Financial Social Media held on Friday a webinar discussing trends in social media that advisors should take note of in 2013. Amy Smith, marketing manager for Financial Social Media, stressed the role social media plays in consumers’ lives. She referred to data from Eric Qualman of Socialnomics that found 90% of consumers trust peer reviews, but just 14% trust advertisements.
To make social media work for them, companies need to focus on being remarkable, Smith said. “Social media is about more than just having a presence, it’s about conveying how you’re different,” she said. Advisors need to show how they’re different from their competitors and work to build an emotional connection with the clients who communicate with them through social media.
In 2013, brands will become publishers and good content will be essential, according to Smith. Companies need to develop relevant content to establish credibility and improve the chances that consumers will find them through Web searches. Good content also allows advisors to have conversations with their target market. Advisors’ goal, Smith said, should be to find a need and fill it with good content; how-tos and quick tips are good ways to do that.
Smith also encouraged advisors to look at different kinds of content than the standard, text-based newsletter or blog posts. Video, podcasts and e-books are all popular mediums, she suggested.
Mobile web use and video use will continue to explode in 2013, Smith said, adding that more than 85 million people use mobile apps and 81 million use mobile Web. According to Pew Research Center, 45% of people have smartphones and of those, 50% use social networking at least once per day. That means advisors need to have a mobile version of their website. They may also consider registering their business on location-based websites like Foursquare. Building an app and developing a strategy for using video in marketing are also valuable, Smith said.
Finally, and most importantly, social media has to have a measurable ROI. “We all vaguely understand that social media has business value, but there are gaps,” Smith said. She listed some key performance indicators that advisors can measure to get an idea of how well their social media strategy is working for them: network volume (the number of followers), traffic to the website that comes from social media, event or webinar attendance, search engine traffic and customer satisfaction. Smith added that advisors should develop their own performance indicators that are conducive to their business goals. They can also use social media aggregators like HootSuite or Gremln to track social media metrics.
Smith acknowledged that advisors with a large base of older clients may not engage much with them through social media, but added that the 55-65-year-old age group is one of the fasted growing segments to adopt social media. “Some people just won’t use it,” she said. It’s not about convincing them to use social media, but being there when they do, she concluded.