Charities are a key to success for advisors as they develop social network strategies.
As a volunteer ESC of New England consultant, I recently was the sole presenter to a group of nonprofit leaders as part of a Champions in Action program hosted by Citizens Bank and New England Cable News. My topic was "Social Media Is Changing The Way The Game Is Played" and, while presenting, it hit me that there is a wonderful opportunity for advisors.
As society evolves, our world changes and new trends develop. We are now seeing the increasing growth of "citizen consumers." These are individuals who want to buy goods and services because an organization is giving back to make the world a better place.
Interesting facts around purchase decisions, according to the 2010 Cause Evolution Study from Cone:
83% of Americans say they wish brands would support causes.
41% have bought a product because it was associated with a cause.
While less than half of the U.S. population is buying something based on its association with a cause, that number has doubled in less than two decades. Clear evidence that there is a steady undercurrent in the way commerce is done today. Soon supporting a cause will not just be a way for a business to stand out, it will be a requirement to keep up with competitors.
The truth is that many organizations are already philanthropic. Advisors are no different. They give to multiple charities, from employees' personal accounts and sometimes from corporate accounts. While these donations make a difference, advisors have a real opportunity to combine volunteering with giving to make an even bigger and better difference.
Clients of Byrnes Consulting are encouraged to make supporting charities part of their brand and part of their core values. By doing so, an organization is likely to better align with high-net-worth individuals and families, as almost all of them give in some way or another.
Philanthropy allows advisors to provide not only additional services that will make clients never want to leave the professional relationship, but it also develops a warm-fuzzy connection that sometimes is so hard to develop with clients and especially prospects.
A Unique Marketing Opportunity
There is no doubt charities need support. With the current state of the economy, that might be more prevalent than ever before. The interesting thing is that when supporters are creative they can often make a larger impact. A simple example is if someone gives a large donation, but states that it is a match for every new donation given over a period of time. It typically motivates others to give and give more. This type of promotion can do even more good than just giving the money directly to the nonprofit.
Through working in the private sector and volunteering with nonprofit organizations, it is easy to see that there is one common thread: Both groups do not quite know how to maximize the potential that social media can deliver. The old saying "Two heads are better than one" can apply well here, as there is a huge cause-related marketing opportunity with clients and prospects caring more about these types of relationships. It can even be said, it is like a "Perfect Storm."
A Social Media Win-Win!
If a business and a charity can combine forces, they are likely to be more successful together than if they acted alone. Resources from the business side can help develop marketing campaigns that can leverage multiple marketing tactics, including social media.
Studies show that charity-related content is some of the most shared content on social networks. If a program is developed wisely, both parties involved will see more online engagement. For example, with Facebook that means more likes, comments and shares.
From a compliance standpoint, it is likely there are less hurdles to get over, as content, which can be in the form of text, pictures and videos, is likely not industry related.
Advisors should think strongly about what causes are important to them and their clients. Then they should be creative, building a cause-related marketing strategy and reach out to a charity that makes the most sense.
When the program takes shape, it will help advisors go beyond just making the rational connections with clients, which they are good at, and help them build emotional connections, an area where they sometimes fall short.
As always, support charities for the right reasons, but do not be afraid to get some goodwill out of good deeds. Creatively giving back can help set an organization apart, paving the way for even greater success.
Note: As always, check with your compliance department for its specific guidelines on what your organization will allow you to do with social networks. It is strongly recommended you hire an archiving service to capture all social media communications.
Mike Byrnes founded Byrnes Consulting to provide consulting services to help advisors become even more successful. His expertise is in business planning, marketing strategy, business development, client service and management effectiveness, along with several other areas. Read more at www.byrnesconsulting.com and follow @ByrnesConsultin.