Butts in Seats: How Advisors Can Use Social Media to Get Prospects to Your Events and Referrals to Your Office - Part 1

If you were to ask many top advisors, they would say that they don’t use social media. And when asked about top ways to grow their business, they regularly cite referrals and events. Here’s one example from the WealthManagement.com 2014 Advisor Benchmarking Trend Report: Marketing and Client Relations: Practice Management Trends that shows referrals and events high up on the list of effective methods, with social media being much further down.  But this is where I call you advisors out. You probably aren’t using social media well. You have a LinkedIn profile but don’t really use it. You might have a firm Facebook Fan page, but you’re just posting links to third-party articles. And then you blame the medium for a lack of effectiveness.

Social media can give you the “oomph” to achieve the offline business development objectives that you’ve been pining to do just a little bit better. So before you say social media doesn’t work for business development, try using it to amplify the tactics that have worked for you in the past – namely, referrals and events.

Using LinkedIn for referrals
If you’re looking to increase referrals, LinkedIn is your best bet. I wrote a while back about identifying new CPA relationships via social media, but you can also scan your clients’ connections and request introductions to qualified prospects via LinkedIn. LinkedIn is essentially today’s Rolodex; but since it’s online, you have access to see all of the people your connections are linked to.

How does it work?
1. Make a list of your top five clients that you’d like to replicate.

2. View each of their LinkedIn profiles. Check to see if any pertinent information has changed or has been updated.

3. Look at their connections.

4. Further narrow your search by using the search box in the Connections section – use keywords such as titles, company names, etc.

5. When you narrow in on an individual for whom you’d be interested in meeting, you can jot down their name and make it a point to discuss in your next client review meeting. Tip:  instead of asking, “Can you introduce me to so and so?” ask, “How did you meet NAME?” or “How well do you know XYZ?” You’ll come across as just doing professional networking vs. blindly asking for a referral and putting someone on the spot.  Or, you can ask to get introduced using LinkedIn itself. Just click on the individual that you’d like to meet and view their profile. Instead of just asking to connect directly with the individual, you can select “Get Introduced.” You’ll be able to write a personal note to your mutual connection, explaining why you’d like to meet the person – and then LinkedIn will then help your connection facilitate the introduction. This is a really cool feature that I find most people don’t know about!

You can also look up names of people whom you’ve been referred to (or people who you’ve met at networking events), in order to do some background research and stay in touch.  If you’re looking for even more best practices for financial advsiors on referrals (both online and off), attend our upcoming webinar with John Anderson on June 15th.

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

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