Industry reports show that social media adoption among registered investment advisors has grown steadily over the past several years. More recently, we are now starting to hear more about the lackluster results that these efforts have yielded.
My first reaction to this is always, "Building awareness and developing a brand takes time.", which is certainly true but there's more to the story.
Social media marketing (not unlike any other strategic initiative) needs to rest on top of a well-thought out strategy. Social marketing is not a magic potion--it will not make your firm an effective marketer by itself. Dabbling in social media is like waking up one day and saying, "Let's do a marketing mailer, follow up with everyone on the list and seeing if we can get some leads." The ROI on one-off efforts like this rarely looks appealing in hindsight. (I can attest to that personally!)
To truly give social media marketing a chance to yield positive results, devote some time to developing a social media strategy first. Here is a framework for you to use to get you thinking about developing your RIA firm's social media strategy. By performing this exercise first, you will add deliberateness and purpose to the time you devote to building awareness among your target audience(s) and fostering your firm's brand.
Elements of Social Media Strategy
- Establish mutually-shared firm-level objectives. These typically come from a broader strategic planning exercise that defines your value proposition, positioning and key points of differentiation.
- Establish specific goals for your social media activities. These may include: generating leads, establishing expertise, or driving traffic to your website or blog.
- Identify which social media outlets are most prevalent among your intended audience. Let's face it, most of us don't have time to effectively embrace Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and a corporate blog all at the same time. Select a one or two to start and be sure that you are working towards building a brand-consistent social media presence across selected outlets.
- Identify specific social media tactics and create a content calendar. Based on the social media sites that you prioritize, commit to a handful of specific activities like blogging, participating in LinkedIn discussions, posting articles or links on Facebook and Twitter. Whichever you choose, ensure that each tactic enforces your firm-level objectives and allows you to "humanize” your brand. Let your personality to shine through!
- Establish a social media compliance policy. Remember that ANY social media activity is considered advertising (yes, even LinkedIn profiles.) Social media marketing is a very high priority for regulators these days. Make sure your firm has a social media policy in place and your social sites are properly archived.