19 Jul Relationships: The real social media ROI for financial advisors
I like talking to people and really getting to know them a bit. The same goes for companies and brands. Before I choose with whom I will do business, I want to get to know them. Some people are not as outgoing, but most individuals want to know a little about the person or company they’re going to hire. An even greater number of people prefer to do business with a person or company with whom they have established a relationship.
To take a closer look at this, I went straight to an expert in the field of relationship marketing, Ted Rubin, a social media strategist and acting chief marketing officer of Brand Innovators (tedrubin.com), to get his take on where we, as advisers, might be missing the mark.
“I believe many in the financial sector are looking at this in too narrow a fashion.” Mr. Rubin said. “Everyone is trying to assign a dollar value to a Facebook fan or Twitter follower, instead of addressing the fact that engagement and interaction that takes place in these mediums are incredibly important to a brand. Building a relationship with existing and future customers is the true value and strength of social media marketing.”
A DIFFERENT TYPE OF RETURN
Mr. Rubin admits that while “ROI is certainly incredibly important whenever investing marketing time and dollars,” he advises that “companies (and individuals, especially financial advisers) start looking at ROR — return on relationship — when planning, strategizing and, most importantly, evaluating time and dollars spent marketing.”
As advisers, the question be-comes: How do we compliantly build relationships in a highly regulated, online world? Many advisers are permitted to utilize only pre-approved tweets or status updates, for fear they may provide financial advice that isn’t suitable for all followers. Others are not allowed to engage in online discussions that concern financial topics. Even with those restrictions, there is still one thing you can do with social media — build relationships.
Mr. Rubin points out that “too many financial services companies and individual advisers think they cannot utilize social platforms for business due to compliance issues that are endemic to the business. What they do not realize is that they can stay totally clear of those issues by focusing on relationship building and lifestyle conversation.”
He suggests beginning by sharing who you are as a person and talking about the things you love. Give people a peek into your world and they will feel far more connected to you. How are you different? What is unique about you?
I know, from following his work for years, that Ted Rubin is a huge fan of fun and interesting socks — posting pictures of the pair he is wearing that particular day as he updates his followers on his speaking engagements, book releases and his work in general. It may sound funny, but judging by the conversations and comments on his posts, I’d say that giving people a glimpse into his world has created an incredible number not just of Twitter followers and Facebook “likes” but engaged connections.
In addition to allowing others to get to know you, you should pay attention to the same things about them . What do they enjoy? Where do their passions lie? What is unique about them? Mr. Rubin observes that when you do so “you will find that a person’s online discussions are typically about the very things addressed by financial planning, insurance planning and investing: family, education, travel and health. Knowing what is important to your clients in these areas will help you build and strengthen your relationship with them.”
If you still need more reason to engage online, Mr. Rubin reminds us that “studies show that those who are fans or followers of a brand on Facebook or Twitter, respectively, are significantly more likely to buy products and services or recommend the brand to a friend. Brands, people and companies that use social media reap the rewards of customer satisfaction, deeper employee loyalty, more effective knowledge sharing, improved brand reputation, lowered costs, and importantly, increased revenue.”
It’s time to start engaging more online, and see what rewards it will bring to your practice.
For this and other tips on growing your business, check out my monthly column in Investment News: http://bit.ly/1s3BVTa) or visit me at www.andreemedia.com.