In recent months, I've been about building client loyalty and share of mind with prospective clients and clients of influence, or COIs.
In the May installment, I outlined several ideas to help you streamline and automate your marketing and client communications campaigns. In the June installment, I provided tips on finding free and/or inexpensive solutions to creating or purchasing ready-to-customize content for your marketing and client communications campaigns.
This month, I'll focus on blogs and microblogging. And in August, I'll talk about podcasts, webinars and videocasts, and how using these electronic forms of communication can help you build relationships while saving time and money.
Here's the bottom line: Client communication and outreach have always been an important part of building a successful practice. Even though the market turbulence has settled down substantially since the dark and scary days in 2008 and 2009, advisors need to be vigilant and keep their client communications high.
Digital communications, done well, can strengthen your connection with existing clients and generate a more proficient referral system to attract new clients. They're a great addition to traditional "high touch" activities such as personal phone calls, handwritten notes and birthday cards, small group dinners, book clubs and client appreciation events.
But more and more, we are an online, digitally-connected world, so adding some "high tech" to your "high touch" strategy can help you build stronger relationships with those who know you already and share of mind / credibility with those who don't.
BLOGGING & MICROBLOGGING
Once you've established and are maintaining an interesting, compelling and client-centered website, consider adding a blog to your digital communications plan. According to Wikipedia, a blog is a type of website or part of a website. In fact, the term "blog" is a combination of two words: "web" and "log."
Blogs are usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order.
Many blogs provide commentary or news on a particular subject; others function as more personal online diaries. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, Web pages, and other media related to its topic.
The ability of readers to leave comments in an interactive format is an important part of many blogs, however, financial advisors whose compliance departments allow the "comments" feature will want to screen and approve any comments before they are shown live on the blog.
Most blogs are primarily textual, although some focus on art, photographs, videos, music and audio.
Microblogging is another type of blogging, featuring very short posts (think Twitter).
Many compliance departments are okay with a blog that is planned and approved in advance of content being posted. After all, it's a website of sorts so as long as you adhere to the rules that apply to website development and have a way to meet the books and records requirements, you should be okay.
Of course, you'll want to check with your compliance department first. Some compliance officers will be okay with a blog, as long as the comments feature is turned off, but they won't allow microblogging on Twitter for a couple reasons; that's a whole article in and of itself.
If you'd like to learn more about social media and the compliance aspects, consider attending a webinar or live presentation such as the ones FPA offers at chapter meetings and online.