Posts Tagged ‘social media’

Book Talk

March 14, 2016

Talking about what you’ve been reading is a great way to start a conversation via social media. Here are some pointers for bringing up the books that you’re reading via Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

  • What kinds of books?
    It shouldn’t surprise people that you might talk about books that relate to your industry. There are many books about retirement, finances, investing, and lifestyles which are related to your services. Your job is to find the books that are interesting, entertaining, and most relevant to your followers.
  • Talk back to the reviewers.
    Find reviews of the books you’re reading and share them, with a brief summary of where you agree or disagree with the reviewer. Avoid user reviews, i.e. the product reviews you find on Amazon. Favor reviews posted by traditional media. YouTube videos of conversations with the author are also a great resource.
  • But what if I’m reading?
    An award-winning novel? A mystery? The latest biography? History? Not everything you talk about has to be relevant. In fact, mixing it up is a good thing; it shows people that you’re well-rounded, and it keeps them paying attention when you’re doing something related to your business.
  • Know your community.
    There are certain books that you might not want to discuss. I’m not just talking “adult situations” here; there are a number of books, even those related to financial matters, which take political and religious points of view. A good rule of thumb when sharing about a book is to ask yourself: Who am I excluding when I’m talking about this book? You know your community best, so put that knowledge into practice.
  • Keep it lively, but respectful.
    If you’re a reader, this is a great way to connect with well-informed, educated people within your community. It might lead to meet-ups, book clubs… whatever you have the bandwidth to take part in. Just remember that people do get excited about topics they are passionate about. By keeping a friendly tone, you can show leadership by maintaining the cool even when folks get passionate or argumentative. This leadership will earn respect and, in the long run, win you business.

Reaching Out To Millennials

February 15, 2016

The current generation of young adults, the Millennials (people born between 1981-1996), are often seen as something of a riddle to their elders. When you consider that these young people have grown up in a wildly different world than even the generation before them, with so many notable technological and social differences, it’s easy to see why anyone might shrug their shoulders and ask “How do I get their attention?”

Fitness Clubs: Roughly one in five Millennials use a gym or exercise regularly. Maybe you should consider partnering with a local gym to offer discount group memberships. Or perhaps look into hiking and biking excursions. You likely have a natural area just right for this sort of outing somewhere nearby.1

LAN Parties: Millennials consume media like crazy. Some polls have them playing video games more than watching movies and sports combined. A LAN Party is where you gather a number of people with game consoles, laptops, and other platforms to take part in playing multiplayer video games. Normally attendees bring their own gaming console, but you may want to rent or borrow a device or two, just in case. Have lots of snack food available… these parties can go all weekend. Be sure to offer more than just the LAN Party as a diversion; even the most dedicated gamer needs a break! If you have an office, host it in your conference room, maybe on a weekend that coincides with a prominent game release. Do a short, 15-20 minute presentation before gaming begins. Now you have a number of young people with disposable income who know where your office is and what services you provide. You probably have one or two gamers on your staff or maybe in your family who can help advise and supervise the event.2,3

Student Debt Counselling: There is $1.2 Trillion dollars of student loan debt in the United States. You better believe that’s on the mind of a number of new college graduates. Bring in a guest speaker who talks about how to lower payments, and/or strategizes on how to resolve these burdens quickly and efficiently. You’ll probably get a number of Gen Xers and Baby Boomers in the mix, as well, as student debt is not merely a problem for the young.4

Social Media: Of course, most Millennials use some form of social media. If you aren’t already using Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, get on that immediately, if your compliance allows. Also, keep in mind that Marketing.Pro offers compliance-approved social media content every week (text posts as well as image posts.) It also offers the option to automated social media campaigns. Regular posting shows that you are in touch and easily accessible, part of their neighborhood.

The Elections Are Coming! The Elections Are Coming!

November 16, 2015

Like many Americans, you probably have political and social views, and those you feel strongly about. You also know that, if you work with the public in a profit-making enterprise, there isn’t much benefit in expressing any of the views which may be divisive or partisan. Whether you skew right, left, or center, your political views are likely something that you keep to yourself, regardless of whether most of your clients or customers agree with you or not.

What do you do, then, if your personal or business social media presence has been hijacked by a political conversation? It doesn’t take much to light the fuse, especially as we go into the 2016 Presidential Election cycle, when so many more people are engaged in the political process.

It isn’t enough to simply avoid some topics. Financial professionals, to name one example, deal with topics that so frequently cross over with the world of politics.

Here are three ways to keep the peace on social media.

Lay down the law: You have a right to regulate the conversation in your social media presence and/or let your followers and friends know the “rules” for your feed. Post something that will end the conversation respectfully:

  • “I appreciate the opinions of everyone here, but respectfully ask that political conversations happen elsewhere.”
  • “I know these are issues that many feel passionately about, but I’d like my page to stay neutral when it comes to politics.”
  • “I feel like this thread has gotten a bit off topic. I appreciate everyone’s thoughts and opinions, but I’d rather steer clear of politics on my feed. I hope everyone understands.”

A private word: You will probably want to delete any comments of a political nature from your feed (possible on some platforms, but not others). A quick direct message explaining your actions and why you’ve taken them will soften the blow, especially if they are a current or potential client. If they are someone you work with closely, a telephone call might also be appropriate.

The banhammer: If a word to the wise proves insufficient, or if there are repeated incidents, the various social media platforms offer you options to ban or block certain users from posting or commenting.

Considering that we are still a year away from Election Day 2016, I hope that you won’t have to use these methods too often! Our political system is one of the things that makes our country great, but, like fireworks on the Fourth of July, you want to be careful where you set it off!

Are you using social media wisely?

August 17, 2015

The question isn’t “Are you using social media?” You’re on top of that, or you’re about to start. The question is “Are you using social media wisely?”

Social Media may be the most human tool ever devised. We’re social by our nature; we always want to be talking, meeting, sharing, and we always seek out community. Unlike a TV Commercial or an ad in the paper, you have the opportunity to get to know your intended audience before posting. Knowing their passions, their concerns, and their everyday lives will inform you about what to share.

As I see it, your job is to start a conversation and keep it going. This doesn’t mean responding to every post. Don’t just talk. Listen. Monitor. Pay attention. If someone posts about a new child or a grandchild, this gives you the information that this person may be thinking about starting a savings plan for college. If someone reaches a particular milestone birthday, that may be an indication that it’s time to have a conversation about their retirement savings, or maybe even legacy planning.

Here are some tips for using each of the three main Social Media Platforms:

• Twitter: 140 characters may seem like too little to communicate, but use that space wisely; link to relevant or interesting articles. If you keep a blog, link to that. Your followers will decide what they want to read, based on their own lives and interests.

• Facebook: More intimate than Twitter, Facebook is less like the town square and more like being invited into someone’s living room. If you are fortunate enough to be “friended,” be sure to balance information with some personal stuff. Nothing too personal. But pictures from a recent family vacation or outing allows contacts to see you as a neighbor.

• LinkedIn: The late night guys love joking about ignoring LinkedIn requests, but it’s your way of communicating with other professionals. People who are not necessarily in your field are there, so be sure to put your best foot forward and take part.

Keep in mind: These are just the big three today. Keep an eye on sites like Tumblr, Instagram, and others that are still developing a following. If you see a way to reach out on these sites, and your Broker/Dealers say yes, take the plunge! The main rule is staying firmly on the line between being professional, yet interesting.

Part of your presence in any social network should include interesting and topical articles and news items; if you are a doing things on your own, or have an assistant with other pressing duties, finding interesting items can feel like a full-time job. This is doubled when you factor that many people working in financial fields must have all items, even social media posts, approved by compliance departments.

While brevity is the soul of wit, you needn’t leave any tricks in your bag. Anyone who has spent any time on social media knows the power of images. Think in terms of how you can convey a message in ways that are visually interesting. Information Graphics or Infographics are image files that illustrate a complicated idea, such as significant financial changes, pie charts, and graphs. They can also be used to share pertinent quotes from recent news stories, or words of advice from experts.

Using Social Media in Troubled Times

March 10, 2015

Social Media is now a primary resource for information and communication. Most of us scroll through Twitter or Facebook all through the day. As a professional, though, how do you interact with the public when the topic on everyone’s lips is troubling or incredibly sad? Here are some guidelines to keep in mind…

Learn when to stay out of it. If people are having an intense public debate on a particular issue, common sense dictates that a professional has no place in that discussion, unless it has a direct and specific effect on his business.

A somber moment. What about when something unambiguously tragic happens? As a member of your community, it’s a good instinct to post a simple one-line expression.

In the moment. What if you are caught in the middle of an ongoing event? You’ll want to keep it simple; let folks know if everyone in your office is all right, and any changes to your business hours.

Work/Life Balance. Consider keeping a separate online presence for personal observations and interactions. Not everyone can strike that balance, though.

Social Media isn’t all-purpose. Greeting cards remain the best way to make these connections. A service like Marketing.Pro can take all of the busy work out of sending cards; they have a wide variety for a number of occasions.

Your Facebook profile can outlive you

February 13, 2015

As social media became a major hub for contact around the world, an unforeseen situation came to light. What way, if any, was appropriate to memorialize a social media user who had passed away? Who should decide? Facebook’s latest answer to this came this week in the form of their new “Legacy Contact” policy.

A Legacy Contact is another Facebook user whom you can select, in advance, to “look after” your memorialized account in the event of your death. While they cannot log in to your account, remove or change items you’ve shared, read your messages, or remove friends, they are able to write a post pinned to your profile (a final message or other information for mourners), update your profile picture and cover photo, and respond to new friend requests.

Crucially, the Legacy Contact will be able to download a copy of what you’ve shared on Facebook, including posts and photos, a sort of digital journal of your thoughts and life on Social Media. I’m sure you can imagine how nice something like that would be for families and loved ones, not to mention being of interest to future generations.

Facebook has indicated that this new feature will likely change over time.

If, like me, you’re a Facebook user and interested in having a spouse, family member, or trusted friend assigned as your Legacy Contact, you may want to read more about the feature here.

Getting the most out of Social Media

July 16, 2013

The Internet has taken over so many aspects of our lives that it’s hard for some to think of how we got along before its emergence. Of the many paradigms our society has explored with this amazing and versatile resource, social media may prove to be the most vital tool at your disposal. You’ve probably been thinking of new and different ways to use social media to build or enhance your experience with your clients and contacts.

Here are some tips for using three of the most popular social media platforms effectively – some basics that may help shape your own participation, or you can pass along to social media newcomers. This is, by no means, a complete list, but it may give you a leg up, as well as provoke some brainstorming of your own.

Twitter: Perhaps the most popular and widely-read of the social media formats. Twitter is used by celebrities, politicians, world leaders, and everyday people. But only using Twitter to get eyes on your website or tell them about your services is a little short-sighted. The philosophy of Twitter is interaction between people, so the person tweeting for your company may not be you, but they should be a trustworthy employee who knows your business, and can communicate well (meaning listening to the needs of subscribers as well as answering questions), because Twitter is a tool that lets you tap into the very zeitgeist itself! Pretty heady stuff, right? That’s why it’s important to have your Twitter presence cultivate a character, to literally be your voice in the wider world.

Facebook: While there are many individuals who use both Twitter and Facebook, there are those who favor one or the other.  If you’re wondering if you should be present on both platforms, the answer is: Yes! Where the “Twittersphere” allows you to engage anyone who takes part, Facebook is more community-oriented. This allows potential business contacts to see their friends interactions with you, whether they are posting on your business page, “checking in,” or just sharing information that you’ve posted. One aspect you will find particularly helpful are Facebook’s analytics, through which you can determine how much and how often the people who have “liked” you are truly interacting with your posts. These numbers can prove invaluable in telling you whether to stay the course or try something different.

LinkedIn: LinkedIn is a growing social network which doesn’t get the same attention as Facebook or Twitter, possibly because it’s designed for professionals. Clearly, it’s that difference that gives it an edge that should pique your interest. More than just posting interesting articles, it’s about building relationships with other professionals. There are also a number of interest groups you may want to explore, but don’t fall into the trap of only participating in those groups related to your business; you have a better chance of developing relationships with a wider variety of professionals if you spend time in groups that explore your own personal interests, not unlike the social clubs (fraternal orders, country clubs) that were once so prevalent. The Internet, and tools like LinkedIn, allow us to expand our community beyond our normal geographic limits, to the entire country or even the wider world.

Staying Topical: Part of your presence in any social network should include interesting and topical articles and news items; if you are a doing things on your own, or have an assistant with other pressing duties, finding interesting items can feel like a full-time job. This is doubled when you factor that many people working in financial fields must have all items, even social media posts, approved by compliance departments. A subscription to a service like our own can help alleviate that problem. We offer as many as 15 new social media messages per week. Subscribers with participating Broker/Dealers have the added advantage of their compliance department possessing the ability to review and/or approve the messages ahead of time. That’s saved time you can spend building relationships with individuals on the various social media platforms.

Every kind of business can take advantage of social media, but moving forward without an idea of how these platforms are best utilized can be as perilous as doing nothing with them at all. In time, building your social media profile can help you build on your business as well as give your potential clients and contacts an immersive and friendly way to approach you.