My 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.
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.
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