I went on a hike with my son earlier this week. He'll be a junior in college next year. We were talking about his use of technology and I mentioned, "We didn't even have email when I went to college. I'm guessing that with email, it's really easy for you to keep in touch with all your friends."
Brandon looked at me like I had two heads. "The only time I ever use email is when I respond to something you or Mom sends me. I either text my friends or keep up with what they're doing and where they are on Facebook. I can chat with my friends on Facebook if I want to." Brandon has 650 Facebook friends that he's able to keep track of using that technology.
I haven't felt so old in a long time. Email is now the old technology. Social media has replaced it as evidenced by the over 500 million people registered on Facebook. 50% of those people are active on Facebook on any given day. The average user has 130 friends and people spend an average of 700 billion (yes, BILLION) hours on Facebook each month.
Many people view Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and the other social networks as a waste of time. Yet, not a day goes by that I don't hear the "Hottest Topic" in professional services marketing today is how to use social media marketing for business. Now these people, attorneys, CPAs, financial services providers and the like are hesitant, cautious and caught up in their historical dislike of marketing in general. They are also cognizant of the ethical constraints as well as rules promulgated by the SEC and FINRA governing their use of social media for marketing purposes. All this makes for a large group of people that know what they ought to be doing, but are hesitant to take the time to find out how to do it. On the other hand, some of these professionals have found ways to leverage social media effectively for marketing purposes.
We're going to look at some effective strategies for the use of social media to market your services. Before we do, let's review some fundamentals.
- Clients want assistance solving their legal and tax issues. They want estate planning and investment advice. Not everyone has the skills to handle these matters on their own, so they rely on professional service providers.
Clients are looking for professional service providers who are experts in the area where they are having problems.
Clients expect to receive quality service at a reasonable price from a person the client actually likes, trusts and respects.
Most importantly, clients rely on references from their friends and they often check the credentials of the professional they are considering hiring.
The Internet has changed quite a bit since I attended college without having access to email. This change has affected the way prospects get their information to make hiring decisions. The biggest change of all has been how clients are now relying on social media to help them make these decisions.
In Part 2 of this series we'll explore some of the ways prospects are using social media and the Internet to help them make decisions about the professional they hire to help solve their problems. Part 2 will be out next week. Subscribe to our blog above on the right to be notified when the post appears or check back next week.