No longer is there a question about the value of social media. Consultants and advisors widely agree on the benefitsof LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter for networking. Now, many want to leverage social media to grow their brands and reputations as industry thought leaders.
In my role at VALIC, I’ve met with many consultants and advisors to advise them on social media strategies. From my interactions, I’ve seen that everyone wants to do social media right but many do not know where to start. Here are the basics I routinely recommend.
When talking about social media goals and plans, I compare it to goal planning for physical fitness. If you’ve ever developed a fitness plan at the gym, a trainer probably asked about your goals and the amount of time you can dedicate to exercise. If you want to become a bodybuilder and be in your best physical shape, then be prepared to spend a few hours a day, 6‐7 days a week to reach that goal. If you’re only looking to become a little more physically fit, then you may only need to spend an hour a day, 2‐3 times a week.
There are similar considerations when planning a social media strategy—with time and effort being at the forefront. Most aren’t able to become social media bodybuilders, but they can still see a benefit from social media simply by becoming more active.
In reality, you may not have a lot of time to plan for social media, so build a strategy for the time you have. While quantity is important, it’s quality that really matters. For example, professionals using LinkedIn expect insightful, original content and not merely forwarded articles, so use your time creating quality pieces that have your target audience values.
Begin to think about topics where you have a unique perspective that will interest plan sponsors, then determine how often you can publish. Whether it’s every few days or every other week, the frequency depends on how often you can put your best ideas forward.
Most consultants and advisors gravitate towards LinkedIn as the primary channel for their social media strategy—and with good reason. LinkedIn is the go‐to resource for professionals not only to connect, but also to learn. Posting content that’s educational will showcase your expertise and leadership among existing and potential clients.
Other channels like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube can extend your reach. You can leverage content across channels as long as it’s tailored to the channel you’re using. For example, consider building on your LinkedIn content by hosting a roundtable discussion on Facebook Live, then re-purpose that video on LinkedIn. Another option is to post a longer presentation on YouTube that you can later tweet out or cross‐post on LinkedIn and Facebook. The possibilities are endless, depending on your goals and what channel works best for your audience.
Not all social media channels garner the same activity level. To maximize your resources, it’s wise to focus on the channels that will help you meet your Key Performance Indicators (KPI). Most channels offer deep analytics that help you understand who you’re reaching and what they find engaging and relevant. This information will help you see which channels deliver the results you want so you can focus your efforts and adjust your goals.
There’s no doubt that social media requires focus and commitment but with a solid plan and regular activity, your practice can see positive results in driving your business growth. Like physical fitness planning, today’s small sacrifices can begin to produce long‐term, measureable growth that will help pave the way for your future goals.