Thursday, July 21, 2016

Your Business Forecast: Sunny with a Strong Chance of Social, Part 1

By Brianna Regan, Marketing Development Director

Assess How Social Media Would Fit into Your Business Model

What do high-performing financial professionals wake up to every morning? No matter if there is a winter storm advisory or a forecast of five straight days of rain, they face each day and its new set of challenges secure in the fact that they have set a business plan in motion to meet specific objectives.

Those same successful professionals in the financial services industry are operating in an environment where all of their marketing channels, both online and offline, are consistent and cohesive. They have realized that a unified message has more stickiness with customers and prospects who like to consume information in different ways and through a variety of channels. Their brand, voice, tone, and messaging comes across the same way.
 

They are also paying attention to social media. According to the 2015 Putnam Investments Social Advisor Survey, 81% of the surveyed advisors are using social media for business. That’s up from 75% in 2014.[1] When establishing objectives for their business, these financial professionals are not looking at social media by itself as a stand-alone initiative, but rather it’s integrated into all of their other marketing. Social media is the new normal and social business – an evolving concept – is the next storm. They recognize the present and future potential of social media engagement with clients and prospects.
 

Consider Brunswick Group’s 2015 findings on how people use social media to make investments: “77% of the survey group reported that they have investigated an issue based on information viewed on digital and social media.”[2] Additionally, go back a few years to 2012 and take a look at the results LinkedIn published, citing that more than 5 million high net worth investors are actively using social media to help them make financial decisions, as they tend to be more active in their investment habits, doing more research online and making more trades.[3]
 

Think you’re ready to be in that space to interact with those types of savers, pre-retirees, and those in retirement? Still not sure about “social” or lost in all the technology and lingo? Harbor some compliance and regulatory concerns that you just can’t shake? If you want to get down to business – the business of being social – the forecast is bright. If you’ve made the investment to grow your business and have a fairly well-defined business strategy and are working toward short- and long-term business goals, there’s no more time to waste on the social sidelines.
 

Start here: Find out if social media is even available to you. Do you have to get approvals from any entity (broker/dealer, investment advisor, other regulatory/governing body) prior to engaging in social media? Are there limitations on how you can participate? If so, follow the steps as required. Once you have all that taken care of, you can proceed…
 

Next, deep dive into your practice: Remember when I talked about social media being integrated into everything else you do? You might be ready for social media when you can put answers to these questions on paper: What is your overall business model? What are your business goals and your firm’s strategic objectives? What channels (website and blog, email, search engines, online advertising, social media, advertising via print/tv/radio/outdoor) will you use to market to and reach your intended audience? How do they work together succinctly to support your strategic objectives?
 

Now, assess how social media would fit into the business model you just outlined: How will you use social media, as one specific channel, to meet your business objectives?
If you see a potential fit for social media in your business model based on your responses to those initial questions, that’s a start. Whether you should or should not get into social media though still depends on many factors, a few of which may be:

  • Your interest, ability and time 
  • Your risk exposure and tolerance 
  • Your clients’ presence online 
  • Your support team 
  • Your budget 
It bears repeating: social media doesn’t stand on its own. You need to work it into your business model and define what “success” will look like for you and your business. Your individual success will be determined by your own answers, and the steps you decide to take to make social media a part of your complete business model. 

There’s so much more to consider before you make that first tweet or press “share” on that post. But the good news is, now that you’ve taken the temperature on your business objectives and strategies, you likely have a clearer picture of social media’s role for your practice. What comes next is one of the greatest investments you will make – developing a social media plan/strategy and a policy to address compliance aspects of your social media program. Keep an eye out for Part Two!


Brianna Regan | Marketing Development Director
Ann Arbor Annuity Exchange
Ph: 800.321.3924 x123 | Dir: 734.786.6123
bregan@annuity-exchange.com


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[1] “Financial advisors and social media” Putnam Investments. Sep 2015. Web. Accessed 6 Apr 2016 at https://www.putnam.com/literature/pdf/AR223.pdf
[2] “Investors and Digital Media – 2015, Trends in Global Media Use by the Investment Community” Brunswick Insight. Jun 2015. Web. Accessed on 6 Apr 2016 at https://www.brunswickgroup.com/media/578617/2015-investor-digital-and-social-media-survey.pdf
[3] Savio, Chris, and Raroque, Jake. “Social Media’s Growing Influence Among High Net Worth Investors” LinkedIn, Cognent Research. May 2012. Web. Accessed on 6 Apr 2016 at https://business.linkedin.com/content/dam/business/marketing-solutions/global/en_US/site/pdf/cs/linkedin_hnw_investor_research_us_en_130314.pdf


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Designed for Financial Professionals.

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