Get on board with social media and protect your brand

By Loic Jeanjean on Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

We all know the big four players of social media: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Chances are that you’re probably already engaging customers and providing them value on most, if not all, of these social websites.

If you aren’t, however, now is the time to get on board with social media. A recent survey of 651 advisors ranked social media as the second-best way to communicate with prospects, trailing only face-to-face encounters. Because social media have become so central to how advisors market themselves, I advise our customers to register their name and/or brand on as many social media websites as they possibly can and not to limit themselves only to the major players mentioned above.

After all, a social site might seem too small or might just be emerging today, but in 6, 12, or 18 months’ time, it could be the hit new place for your clients and prospects to seek information about financial services, connect with peers or share their experience with an advisor online. If that were to happen, wouldn’t you prefer having a profile already registered under your brand name to watching helplessly as somebody else uses your cherished brand? I know I would.

To put that last paragraph into perspective: Less than two years ago, nobody knew what Twitter was. Today, it’s just shy of 100 million users, and numerous advisors are using it daily to reach out to their clients and grow their online market share.

Ginny Kipling recently endorsed this approach in a post on Senior Market Advisor:

Monitor your Brand: It is not enough to simply create a profile on a social site anymore, nor is it to post content and be ‘active.’ You need to discover and listen to the conversations that could affect your business’ bottom line. Doing so will allow you to learn, help, collaborate with and engage with the very same people who can help grow your social web presence over time.

Your typical ‘listening list’ may include your clients, prospects, former clients, business partners, and industry thought leaders.

By using specific tools such as Twitter Search or Google Blog Search, you can decide which relevant keywords you want to track and monitor. At a minimum, these should include your name, your brand, and your branded products.

Other, more sophisticated — yet affordable — tools like BuzzTrac or Trackur will allow you to create profiles for monitoring your brands, connect to multiple Facebook and Twitter accounts at a time, monitor your reputation, check on trends and analyze media attention for your company. Trackur for example allows you to enter a list of keywords you wish to track into their lexicon. This will trigger a search on the web around hundreds of social websites and report results in really comprehensive way.

Once you start ‘listening’, you will find all kind of conversations about your industry, your competitors, and your brand. And let’s not forget: You might even come across people looking for the financial services you offer.

 

Author: Loic Jeanjean is the Online Marketing Manager at Advisor Websites, where he helps financial services professionals grow their market share by leveraging online marketing and social media. Loic, a member of the Financial Planning Association® (FPA®), is also spearheading expansions in the US and French markets for his company. You can email Loic at: loic@advisorwebsites.com

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