How Social Media Can Help Advisors Carve Out their Niche

At our recent Discovery Forum, my colleague Jerry Lezynski, Director of Marketing for the SEI Advisor Network, discussed the importance of niche marketing. In doing so, he asked the audience, “Who here has a niche?” Many advisors raised their hands. The first example that was highlighted was an advisor who works with college professors.

Why is niche marketing important? It helps you understand your clients’ needs and narrow your audience so you can market to a more finite group of clients with similar planning needs. Once you’ve established a niche, the ultimate goal is to be referred within that niche.

But in order to get there, you need to be able to talk the talk. That means getting to know your niche and communicating your value to them. Offline, do things such as attending networking events specific to your niche. Turning your attention online, think about your website first – does it speak to your chosen niche and their planning needs? Also, have you considered creating case studies that show how you’ve worked with people like them? These are extremely valuable assets.

And don’t forget social media, which you know I love.  Today, I’d like to provide you with some ideas on how you can engage your niche through social media, specifically LinkedIn and Twitter.

Uncovering niche marketing opportunities through LinkedIn

  •  Connect with your niche clients. Have you connected with your clients in your targeted niche on LinkedIn? If not, you’ll want to, and here’s why. First – they’re likely connected with other prospective niche players. Let’s revisit today’s example – college professors. There’s a high probability that a professor is going to be connected to other professors. Before your next client meeting, review your clients’ connections, see what other professors they know and whom you could get introduced to, or invite to your upcoming event.

    Also, connecting with clients on LinkedIn shows you what LinkedIn groups that person is a member of. If you’re looking to brand yourself as an expert, get connected with other “professors,” and join a conversation online, LinkedIn groups are a great place for you to do just that.

  • Use advanced search to find prospects. Looking for completely new “college professors” for you to connect with? Simply visit the “Advanced Search” section at the top of your page, and enter “college professors” in the title or keyword area, select your geographic territory, and there you go. In the college professor example, you can also be so specific as to list the particular school where the individual works as one of the search criteria. Conversely, there is the opportunity to list a company name if you want to target employees of a specific company in town (great for local telecom or manufacturing employees, for example).

    But what are you going to say to your niche? You can’t just talk about your services or ask endless questions about the prospective investor’s background. Enter Twitter.

Using Twitter to talk the talk to niche markets

Since Twitter is an open channel – usually you can follow anyone, and they can follow you back – it’s a great way to stay current with news specific to your niche market.

Let’s continue our “college professor” example using my alma mater, University of Pittsburgh (Pitt).

Pitt’s office of News Services has a Twitter handle (@PittTweet) and tweets frequently about sports, hiring news, on-campus events, local PR pick ups, and charitable outreach. They often frequently tweet about their professors and their achievements – a good opportunity for you to re-tweet and provide them with more exposure.

Also, depending on the school, individual professors, departments and alumni many have official Twitter handles, as well.

And don’t forget about the role of the Twitter list when curating information. You can create a list of college professors and universities, or in the case of a local telecom company, create a list for the company, unions, local publications, to stay on top of what’s happening.

Case in point: depending on your niche, you can source talking points and potentially even connect with your target market without even having to pick up the telephone.

Amy Sitnick is the social media contributor for Practically Speaking and also serves as a senior marketing manager for the SEI Advisor Network.

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