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Sam Sloma: Advisers need to escape our social media bubble

sam slomaMy firm has just celebrated our first anniversary and while it was great to allow for a little time to reflect on the past year, we are more concerned with looking ahead.

To that end, we are now looking at building a marketing strategy. I have recently read “24 Assets” by Daniel Priestly and “Crushing It” by Gary Vaynerchuk, whose views on 21st- century business ideas and marketing strategies are fantastic.

Taking these books into account, I want to build a presence across a number of different social media platforms: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and any other ones we do not know about or new ones that have not been invented yet.

Of course, social media itself is nothing new. However, the books explain what it takes to go beyond simply having a presence here and truly utilising these tools to build a business.

Like anything worth doing, it does not look easy. But we are in the fortunate position of not needing results in the short term.

Sam Sloma: Advisers need to teach clients patience

We can take our time and learn on the job. Indeed, one thing you hear from the experts is that building a social media plan takes a great deal of patience. So, part of our plan is being mindful that we are unlikely to receive anything client-wise for a couple of years.

One thing that has struck me, though, is that I am one of many advice community members on Twitter. There are many conversations online and it is enjoyable to see what everyone is doing. But the big question I have is: who are we really talking to?

When you think of a Twitter following, you can daydream of a legion of fans following your every move as if you are some sort of celebrity or influencer. Every word written pored over and any promotion likely to generate 10 times more in referrals or inflows.

The reality is somewhat different. The majority of followers are people in our profession who follow because they are interested in what others are up to or they want to share ideas.

Ian McKenna: The four foundations of a solid adviser tech strategy

So, while we may have “x” amount of followers, if they are all advisers or paraplanners we are unlikely to receive meaningful business from them.

This is not a criticism – it is a wake-up call.

I am fully engaged with Twitter; I use it all the time and I really enjoy it. But we are going to have to start building a following outside of our profession, to reach the wider public, if we are going to have any chance of it producing results.

I do not just mean my firm here, I mean everyone. I do not know the level of enquiries received for the leading lights of our profession who do social really well (shout out to Pete Matthew, Martin Bamford, Maven Adviser and a few others) but I would be confident to wager that, outside of these few, there is hardly anything in the way of meaningful opportunities coming from it.

To me, that feels like an opportunity. Let’s see if we have the patience, the work ethic and the creativity to make something of ourselves in these ever-evolving spheres. We also need to try and enjoy it. It should be fun to develop these areas because if it is not, it is going to be a very long road ahead.

Sam Sloma is managing director of Engage Financial Services


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There are 6 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. I really do wonder what sort of quality business is achievable via social media. It strikes me as desperation.

    Several years ago I actually canvassed my clients and asked who actually used Facebook, Twitter etc. Less than 2% was the answer.

    I found it much more worthwhile to receive business via professional connections and existing clients.

    Today we can see the venality of much social media and it seems that Facebook is back pedalling like mad and spending considerable sums on advertising trying to tell us that they really are good boys.

    We have e-mail, SMS, Whats App and the Royal Mail; as well as our web sites. – why is this not enough?

  2. Christopher Petrie 2nd July 2018 at 6:41 pm

    I tend to agree with HK. Certainly more established IFAs, or those working in small practices, are unlikely to get many (any?) new clients from Twitter etc. The very name tells you all you need to know!

    Accountants, lawyers, other advisers and existing clients will refer you the right sort of new client (if you explain what you’re looking for). Why waste (lots of?) time in random online conversations, often inane, in the hope of getting a new client?

  3. Peter Matthew 3rd July 2018 at 8:14 am

    Ignore Harry, Sam. Anyone putting the Royal Mail and WhatsApp in the same sentence just doesn’t get it. Plus, I imagine 100% of your prospective clients ARE using social.

    It is unlikely that much meaningful business will come purely from social. The model generally has been that the social networks are outposts, offering smaller tidbits of what you are offering back at your website in the form of blogs, videos etc.

    This is changing to some degree as the social networks are offering richer, longer form content creation opportunities, such as Medium and LinkedIn Publishing.

    The internet and social media offer an unprecedented opportunity to present who you are, and what your message is, to a wide audience at negligible cost. That’s the message of Crush It in a nutshell.

    So you must have something valuable to say, and it has to be at once educational, entertaining and must inspire people to take action.

    Here at Jacksons, about 40% of our new enquiries come from client referrals; 40% from online marketing, primarily through MeaningfulMoney, and the remaining 20% from a combination of professional connections, walk-ins etc. Total new enquiries last year: 145, of which we converted north of 80%

    People like Harry Katz look at the social networks, which are still very young and have grown so fast in a short time, and shake their heads, calling them venal and shallow and blaming them for much of society’s ills When in fact, for those prepared to embrace and understand the new opportunity, the future is bright.

    Harry’s generation doesn’t need to use social. They’re clearly running successful businesses without resorting to such fripperies. The upcoming NextGen advisers will have to embrace social or they will not succeed because, despite what Harry thinks, your clients live, work and play online.

    • I like the fact that we are having a debate about not using social media via…….. social media 🙂

    • “your clients live, work and play online” That’s why they are fat and unhealthy and for the first time in generations longevity increase has come to a halt and has even moved backwards.

      In spite of what many may think I am very engaged and interested in progress and technology. But I see the reach of social media actually declining. People are beginning to realise that there are better things to do with their time. They are starting to twig that they are the product – not vice versa.

      When I go out to eat how sad is it that people sit there staring into their phones and hardly converse. Opinion formers are starting to lead the way. Simon Cowell (for those who place credence on him) has ditched his phone and declares he is better for it. Personally I find the phone a useful tool. A pocket computer with many useful apps, but no Facebook, Twitter etc.

    • Thank you Pete.

      Hi all, I always say it’s horses for courses and no one size fits all. My posts aren’t meant to be controversial. It was more to say if you’re going down the social route, then make sure you’ve got the time, patience and desire to do it properly.

      I would argue against Harry that my footballer clients are fat and unhealthy though. Using sweeping generalisations about people or my clients is pretty unhelpful but hey ho.

      Nick your point about the values of social media on social media are spot on 🙂

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