So, what’s your telephone strategy? is a question Seth Godin recently posed. It is a good question with a simple answer: “We don’t have a telephone strategy.” The telephone is a tool, a simple medium, and its only purpose is to connect us to interested human beings. And then the internet comes along with all its mystique and suddenly we need a social media strategy. But do we?
The world (and that includes financial services) is becoming far less deferent to single sources of authority and increasingly influenced by broader, more personal sources. But this is not new and so-called new media is essentially no more than an outworking of this trend.
Much of what’s holding advisers back is the perceived mystique. Advisers recognise the growing influence of social media yet most are struggling to fully harness its benefits and translate time spent into tangible business value. The key to unlocking value is remembering that social media is a tool and tools do very little on their own. We need to be clear about what we want to achieve through their application and that is down to us and our people.
When we understand the story we want our brand to tell, social media can help tell that story in a powerful way through:
1: Listening to the market: Social media is an effective way of communicating to and with peers about market and business-related opportunities and challenges.
2: Researching and targeting clients. Twitter and Facebook offer the opportunity to target specific demographics and more intimately understand the interests and needs of specific client groups.
3: Client retention. Often over-looked, social media represents a good and low-cost way to continually add value to clients through regular engagement, whether it is new updates, relevant articles or content aligned to personal interests.
4: Brand building. About 75 per cent of people ask their community before making a decision – social media creates a powerful brand footprint, providing the opportunity to influence those that influence key financial decisions.
5: Client acquisition: Advertising is incredibly targeted on specific demographics.
So back to my original question…do we need a social media strategy? All of these media are conduits, they are tools. Behind each of the tools is a person. The more important question is: do you have a story to tell that person? A reason to engage or a benefit to offer them?
As Seth points out, figure out the people part and the technology gets a whole lot simpler.