Too often advisors find any reason they can to avoid making direct contact with a prospect. Whether it is picking up the phone and calling a prospect, calling a client and asking for a referral or setting up some sort of passion prospect event, many advisors are steering clear of direct contact in favor of social media. I keep hearing social media is the go-to tool for prospecting but can’t help but think it has become an avoidance tool when used incorrectly. 

Recently on LinkedIn somebody connected with me by sending along the usual invite. After accepting, LinkedIn tried to connect me to more people by showing me other people I may know. I started to scroll through one page and click a few people you know, and before you know it I’d spent 20 minutes surfing for connections—valuable time wasted.

I’m not alone on this. We know how distracting LinkedIn, Facebook Twitter, and all the other sites can be without a strategy. The content is sticky and it’s just too easy to get sucked in. An hour later you find yourself asking where the time went. 

Now I’m certainly not saying to avoid social media altogether. It’s here to stay and is playing a more vital role in how advisors grow their businesses every day. What I am saying is to avoid spending too much directionless time on social media. Much like you do for team and client meetings, set aside specific time for your social media. Here are three strategies to enhance your social media efforts and reduce the drain on your time. 

1) Automate
Advisors must stay important and engaged by regularly sharing relevant content via social media. The problem is that there is an abundance of content out there and sifting through it takes precious time away from more important work. So eliminate surf time by subscribing to a trusted service provider that consistently delivers the content your clients are looking for.

This is one of the major reasons we developed Digital Fortress Suite for advisors, allowing you to use your website and social media in a way that delivers the right content to your clients while saving you time.

2) Set Time Limits

One of the biggest benefits of social media is having the opportunity to build relationships with your clients and prospects; so it only makes sense to dedicate a reasonable amount of personalized interaction in your strategy. Commit 30 minutes every week to create a personal post and respond to anything meaningful others have posted.

Assign one hour each week dedicated to prospecting through social media. This is when you can consider new connections LinkedIn has proposed to you. In fact, LinkedIn is one of the better social media tools for prospecting simply because it offers robust search capabilities that allow you to find prospects based on various demographics. After finding your prospects, you can further qualify them based on their connections, what they’re posting about, etc.

If you have a mutual connection, consider asking that person for an introduction. An, don’t forget to join LinkedIn groups to network within a particular audience. 

3)      Focus Your Attention

We’ve all connected with our fair share of family, friends, and various associates. Read their posts in the evening or over the weekend to avoid a time vacuum that you’re sure to regret. At work, your social media efforts need to stay focused on the right people.

Try something we at Peak Advisor Alliance call the Peak 90. It’s an exercise to help you identify the 90 people with whom you’d most like to have a professional relationship. If you’d like to download the exercise, simply go to peakadvisoralliance.com, click on the Free Tools tab, and enter the code “Peak90.” Then, spend your online prospecting time dedicated to learning more about them and finding ways to build those relationships.  

Social media can be your worst enemy in terms of time but is also your biggest opportunity in terms of building relationships, being a part of the conversation, and positioning yourself as an expert if used correctly.

The question isn’t if you should be spending time on social media. It’s simply a matter of how you decide to spend your time. Know that distinction and you’ll know the power of using social media to leverage your growth.