Harness the power of social media

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Financial and professional services as industries have been incredibly slow to adapt and evolve to using new methods of engaging with existing and prospective clients through Social and Digital Media. 

Despite what most so called Social Media experts will tell you there is good reason for this. The idea of viral videos, content distribution and paying for search engine optimisation makes sense for certain types of businesses because they are far more engaging ‘social’ platforms that are able to replace or extend traditional advertising. 

However, advisers have a whole different product to offer; one that is based on relationships, the foundation of which is NOT brand + price but rather, know, like and trust.  I believe Social Media was built for advisers; the problem is a misunderstanding that the focus should be on the ‘Media’, like it is in advertising, rather than on the ‘Social’ part of this equation.

Social Media and digital technology are the golden tools of relationship management yet very few seem to be looking at it in the right way, from an Advisers OR client’s point of view.  Social Media allows you to grow effective relationships with hundreds of new people at a time rather than a few, and digital channels provide the tools to solve know, like and trust twenty four hours a day without you having to be present. 

Advisers have the tools, I believe they just need to know how to use them effectively and they need to see real results rather than smoke and mirrors.

My first suggestion is that you look at what actual advisers are doing that is working in the Social Media space rather than listening to PR or Marketing Professionals, or Search Engine or Website Specialists.  While these professionals are great to add value to a developed strategy they are missing the translation necessary to apply their skills to real world adviser implementation and results.

Take Marshall Brentnall and Jeff Thurecht, partners in Sydney-based Evalesco Financial Services. They are using facebook to talk about their clients and supporting and raising money for their favourite cause, The Black Dog Institute.  Simply by being transparent and ‘real’ people, they are finding their ability to attract ideal clients exponentially increasing through the inherent social characteristics of Facebook.

Another example is David Rae, Director at Beams and Associates in Canberra, who used Twitter and a client’s Tumbler to learn that one of his client’s young daughter been diagnosed with a life threatening disease. 

“I have social media relationships with lots of my clients and happened to see a tweet from a client talking about his daughter’s illness,” Mr Rae said. David was able to proactively contact the client and let him know that he was starting the ball rolling on claiming on a Child Trauma insurance policy that Mr Rae had previously advised the client on.

What is interesting is that the client had forgotten about the cover and that Mr Rae was able to deliver service right when the client needed it the most, well before the client would have sought out advice from Mr Rae.

Even better for this market leading adviser was that he was able to deliver this value in front of a whole public audience.  This element of Social Advice is changing the paradigms of both service delivery and referrals.

With just a little investment of time and the use of some simple tools, you now have the ability to know when your clients are changing jobs, selling their houses, contemplating life decisions and be right there delivering service in the highest value way possible.

Then you have another example of a leader in the field, Aaron Zelman, who has almost become a household name in the Risk Advice profession in Australia for his work to collaborate with fellow advisers through his LinkedIn group Australian Risk Advisers.  In his words he formed the group ‘Because I am so passionate about the underinsurance of Australians and I wanted to create a place where Advisers could help each other be better’.

In the process Mr Zelman has begun to generate immense credibility in his Social Media endeavours which directly translates to business growth through this new version of ‘word of mouth’.

If you are not already thinking about adapting to a future that includes elements of Social Advice then you need to shrug off your misconceptions.  This is not about technology or talking about ‘what you had for breakfast’ and this is certainly NOT a fad that is going to pass you by. This is about your clients, credibility, trust and building and maintaining relationships at a transformative scale.

Baz Gardner is a successful former professional adviser who used digital media to grow his business for more than 15 years.  Baz is the visionary behind AdviserEdge 2013, the World’s First Social Advice Summit being held in February 2013 on the Gold Coast.  All three Advisers quoted above and many other innovative industry leadings will be speaking and sharing their success in digital media at this ground breaking event. For more information, click here.

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