Over the last few weeks, every social media blog has published their take on what the biggest trends will be in social media and digital marketing for 2014. Whist these blogs offer great insights on what is trending in social on a general sense, we have found that the Financial Planning industry operates quite differently from the rest of the social media world.
Content needs to be carefully curated and created to ensure compliance standards are met whilst still being engaging. There are differing opinions on the same topic that need to be taken into account when sharing content as well; are you defeating the purpose of sharing a great piece of content if it’s not a direction you would steer your client? How do you find the balance of maintaining a professional appearance whilst trying to make a human connection?
LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional networking site, with over four million profiles in Australia alone. The amount of people using LinkedIn who would be willing to connect and engage with an advisor on LinkedIn is equally as impressive. Recent studies by LinkedIn and Nielsen show that there are 85,000 High Net-worth Individuals with active LinkedIn profiles, and half of those people identify themselves are being ‘unadvised.’ Can you really afford to not be in front of around 42,000 potential clients?
The good thing about LinkedIn is that it is made for business, especially for financial advisors. LinkedIn brings together colleagues to share ideas with and learn from as well as allows you to make new connections that could easily be turned into clients.
If a person is active on LinkedIn, then it is safe to say that they are looking to find and share captivating content that above all provides value (there is nothing worse, in our opinion, then sharing content just for the sake of sharing).
Video & YouTube
In our opinion, the growth of video doesn’t come as much of a surprise. With the steady increase in the use of mobile and the ever increasing need for interactive content, video is the perfect answer.
Short video that is mobile friendly is ready-made ‘on the go’ content. It can be quick and to the point and gives your clients and colleagues a sense of who you are and what you can offer.
Sites like YouTube provide analytics to track how your videos are being received and will often be a top referral source back to your website. YouTube also ranks highly on Google and your videos can be optimised to be found by people searching for the topics you are presenting.
We think that video is especially important for financial advisors because it adds an ‘entertainment’ factor to news and updates that otherwise might not be as captivating. Videos are also readily shareable and can be very cost effective to put together.
Google+ is still a relatively new player in the social media game, but with a rapidly growing network. In its early days, Google+ was a bit sluggish and clunky, but over the last six to eight months there have some dramatic improvements from what we have seen. There are currently around 70,000 active Australian profiles and that number is expected to keep growing.
We could bore you with more facts and figures on users and the why’s and the how’s of connecting and sharing, but we think there is one stand out reason why you should give Google+ a go. Google.
Your Google+ page will be visible no matter how your potential clients are searching for a ‘Financial Advisor in Northern Sydney’ or ‘Financial advice Melbourne.’
Since Google+, YouTube and even our phones are all so heavily integrated with Google, it will be interesting to see how Google+’s growth continues.
Of course, you can’t have a successful digital marketing strategy without content. We briefly touched on this already but we firmly believe that good content is the backbone of any social network. But what makes good content?
For 2014 and beyond content will need to…
- Be image heavy. The days of text only content are over. If a picture says a thousand words, then why not say them?
- Add value. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, share not for the sake of sharing. Not only will your followers become disengaged but chances are you will be wasting a lot of time.
- Be paid. Unfortunately, the days of free promotion on social media are largely coming to an end. Organic reach and engagement are still important but paid reach will be more prominent as the year goes on.
- Be original. This is a bit of an odd one. It’s important to create original shareable content so others will like and share it. So if everyone is creating content who is sharing it and if everyone is sharing content who is creating it? The key is finding the right balance of curated (shared) and custom content that works for your social community.