More brokerage and wealth management firms are pursuing social media channels to connect with prospective and existing customers. While the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority has established some guidelines for social media use, adoption has been slow. This is changing as more firms embrace the technology they require to make social media programs successful. This makes it imperative for firms to examine their social media initiatives. The rapidly changing social media landscape means that organizations must be strategic or risk falling behind. When we work with these types of clients we like to start off recommending they start with these 5 phases. These tips and insights help firms capitalize on these new opportunities to connect with clients.
The research phase should include questions such as:
- Outline two to three major business goals for the firm that need to be accomplished in the next year or two. How will you measure success?
- What are your goals for successfully gaining a social media presence?
- Who is your target audience? Are there multiple segments, e.g. media, consumers, etc.? (This will help determine where the brand should be positioned in terms of social networks.)
- Are there boundaries with respect to areas that the firm would like to discuss or not discuss?
- To determine the firm’s brand voice, what types of words and tone best describe you? What does not? (Example: formal vs. informal.)
- Have you conducted sufficient competitive research to know what your target audience is interested in learning about? Based on these insights, what is your firms’s content management strategy? How often should content be proactively published across each channel?
- What kind of social media metrics are you interested in?
- What are your thoughts regarding desired changes to your existing website if any?
- SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY
Based on the answers to the above questions, a social media strategy can be created. It will be the groundwork that will outline the social media goals and metrics. Examples of social media program strategy goals include:
- Lead generation: Obtain 2-5 new leads per month, garnered from the firm’s social media presence.
- Deepen customer loyalty: Offer existing customers additional value by offering thought leadership via the social web.
- Expand reach: Raise the profiles of certain members of the firm or company by establishing a presence on appropriate social media platforms, e.g. LinkedIn Profiles and Community, Google+ Community, Blog with comments and Twitter.
These are just a few examples of the types of goals that could be included in the strategy, which will be tailored to the needs of your firm.
A social media program is just a nice activity without metrics that further your business goals. The success of the social media program will be measured by benchmarking key performance indicators (KPIs) against business and brand goals. Examples of metrics include:
- Brand Awareness: Measured by the firm’s Klout Score, engaged followers and content sharing, e.g. Google Plus, LinkedIn and Blog.
- Website Traffic: This includes website visitors, length of time spent on the website, advocates that turn into leads or clients.
- SOCIAL MEDIA PROGRAM SUSTAINABILITY
Before you start any social media program, always make sure that there is a social media policy in place. A social media policy will ensure that the firm is represented consistently across all social media channels. Once the policy is in place, the long term plan can be developed. The social team and firm will have to work together to develop the strategy and content management plan. This will ensure that day-to-day initiatives are connected to specific goals. Make sure there is a plan in place of who will manage all content across channels, including the website and social media assets/platforms, serving as “community managers” who publish content across all social media channels and spur conversations with existing and prospective customers, influencers and media.
- MEETING FREQUENCY & PURPOSE
Weekly meetings should be held to facilitate the success of the social media program. Topics will include progress against the strategy to ensure all parties are on the same path toward the firms’s long-term social media footprint, content ideation to identify new ways to deliver content, issues management, etc.
A few more thoughts … Creating a social media account takes seconds, but maintaining a presence is a long-term commitment. When an account is set up and fails to consistently publish fresh content and points of view, the firm is hurt. This is particularly true when key audience segments and media follow the account.[pb_builder]