Social media...

My firm has just celebrated our first anniversary and whilst it was great to allow for a little time to reflect on the last year, we’re more concerned with looking ahead.

To that end we’re now looking at building a marketing strategy. I’ve recently read ‘24 Assets’ by Daniel Priestly and ‘Crushing It’ by Gary Vaynerchuk and both were fantastic in terms of their views on 21st century business ideas and marketing strategies.

Taking the above books into account, the idea I’m developing for Engage is for us to build a presence across a number of different social media platforms. We’re talking about Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and any new ones that haven’t been invented yet or that we don’t know of. Of course there is nothing new here, however the books explain what it takes to go beyond just having a presence here and truly utilising these tools to build a business. Like anything worth doing, it does not look easy.

A positive note is that we’re in the fortunate position of not needing any strategy to deliver results in the short term. We can take our time, get better at every aspect of this new world and learn on the job. One thing you hear from numerous experts is that creating content and building a social media plan takes patience. A whole lot of patience. So, part of the plan is being mindful that we’re unlikely to receive anything client-wise in potentially a couple of years. You have to just keep going. Pete Matthew has to be one of the leading social media advisers in the UK and, by all accounts, it took a few hundred pieces of content before he received an enquiry from the work he’d done.

One thing that has struck me recently is that I’m one of many advisers/paraplanners/business owners on Twitter. There are quite a lot of conversations online and it’s enjoyable to see what everyone is doing. The big question I have is who are we talking to when we put out any content? We may have a number of followers but if these are all other advisers/paraplanners then I’m unlikely to receive meaningful business from them.

When you think of a twitter following, you can daydream of your legion of fans following your every move as if you’re some sort of celebrity or influencer. Every word written is poured over and any promotion put out is likely to generate 10x in referrals or inflows.

The reality is somewhat different. The majority of followers are people in our profession that follow because they’re interested in what people are up to, or they’re friends or they’re sharing ideas. This is not a criticism, it’s a wake-up call. I often see advisers commenting on other adviser posts with differing views which is all good fun, except when it goes a little beyond that.  Who doesn’t love a twitter spat? Especially when it doesn’t involve me! 😊

On a personal and professional level I’m fully engaged with twitter, I use it all the time and I really enjoy it. The point, however, is that we’re going to have to start building a following outside of our profession to reach the wider public if we’re going to have any chance of it actually producing results. I don’t just mean Engage here, I mean everyone. I don’t know the level of enquiries received for the leading lights of our profession who do social really well (shout out to Pete Matthew, Martin Bamford, Maven Adviser and a few others). I’d be confident to wager that outside of these few, there is hardly anything in the way of meaningful opportunities coming from social media.

To me that feels like an opportunity. Let’s see if we’ve got the patience, the work ethic, the creativity to make something of ourselves in these ever-evolving spheres. We need to try and enjoy it as well. It should be fun to develop these areas because, if it isn’t fun, it’s going to be a very long road ahead.