When it comes to social media, simply being on it is not enough. Digital platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter have become a staple for advisors to connect directly with clients, colleagues and other key audiences. In fact, according to Hubspot, about one-third of the world uses social networks regularly, with a whopping 74% of people saying they use Facebook for professional purposes.
Social media can generate immense opportunities if used effectively. For advisors looking to cultivate their digital footprint in an impactful way, here are four ways you can build an online network and establish inimitability for yourself and your practice:
1. Build a reputable online presence
When a prospective client Googles your name, what do they see? If the answer is not much or nothing at all, you’re missing out on potential new business opportunities for you or your practice. Thanks to social media platforms, it’s easier now more than ever to control what pops up when someone searches you.
You can optimize your LinkedIn and other social media profiles through search engine optimization, also known as SEO. By using keywords in your LinkedIn tagline and bio, it helps brand your identity. For example, I’ve optimized my bio so that my profile appears in a variety of different searches, such as “top independent women advisors” and “independent advisors in Los Angeles.”
Another tip that’s easy to implement is updating your generic LinkedIn title. A title such as “Senior Vice President at X Bank” only scratches the surface of what you do at work every day. Again, I’ve updated mine to read “Forbes Ranked Top Wealth Advisor, Independent Financial Planning & Investment Advice.” These key words instantly make my profile stand out from a sea of other advisors. In today’s internet age, utilizing social media helps build credibility and establishes your distinct brand, so you don’t want a simple Google search to yield zero results.
2. Create a powerful online network
Another way to use social media to your advantage is by connecting with others online, both inside and outside of your industry.
There are differing opinions on who you should connect with online. Some say you should cast a wide net and add people on Facebook or connect with everyone who sends you a request on LinkedIn. I only network with people that I know personally. If you’re adding your coworker’s aunt’s brother, whom you’ve never met in person, you’re essentially diluting your professional network.
When you find people to connect with, make sure your invitation message to them is personal. If it’s on LinkedIn, don’t just send a generic connection message — add in details about how you came across their profile (met at an event, mutual connection, etc.) why you’d like to connect and a closing moment to wrap up your communication. A little personalization will go a long way.
3. Interact with prospects and connections
After you’ve built a powerful online network, don’t let it go to waste. Reach out to your connections or followers when appropriate and interact with your prospects. Monitor your social media feeds and comment on things that your prospects are posting. Interacting with your connections and followers on social media allows you to further build the relationship.
If someone in your network gets a promotion, congratulate them. If someone tweets at you, respond. The social media world is a crowded space, so it’s simply not enough to create profiles and let them sit dormant. New clients and other advisors will check out your social profiles, so make sure there’s something worthwhile for them to see.
4. Craft your own content tailored to your brand
LinkedIn has a publishing feature for a reason. In fact, in the past two years, content consumption on LinkedIn has increased by 21%. Creating your own content on social media or a blog is an excellent way to share your voice and build credibility outside of your firm. For example, I’ve started a video blog to share my expertise and add another dimension to my online presence.
Don’t be afraid to branch out and try new ways to get your message out there. If your firm allows it, start your own blog, create videos and publish as much content as you can on social media. The more you share your expertise online, the more authority you’ll establish with other advisors and prospective clients.
With the social media landscape constantly changing and growing, more and more professionals in the industry will view you through your online presence. It’s important to remember that you have a unique expertise and personality that’s worth sharing. The more you engage with the online world and optimize your digital footprint, the higher your credibility will be in the industry.