As a busy financial professional, you don’t have a ton of extra time to manage your social media presence. A standard, solid strategy for advisors today is to find time once a week to post and schedule links to industry or company articles. But, as you’ve likely discovered, this doesn’t result in very many likes, comments, or other forms of engagement from your audience.
So how do you boost your social media presence and make yourself stand out from the pack?
While it’s crucial to share professional content — that’s how you establish credibility — there’s something equally important: showing off your own personal voice. Building relationships within the financial industry has always been about trust, and today you do that by being genuine and trustworthy not only in your business activities, but also on social networks. Customizing your content with your own voice is key to social media success: in fact, content with personalized messages performs six times better than generic links without your customization.
The five tips below outline some easy steps you can take to become a more engaging social poster through your personality:
1. Explain why that news article is relevant.
No one wants to read an article without first knowing what it’s about. Extract the key message of the article and explain why you find it interesting or relevant. Asking a question or using a call to action also helps spur conversations with your social connections. It will inspire them to answer your question or have a conversation with you about the article. Even a little bit of customization will show a glimpse of your personality and voice through social media content.
2. Engage with your audience through local presence.
As stated earlier, financial services is all about trust. For many clients, knowing that a financial advisor is involved in the local community is a huge value-add. Not only that, but your involvement with local events is something that is easy to post about. Heading to the local college football game this Friday? Attending a community festival weekend? Post about it on social media!
Another easy way to involve the local community is by tagging other local businesses you are working with for double the reach on social. If you’re partnering with a local restaurant or meeting at a community center, @ mention their social profiles as well. This will not only get more eyes on your content, but it will show the local community you care about your neighbors and/or small businesses.
3. Empathize with your audience by sharing more about your personal life.
If you’re comfortable with it (and if it’s in line with your firm’s compliance policy), feel free to post more personal content involving family, friends, staff and weekend activities. This helps your social connections get to know you better and it boosts your trustworthiness. In general, only 20% of your social media content should be strictly about business, so remember to post about personal interests and things that might be relevant to your connections (i.e. sports, travel, family, etc.). If you volunteer somewhere, post about it. Showing you care about humanity and the community will prove you’re more empathetic and trustworthy.
4. Create a visual memory by posting photos.
More than 60% of your content should include a photo — this is true across every social network, including Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Twitter. According to our research at Hearsay Social, photos get three times more engagement than plain messages and six times more engagement compared to links. If you want to share a link to an article, include a relevant photo along with it to make the piece of content more appealing to your audience. People enjoy viewing photos online. By telling a story relevant to your business or connecting with your audience, the photo will help grow your engagement with customers and prospects.
5. Create a weekly schedule and strategy.
Sometimes thematic repetition can help; it leads your audience to look forward to certain days or topics you choose to focus on for that day of the week. This can be as easy as choosing a “lifestyle” post for Monday, “Product/Industry Tuesdays,” “Just for Fun Wednesdays,” and so on. One of my favorite social media trends during the week is “Throwback Thursdays,” where people and businesses post an old retro photo and use the #tbt hashtag. People are naturally drawn to patterns and if something catches their eye, they will continue to seek it out. Create themes within your content strategy around topics that matter to your target audience.
When it comes down to it, building success on social media is much like building success in your financial business. It takes time and it takes trust. Stand out from the pack by not only sharing intelligent, professional insights on social media, but also by sharing your personality.