GET­TING SO­CIAL Your chal­lenge is to post com­pelling con­tent on so­cial me­dia.

As users of Face­book, Twit­ter and LinkedIn be­come more dis­crim­i­nat­ing, the onus is on you to cu­rate and cre­ate con­tent that is com­pelling — and not “lazy”

Investment Executive - - FRONT PAGE - BY DONALEE MOULTON

as u.s. pres­i­dent don­ald trump has demon­strated, we now live in a world in which so­cial me­dia plays an im­por­tant role. You should be com­fort­able op­er­at­ing in the dig­i­tal world, and that means un­der­stand­ing how ef­fec­tive your so­cial me­dia ef­forts are and how the so­cial net­work­ing land­scape is chang­ing.

Per­haps the big­gest shift among so­cial me­dia users to­day is in their at­ti­tudes. The 22.7 mil­lion users of so­cial me­dia plat­forms in Canada are be­com­ing less will­ing to ac­cept mes­sages that are posted sim­ply for the sake of post­ing some­thing. Those posts are what Hal­i­fax-based so­cial me­dia ex­pert Anita Kirk­bride calls “lazy con­tent.”

Face­book is lead­ing the charge against lazy con­tent. The so­cial me­dia gi­ant has in­di­cated very clearly that con­tent that gets peo­ple talk­ing to each other will be pri­or­i­tized be­cause, the com­pany con­tends, that ben­e­fits ev­ery­one.

For you as a fi­nan­cial ad­vi­sor, that may mean a shift in both how and what you post.

“Ad­vi­sors need to cu­rate and cre­ate con­tent that not only speaks to their ideal clients, but en­cour­ages those clients to speak back,” says Kirk­bride, owner of Twirp Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Inc. “Spark­ing a twoway or three-way con­ver­sa­tion will not only help you build re­la­tion­ships with your au­di­ence, it also will help your con­tent to be seen by more peo­ple.”

De­vel­op­ing con­tent that sparks con­ver­sa­tion re­quires anal­y­sis and in­sight. Saman­tha Rus­sell, chief mar­ket­ing and busi­ness-devel­op­ment of­fi­cer with Twenty Over Ten, a web­site devel­op­ment com­pany for fi­nan­cial ad­vi­sors based in Penn­syl­va­nia, rec­om­mends you be­gin with a strat­egy that is SMART: spe­cific, mea­sur­able, at­tain­able, re­al­is­tic and time-bound.

The first step: zero in on what you want to ac­com­plish with your so­cial me­dia pres­ence. Is the goal to help ex­ist­ing clients learn more about the ser­vices you pro­vide? Is it to build stronger con­nec­tions with col­leagues and build name recog­ni­tion?

“Each goal you set is go­ing to carry with it a dif­fer­ent set of tasks and strate­gies,” Rus­sell says. “But the more spe­cific you are, the more eas­ily you will be able to track your progress and suc­cess over­all.”

A good dol­lop of real­ism also is essen­tial, she notes: “Don’t be too am­bi­tious with your time. Fo­cus on one or two so­cial me­dia net­works that are go­ing to serve your fi­nan­cial ad­vi­sory busi­ness well.”

Then, she adds, cre­ate that orig­i­nal con­tent users crave.

Once you have posted con­tent that aligns with your goals, the next step is to mea­sure the suc­cess of your so­cial me­dia ac­tiv­i­ties. An­a­lyt­ics tools can help de­ter­mine what res­onates with read­ers — and what doesn’t. Google An­a­lyt­ics may be the best-known re­source. It al­lows you to track re­fer­ral traf­fic com­ing to your web­site from so­cial net­work­ing chan­nels, so you can see which chan­nels are re­spon­si­ble for the largest num­ber of ses­sions on your web­site. From there, you even can see which spe­cific links were clicked on on your so­cial net­works, help­ing you de­ter­mine, for ex­am­ple, which blog posts are gen­er­at­ing the great­est in­ter­est.

De­spite the ad­van­tages of­fered by Google An­a­lyt­ics, that tool is un­der­used and mis­un­der­stood, says Kirk­bride: “Adding a sim­ple piece of code to your web­site helps you fig­ure out where your traf­fic is com­ing from, how long vis­i­tors stay, what they like and what type of tech­nol­ogy they are us­ing. Some busi­nesses miss out on re­ally valu­able in­for­ma­tion be­cause they haven’t taken the time to get [that code] in­stalled and learn how to an­a­lyze the data.”

Na­tive an­a­lyt­ics tools that are found on the ma­jor so­cial me­dia net­works, such as Twit­ter, Face­book and LinkedIn, have be­come more ro­bust i n the past year, Rus­sell says. These tools en­able you to track page vis­its, en­gage­ment rates, re­ac­tions to posts and growth in fol­low­ers. You also can un­cover de­mo­graphic in­for­ma­tion about your au­di­ence, such as house­hold in­come, in­ter­ests and life­style. Al­though an­a­lyt­ics tools of­fer­ing ba­sic data on the Big Three net­works are free, other plat­forms may charge a fee, de­pend­ing on the depth of in­for­ma­tion re­quested.

As with any com­mu­ni­ca­tions pro­gram, your so­cial me­dia us­age must com­ply with your firm’s and your dealer plat­form’s rules.

“The reg­u­la­tions still are evolv­ing and catch­ing up with ad­vances in so­cial me­dia,” says Mar­shall Beyer, se­nior di­rec­tor of cur­ricu­lum devel­op­ment with the Cana­dian Se­cu­ri­ties In­sti­tute in Toronto. “The reg­u­la­tions still fo­cus on the na­ture of var­i­ous com­mu­ni­ca­tion and not the means by which they are sent.”

Some firms have gone so far as to pro­hibit their ad­vi­sors from us­ing so­cial me­dia be­cause com­pli­ance is too com­pli­cated and oner­ous. One chal­lenge of re­main­ing com­pli­ant in so­cial me­dia is ad­her­ing to record-keep­ing re­quire­ments. Keep­ing records of pa­per cor­re­spon­dence — or email — is easy. But re­call­ing so­cial me­dia posts can be more dif­fi­cult.

Al­ways check with your com­pli­ance depart­ment when in doubt about any mes­sage you plan to post.

An­a­lyt­ics tools can help de­ter­mine what res­onates with your au­di­ence

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.