already know or are acquainted with on these networks. Each network has its own tool for identifying people you may know that is pretty straight forward.
Once you go through the process of replicating your offline connections online, you will be amazed at all of the new potential connections that these networks will surface for you based on your existing network!
Your network will be critical to your social media strategy going forward. Without any connections, you don’t have the ability to listen and learn about what is on the minds of the people you serve nor will you be able to stay top of mind.
If you build your social media profiles but you don’t grow your network, no one will ever know you are there.
Spend time deliberately growing your network each and every day to expand your visibility and influence.
This is where many people freeze up in social media. Maybe you don’t really know what to do with these social media profiles you have created. Or, you end up wasting time because you don’t have a list of specific business building activities that you’re working on with social media.
There are a few objectives to strive for as you engage and participate in social media: interactions (dialogue with the right people), shares (when others share your content), profile views (profile views lead to website visitors), network growth (more connections, fans, and followers) and link clicks (when your connections click the links you’ve shared, and in particular, those links that go to your website or landing pages).
In order to accomplish any of the above objectives with your social media activities, you’re going to have to be authentic (is it really you?), helpful, and influential. If you simply push out uninteresting content to your networks, most likely you won’t be achieving much other than feeling as if you’re active!
Sharing relevant and helpful content on social media sites is critical to building followers, fans, and connections. Furthermore, it’s easy to do. Here is a social media sharing guide for financial advisors you can check out.
Ultimately, if you engage and participate with an influence-based mindset, you will begin to see the business benefits of social media.
Social networking is networking with a big difference; you don’t have to leave your office or spend evenings away from your family to participate. Social media actually SAVES TIME when it comes to networking.
You might hear from many so-called social media experts that you can have success in only 5-10 minutes per day. However, I haven’t found that to be the case. I think you need dedicated time each day to building your network and engaging with your network. In addition, you need to also engage in small spurts when you are on the go.
Most people are busy during the day, so I find that mornings, the lunch hour, late afternoons and evenings are the best times to be sharing and engaging.
Better yet, there are incredible software tools that are simple to use that can help you leverage your time and optimize your social media activities. I don’t recommend trying to learn a bunch of tools until you have become very familiar with the context of each social network you are involved in. Instead, use the native platforms and apps for each network until you understand the rules of each.
Consistency in social media participation builds trust. It shows your connections that you are engaged and accessible. An ideal client may not be ready to go all in with you, but if you’re consistently visible and accessible to them, it can spark a relevant dialogue that can lead to a relationship!
Where are you in your social media program? What areas do you struggle with when it comes to building a presence on social networks? Do you plan to improve your social media efforts in 2014? Share with us in the comments.