Social media is one of the best ways to communicate, network and market your business, but for many of us there are some serious barriers to fully engaging.
To start, there may be compliance concerns associated with jumping into social media. Then, what if someone says something negative about you online — how do you deal with that? And what about the time commitment? Where are you supposed to find the time to check LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, as well as follow all those blogs?
To make the effort worthwhile, you must be strategic. Here are four common barriers to social media engagement and some tips on how to overcome them:
Barrier No. 1: Compliance requirements can be unclear.
Social media networks and tools have created some compliance gray areas for financial professionals, which may make online networking seem like a murky sea to be avoided. But don’t throw the baby out with the proverbial bathwater. Stop seeing compliance as a barrier to social media and start seeing it as an opportunity to nurture relationships.
First things first: Tweeting about the products you sell is not the most effective way to show people why they would want to do business with you. Instead, use social networks to build your credibility. Get to know your clients better and let them get to know you. Use social networks as a convenient way to reach out, to add value, to connect. Remember, people do business with people they know, like and trust. Leave the transactional heavy lifting — that is, whatever conversations you need to have with your client in order for him or her to make an informed product or investment decision — to traditional channels like face-to-face meetings, telephone calls and email.
Lastly, whatever you do on social media, make sure you can archive it, store it and retrieve it. That’s the first step in keeping the compliance people happy.
Barrier No. 2: Conversations in social media cannot be controlled.
You need to understand — and accept — that you cannot control online conversations, user-generated content or even search results about yourself. Don’t let this lack of control dissuade you from participating in social media.
Instead, focus on what you can control:
- You CAN participate in online dialogue.
- You CAN inspire people about your brand.
- You CAN respond, reply and engage.
Social media is a conversation between you and your market. It’s a two-sided affair that demands your participation and engagement. Don’t give up your voice in the conversation just because you can’t control the outcome.
Barrier No. 3: There’s no time for social media.