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What advisers are saying: Working out the value of social media

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Yesterday, this is the number of times I checked the following applications, whether on my phone or laptop: Facebook: 9; LinkedIn: 4; Twitter: 12.

Now, let’s say I spent an average of three minutes on site every time I checked one of these social media platforms: 25 x 3 minutes = 75 minutes. Blimey!

MyTouchstone database reckons the average hourly rate charged by an independent adviser using a fee model is £158 per hour. If advisers are anything like me then, that’s £197.50 ‘invested’ in social media a day; £987.50 a week; or around £51,350 (per head) a year.

This does not even begin to account for the time it takes to switch tasks and move in and out of a flow state (which is when all of us do our best work).

Most of us wouldn’t part with that kind of money without being pretty clear on the kind of return you were likely to get. And I’d wager that you’d also check in fairly regularly to ensure that you were on track… and if not why. Yet most social media strategies are far from strategic, and actually many aren’t even that social given the proportion of one-way broadcasts that dominate channels, but that’s for another day.

Social media (for business) is a means to an end. It is one of the great many tools available to help your firm get closer to the accomplishment of your mission, whatever that is. Or at least it should be. But even intuitively knowing that, most of us don’t use it as such. 

This might be because we are not addressing the real reason we are so addicted to social media in the first place. Often, we don’t constantly check these platforms because it’s a purpose-driven activity: reaching new prospects, responding to clients, building brand profile. We check them because they fulfil a core human drive for connection, meaning and affirmation (associating “likes,” comments and shares with self-worth). There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that but it’s important to be clear what we’re doing and why; what it costs and whether the returns we’re hoping for are materialising. Otherwise we’re just distracting ourselves from the real work.

The numbers above say it all. If it’s not in some way aligned to the creation of your business vision, we’re potentially wasting literally hours on an activity that generates an ROI of precisely £0 because we’re not measuring it. That’s outrageous and I’m as guilty as the next man.

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Phil Wickenden is founder of So Here’s The Plan phil@soherestheplan.com   

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