The author Marshall McLuhan once said that the “medium is the message” and today’s currency is unequivocally social media. As the stomach turns is the favorite soap playing in Washington right now but it also is a great time to be thinking about how financial advisers might use the booming digital market to speed up your lead generation wheel in 2013. In a recent survey of financial advisers, over 70% said they were using social media to improve their referral network and cultivate client prospects. The numbers are even more impressive when advisers integrate their website into a social medium as well. There are now close to 4 million high net worth clients on LinkedIn and as this month’s Financial Planning magazine points out, more and more advisers like Winnie Sun, an Irvine California adviser is using social media to generate clients of substantial means. In Sun’s case, booking and event planner for a fund raiser turned into a meeting with the executives at an online shoe retailer that was recently bought by Amazon. As award winning manager author Thomas Stanley pointed out in the “Millionaire Next Door” written in the 80’s the affinity group is the cat’s meow when it comes to leading at 12 o clock on the wheel. Affinity groups are usually a small group of activists who work together for a common cause. They are usually a group of friends who band together for a common cause. How many affinity groups that match your target market are you a part of? How many are you socially active with. You might consider starting a discussion monthly to establish a social brand identity.
This year’s election provided a fertile opportunity for mixing and mingling with fellow supporters and while 2013 is an off election year, it is the perfect time socially to begin connecting via LinkedIn with key influencers at the local political level. A Maryland adviser used her participation on social media to drum up support for a State Senator and wound up closing several important relationships that wound up ramping her business up dramatically. In addition, LinkedIn is a great resource for building relationships with organizations like the local Councils of Aging or volunteering to host an educational event as a ministry or vocational event. It can also be utilized to track job changers and reach out to local outsource firms or job placement services that have access to rollover information, income and other benefits provisions of job candidate. Finally make sure you are plugging into the same professional association forums, discussions and groups that other trusted advisers like CPAs, Attorneys, and P&C agents frequent. Through their LinkedIn site learn their hobbies and interests and if they match yours, make sure that you are joining these groups as well online. Volunteer with a local Speakers Bureau to provide a financial educational talk at will and have a stump speech lined up to demonstrate your expertise. The Think Tank book, Savior Retirement, is a fantastic foundation for a stump speech.
Last, ensure that you are blogging to as many of the resources and centers of influence as possible on the lead generation wheel. All financial advisers want to get more customers but gaining a consumer should come first and are looking for companies to meet their needs. A top shelf, page one site is a good start but a website is not where new customers are going to search for financial information. Blogs are a good place to start to demonstrate you are an educator first and possibly an expert. Blogging should be directed at your target market including groups, forums, and discussion groups. Make sure you develop an editorial calendar and allocate time that is relevant to timely topics like fiscal cliffs, congressional gridlock and taxmageddon right now. Adding video and a simple chart can broaden reach as well.
In summary, a good place to start is right now through utilizing Annuity Think Tank year end client surveys or tap into a client advisory council for ideas. I will add more on where to start with these two resources in another blog. It is also important to try to make all content simple, relevant and readable or viewable in one page or 5 minutes or less. Take time out to thank God for social among many other blessings. It is the medium that brings many family members closer together as well from around the country and Globe. My time is up!