If there is one thing I encounter over and over with the advisors I work with, it’s their too-strong-for-reason resistance to joining social media.
A social media presence has been proven to be an important piece of an effective marketing plan, yet so many advisors are reluctant to take the plunge. Why is there still a strong opposition? Here are my top theories for why almost half of advisors are still not tweeting, posting and liking their way to new business:
No Instant Gratification
We all love instant gratification. That’s why we gamble (even though we know we’re likely placing a losing bet) and eat that second scoop of ice cream. It’s tough to stick to a plan that doesn’t pay off right away. But as the Latin phrase “gutta cavat lapidem” or “a water drop hollows a stone” describes, progress is sometimes made not by force but by small actions repeated often.
Social media pays off at its own pace, but when it does, it tends to be significant. Take the recent example of a San Diego advisor who had been using social media for 6 months with no results, until a college sorority sister Facebook messaged her that she had just inherited $2 million from her grandmother. The payoff might be delayed and unpredictable, but you can’t afford to miss out.
The digital age has changed our lives at an alarming rate and those of us who don’t consider ourselves “tech savvy” have had a hard time keeping up. Social media and its terminology can be confusing, overwhelming and downright annoying. But the concepts behind the language are very simple. LinkedIn is a place to connect with professionals. Twitter is a place to share content. Facebook is a place to connect with friends. YouTube is a place to share videos.
If you don’t “get” social media, the best way to understand is to try it out by spending some time on the most popular sites. There is a good reason social media websites dominate traffic on the Internet; they’re fun and interesting to use. Enlist your tech-savvy spouse, child or friend to explain the basics, help you set up an account and then explore at your own pace to find out what all the hype is about.
The most common explanation (or excuse) I hear from advisors is that compliance regulations keep them from joining social media. Sure, compliance can be a burden, but the same rules apply whether you are writing a letter to clients, creating collateral for a seminar, or posting to social media. You must follow basic guidelines and avoid promissory statements. Broker-dealer firms have come a long way in recent years to support advisors use of social media and have made the process easier than ever.
The trick is to understand that the nature of social media marketing is not to make specific recommendations, but to offer general information, entertaining articles and videos and to connect with clients on a personal level. Compliance will not stand in your way of using social media to achieve these results.
It Takes Too Much Time
Having a polished, professional and engaging social media presence does take some time. But the truth is that your social media efforts can and should coincide with the work you put into being a great advisor. All good advisors read interesting articles, watch educational videos and come across compelling data. Take a few extra moments to share this information with your network and you’ve got a great social media presence. Whether you come across a new tax law, an interesting data point, or a local charity golf tournament, clients appreciate when you share valuable information with them. Invest a few extra minutes to post content you already consume and you will engage clients and prospects in a whole new way.
To be fair, there are often monetary costs associated with social media and compliance mechanisms to track them. However, these costs are relatively small and generally decreasing, as broker-dealers continue to recognize the importance of social media marketing for advisors. It’s important to look at these costs as a fraction of your total marketing budget, similar to the postage for a direct mail campaign. If you get one new client or 10 good ideas from the endeavor, those costs have paid for themselves. Envision the price as an investment in future business and let it be a motivator to regularly use you social media accounts.
Still hesitant to get started? What’s your excuse? Social media accounts only take a few minutes to set up and less than 10 minutes a day to keep current. Don’t worry if you miss a day or two. As long as you have an account and post every once in a while, it counts as “being on social media.” Give it a few months, keep sharing interesting content and be patient; a water drop hollows a stone.
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