In our first two articles in this series, we discussed how financial advisors can leverage LinkedIn and Facebook for lead generation. Now it’s time to talk Twitter. Twitter is a fantastic resource for prospecting. A study by Putnam Investments reports that 66% of financial advisors saw an uptick in new business using social media in 2014 – a 17% increase from last year. The study also showed that Twitter use is on the rise, with 26% of financial advisors using Twitter for business.
Twitter stands out from the other social networks for a few different reasons. While Facebook tends to be used more to connect with those people in your life you really know, Twitter has a friendlier reputation. It’s much more likely for people to reach out to strangers on Twitter with whom they have shared interests or careers than it is on Facebook. And while LinkedIn has a reputation for being mostly professional in its purpose, Twitter has a much wider reach. With over 284 million monthly active users from a variety of socio-economic backgrounds, your posts have the opportunity to reach a large number of potential clients. In that same vein, it’s easy to get lost in the noise.
Perfect Your Profile
You only have 140 characters, so you want to be sure your personal description is on point. Money is serious business, and as a financial advisor, you want to present yourself accordingly.
Be sure to choose a professional headshot – making a strong visual impression is important! You want a good quality photo that doesn’t appear blurry or grainy and presents you in a business-appropriate light. Don’t forget to smile – people respond positively to friendly-looking photos!
The words you use to describe yourself (including the handle you choose) play an important part in allowing potential clients to be able to find you in the first place. Choose your words wisely. Avoid overly complicated jargon, highlight your experience and areas of expertise as a financial advisor, and link to a place for people to find out more about you – whether that’s your company website, LinkedIn profile, or other information source
Look for Leads!
Make sure you let your clients know you’re on social media! Include your handle and a link to your Twitter profile in your email signature, put it on your LinkedIn profile, and share it with your Facebook audience.
Be sure to check and see if your clients are using Twitter – if you’re already connected to them on LinkedIn, they may have their Twitter handle listed. Follow friends, family, acquaintances, colleagues, and networking contacts to let them know you’re using Twitter, so they can follow you back!
Follow industry leaders and other financial professionals. You may notice others Tweeting financial questions to them – if you can jump in to answer or offer some advice, you may just earn yourself a new client! Just engaging in conversation with these industry leaders can alert other potential clients to your presence – don’t be afraid to add your voice to the mix. Being a silent observer won’t help you win new clients! Assert yourself as a knowledgeable member of the field.
Check out the list and schedule for upcoming Twitter Chats, and join in! Twitter Chats are conversations between many Twitter users at once; you can follow the conversation by searching the Chat’s hashtag at a particular time of day and day of the week. See what others are saying, respond where applicable, ask questions, and make yourself visible! This is a great way to expand your network and position yourself as financial professional who knows his/her stuff!
Posting regularly to your social media accounts not only shares newsworthy information with your audience members, it reminds people that you exist. Seeing a Tweet from you may be the trigger that reminds one of your clients that they have been meaning to reach out to you, or a potential client that they need to get their finances in order – today. If you hadn’t posted, they might not have remembered to pick up the phone, shoot you an email, or send you a Direct Message to get in touch.
You can use social media analytics (like the reporting features offered by GREMLN) to pinpoint the times of day and days of the week that your audience is most active, and schedule your messages to go out at those times.
Pepper in Appropriate Hashtags
What is a hashtag, you ask? It’s a word or phrase preceded by a hash or pound sign (#) and used to identify messages on a specific topic. How can it help you gain leads? When you are sharing information on a particular topic, adding a hashtag will link your post to that topic, meaning that others who search that particular hashtag will be more likely to see your post in the search results. It can help you gain new followers, and show your expertise on a given topic. You don’t want to overdo it – abusing hashtags can quickly move you from a knowledgeable, media savvy professional, to a spammy piece of clutter in your audience members’ news feeds. Lucky for you, GREMLN created a #HashtagEtiquette infographic to help you mind your social media manners!
Using hashtags is one of the easiest ways to expand your reach – so make sure you know the best ones for your industry! You can try a search on your own – look for a couple words or phrases pertinent to your industry and see what results appear. GREMLN offers a great advanced search tool to help you keep an eye on social media hashtags you’re interested in following, and makes it incredibly easy to see what financially applicable hashtags are most popular.
Presenting Your Content
As more and more people join Twitter, an increasing number of posts make their way onto the Twittersphere. It’s important to do your best to stand out amongst the noise. One way to do this is to amplify your posts with great visuals.
Images, infographics, and videos are all excellent visual resources that can help draw people in to clicking on your links, retweeting your posts, and getting interested in learning more about you and what you have to say. This can be particularly useful for financial advisors, as it can help draw people’s attention in to a topic they may otherwise find intimidating. If you aren’t technologically savvy, don’t worry. You don’t need to create your own (though you can, if you are so inclined!) If you do pull an image from another source, be sure it’s free to use and give proper credit.
A bot you are not — so don’t act like one! While professionalism is key, sharing your personal side and connecting with your audience on a human level is an extremely important aspect of a strong social media presence. While people definitely want a financial advisor who knows his or her “stuff,” they also want someone they can relate to who is going to make them feel comfortable when discussing such an important matter.
Protect Your Tweets!
Posting within compliance regulations is vital to financial advisors. Make a major misstep, and you could find yourself with a hefty fine, or worse – a lost job! GREMLN offers a range of resources and tools to help you stay compliant, from breaking down the latest social media regulations from the FFIEC, SEC, FINRA, IIROC, and FCA to moderation tools that stop non-compliant Tweets from posting live to your account.
Perfecting your social media presence is an ongoing process; don’t worry if it takes you a little time to get the swing of things. Follow these tips to enhance your Twitter activity, and keep at it! By building a strong profile, sharing visually-enticing (and compliant) content, and maintaining authenticity, you’ll reach your audience and develop new client relationships to increase your business.