1) “It’s not an effective tool for reaching my audience.” This may seem like a legitimate concern; however, consider that the percentage of baby boomers using social media is consistently growing. According to a study from the Pew Internet & American Life Project, the use of social networks by people ages 50 and over has grown over 40 percent in the past seven years. AARP also cites that one-third of the estimated 270 million U.S. Internet users are baby boomers.
2) “I don’t understand how to use it.” There are a ton of ways to use social media to grow your business and a wealth of educational resources to help you along the way, including:
• Webinars. The BrightTalk and the Hootsuite lecture series offer some great free webinars pertaining to social media and financial advisors.
• Educational blogs. Social Media Examiner, Advisor Websites, ByAllAccounts and the Social Financial Advisor are some examples.
3) “It’s too time-consuming.” While social media does require an investment of time, there are many ways to improve time management and productivity.
• Create systems and processes. Develop an editorial strategy and use it to eliminate guess work.
• Delegate. If you don’t have time for social media, find someone who does.
• Automate. Use automation tools such as Hootsuite, libraries of pre-approved content and RSS feeds to speed things up. As long as there is a healthy dose of “real-time” interaction, you’ll see results.
4) “Compliance.” While the regulations set forth by the SEC and FINRA have a reputation for being threatening and perplexing, they aren’t as complicated as they may seem. Below are some basic rules to get you started:
• Archive everything. There are a myriad of archiving companies that are really helpful for financial advisors.
• Create well-defined social-media policies and best practices.
• Implement safeguards and define standards to protect non-public consumer information.
• Implement approval processes for static content (i.e., blog posts, Facebook posts).
• Implement supervision standards for interactive content (such as chats).
• Avoid recommendations, endorsements or advice. You can offer insights, such as general information about a particular topic, but no tailored advice.
• Be smart. If something seems questionable to post, don’t post it. As long as you use your best judgment, you shouldn’t have any issues.
Source: Amy McIlwain, president of Financial Social Media, www.financial socialmedia.com.