Blog from Maribeth Kuzmeski of Red Zone Marketing
Should you be afraid of social media and the changes and consequences it may bring to your business? It opens your business to the scrutiny of the masses, making you instantly accessible and requires a consistent watch. It depends who you are and what business you are in, but in some cases social media can be a little unsettling. Does that mean we should avoid it? Cross our fingers that it blows over as a passing trend? Well, here are some of the more memorable comments I have heard from financial advisors over just the past several weeks about this topic:
1. “It’s just another new technology and I really don’t want to learn anything new right now or have my staff wasting time on this.” Translation: Prove to me social media is valuable and then I will consider venturing into this space.
2. “My compliance department said I would be terminated if I used any social media, including LinkedIn.” Really?? Most compliance departments have rules set into place, but I had not heard of termination. Don’t risk it!
3. “I don’t want to share so much with the whole world. My business and its clients should remain private.” Translation: The benefits don’t outweigh the potential for negative consequences.
Ultimately you have to do what is right for your business. There is certainly enough value in social media to make it a part of your business – even a small part.* But first, determine if you are hesitant because you feel out of your personal comfort zone, or if you actually believe there is no benefit to your business.
Social media is not a replacement for the face-to-face communication or your regular marketing. But devoting just one hour per week can be significant in enhancing the contacts you have already made as well as becoming a source for finding new ones. Set up a LinkedIn profile, create a Facebook fan page for your business and begin a blog.* And, if you have compliance concerns, begin by focusing on your social media as a push not pull method for communication. You can push information out to be seen, but set up your social media sites so visitors will not be able to make any comments on your sites.
Statistics have proven outside of financial services that social media can make a difference in the acquisition of new clients. Within financial services, the same results are happening. Pershing Advisor Solutions LLC conducted a study Creating Growth: The Increased Use of Social Media by Independent Advisors (for the key findings, click on the article link), designed to measure advisors’ use of social media to attract business. The study found that social media does pay off in generating increased revenue or fees and helps in efforts to reach new prospects.
And finally, social media is free. Wouldn’t you use a free tool – for 1 hour per week – if it had the potential of attracting new clients and building your brand? And why oh why would you pass that up unless you have all of the business you already need.
*Consult with your compliance department first if you are a financial advisor