As the financial services community continues to implement social media, advisors across the country are seeking turnkey solutions to help them manage their social media efforts. These advisors are both uncertain about how to use social media and hesitant about the time it takes to maintain an online presence. As a result, a plethora of social media solutions companies have cropped up, each offering products and services that promise to generate quality leads for your business.
In some cases, these companies may in fact generate quality leads; however, far too often an advisor’s social media presence falls flat or achieves lackluster results. To be fair, some of these companies are effective at helping advisors get started. However, in my experience, advisors rarely understand what they are getting for their money, which results in unmet expectations.
Before we continue, let’s clarify something: Social media is not “turnkey” — and it never will be. Social media is a communication and collaboration tool that facilitates interactions between people and companies. It is a long-term investment that requires discipline, effort and resources (time and money), as well as strategy. If you want to generate leads for your business through the use of social media, you are going to have to work for them. Paying an outside company to “be you” online may increase website traffic, build brand awareness and increase your SEO ranking in Google, but it still might not generate leads.
Why is this? Largely because there is a disconnect between the advisor, their social media company, and the advisor’s prospects and clients. Let me explain. Many of the social media solutions companies are great at helping advisors brand their social media channels and create a consistent stream of content by posting on the advisor’s behalf. This strategy is great for generating increased website traffic, but offers little as far as engagement online. In most cases, when someone interacts with the content (through comments, RTs, shares, likes or Pins), the advisor’s social media company is typically not qualified to respond or answer on his or her behalf because they lack the knowledge or expertise to do so. Therefore, if the advisor is not actively monitoring their presence and responding, the engagement and relationship building component that is crucial to social media success in non-existent. The result: No new leads.
If you’re going to go down the road of paying for a service to manage your social media presence, here are some tips for how to make the relationship work in favor of your business, not just theirs.
1. Hiring a social media firm doesn’t mean you’re “off-the-hook.”
They may create a consistent content stream and build awareness, but you still have to engage prospects and clients to cultivate the relationships that will turn into leads. Additionally, it’s important to know what you want to accomplish through your social media efforts. If you don’t know your why, they can’t help you with the how.
2. Understand the services for which you are paying.