In this ‘Back to Basics’ series, I have already covered how to connect with your current contacts online, best practices for the 3 big social networks (Facebook, LinkedIn & Twitter), and what type of content to share on these networks. Because there are so many different social platforms, I am going to take this final week of August to go over which additional platforms, if any, you should consider as a financial professional.
So, what about all those other networks out there? I understand. It seems like there’s a new one popping up everyday. So how do you decide where to spend your time and energy? Besides Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, advisors are experimenting and finding great results with a number of other social media platforms. In this blog, I’m going to provide a quick overview on what these platforms are and what factors you should consider when deciding if you should be on them.
Google+ was created to be the social networking competitor to Facebook. Similar to Facebook, on Google+ you connect with people you know, share status updates (comments, articles, pictures, videos) and these updates appear on your friends (what Google+ calls people in your circles) timeline for them to interact with. And although Google+ never caught on quite like it was intended, it is still an incredibly important network. Because Google is the largest search engine and heavily favors it’s own content (Google+ content), your Google+ profile can be a powerful SEO (search engine optimization) tool.
Who Should Use Google+?
If you asked me this question a year ago, my answer would have been very different. Today, my answer is that everyone should be on Google+. If you create any original content and have a website, you should be sharing your content through your personal Google+ profile and your company’s profile. When you share an original blog article on Google+, Google notices that and it will appear higher on searches. In addition to its SEO value, Google+ also plays into a content creator’s Google Authorship. To keep it simple, this is a way that Google verifies who develops quality content and which authors should be featured on top in their ranking system. For more info on authorship and ranking, click here.
Sign up for Google+ and make sure you are sharing your original content—blog articles, YouTube videos, company/office photos, etc.
YouTube is a platform for original content creators and people all across the globe to connect, inform, and inspire others via video. YouTube has over 1 billion unique usersthat log on each month to consume over 6 billion hours of video (monthly). Because YouTube is also a Google product, uploading videos on this platform can be a good way to boost your company’s SEO and overall searchability.
Who Should Use YouTube?
Do you like creating original content and sharing your knowledge but want to get a little more creative than the standard blog post? Maybe writing isn’t your strong suit? If either of these describes you, then create a YouTube channel and get started. Creating YouTube videos can be a great way to both share your knowledge and give your brand some personality. A simple web camera is all you really need to get started, and these videos are easy to then share on your other networks to gain more visibility, just as you would with a standard blog post. These videos can also be embedded on your website to increase traffic.
With 200+ million users logging in each month and over 60 million photos uploaded every single day, Instagram is a social force to be reckoned with. Instagram is a photo-sharing social platform where each user has a profile and can upload photos of which their followers can look at, enjoy, like, and comment. All Instagram actions occur on users’ mobile devices as they go about their day. Instagram allows users to share photos not only with their direct Instagram network, but also through their Twitter and Facebook feeds. “Cross-pollinating” these different networks helps simultaneously build and strengthen a following. Also, the same hashtag, @mentions, liking and commenting practices that occur on the other major networks apply to Instagram.
Who Should Use Instagram?
It may seem like a simple photo sharing site, but many businesses and advisors are using Instagram to their benefit and advantage. It is important to consider your marketing goals and target audience before jumping on Instagram. Over 90% of Instagram users are under the age of 35, and although older generations are beginning to use the platform as well, the adoption is slow. Do your ideal clients use mobile apps regularly? Still interested? Next consider your marketing goals. If your goal is to gain brand awareness, Instagram is a great place to spend some time. If your main goal is to drive traffic to your website, there may be other better-suited platforms.
Pinterest is a platform that offers a way to organize and share content-related images from all over the web in one spot. Picture Pinterest like an online corkboard or refrigerator with people showing off their interests. You share your favorite images from around the Internet or from your computer called “pins” and organize them by themes or categories on a “board.” If someone likes what you’ve pinned, they will re-pin it themselves, but it will always be attached to your company’s profile as it gets passed along (which helps create brand awareness). Pinterest is widely known as a network for sharing content related to fashion, recipes and crafts, but it doesn’t need to stop there.
Who Should Use Pinterest?
Think about who your target audience is. If your answer is women, or includes women, then Pinterest should be a network to consider! Pinterest has over 70 million users, 80 percent of which are women and 50 percent who have children. Pinterest can give advisors access to this untapped market and their families.
If you decide that Pinterest is for you, here are some good ways to use Pinterest to connect with your audience.
Vine is a mobile app that allows users to create 6-second looping video snippets with their mobile device. Think of it like Twitter but for short video clips instead of text. These videos can then be shared on Twitter and Facebook as well. Vine videos are incredibly easy to create and don’t require you to be a professional videographer or editor to create them.
— Bill Winterberg CFP® (@BillWinterberg) June 10, 2013
Who Should Use Vine?
Are you an avid Twitter user who would like to add more intriguing content to your Tweet library? Vine videos are a great way to add a new medium of content to your text and photo posts on Twitter, and are also an easy way to add some personality to your brand and spice up your content. Financial service businesses are creatively using vine to: highlight new products and services, tell a story about their brand, offer behind-the-scenes office insight & personality, and get customers to connect with their company.
After summarizing all these different networks, you can probably tell that there are a lot of options for digital marketing channels, and which networks you need to be on is rather objective. The two most important things to remember are:
1. Don’t take on more than you can handle. Four complete, up-to-date and consistently active networks is better than having 8 incomplete or silent profiles.
2. Always consider where your target audience is. Because your time is precious, don’t waste time on networks where you cannot reach your ideal client.
Keep in mind that the social landscape is changing very quickly, so always be listening for new technology that can help your business.
Think you want to be involved with more of these networks but worried you do not have the time? FSM can help. We offer various advisor and enterprise solutions for social media management, incorporating various platforms based on your marketing goals! Call us today (800-837-6330) to learn more!