A key to a successful social media strategy is to have your own content. You can only go so far using content from others. To be truly successful online, advisors need to demonstrate their own expertise.

This point was reinforced at the Boston Content Marketing and Communications Leadership Forum hosted by PR Newswire, in cooperation with the Business Development Institute.

Every Department Plays A Role
Jennifer Dowd, marketing manager in the global retail marketing department at MFS Investment Management, said that no single unit on her team owns social media. The MFS social media team is made up of compliance, legal, PR, electronic communications, Web site management, internal communications and market research.  

It is important to know social media is a team effort, as all those involved have influence and input, she said. Plus, teammates should always be listening, identifying what is being said about the firm, and also looking for opportunities to develop fresh content to service social media followers.  For example, MFS has one of its thought leaders write a blog, usually two times a week, often based on comments from readers.

With any marketing strategy, sometimes there is a bit of trial and error, Dowd said, adding, "Always be critiquing." 

Consider your audience.  What are people talking about?  What is spiking?"

She stressed that listening is very important and that content should be frequently tested to see what works and what does not work. "Delivering content in the way your consumers want to receive it is important," she said.

Why Great Content Helps
"Great content is going to get engagement with your followers and audience," said Corinne Kovalsky, director of digital and social media in the corporate affairs and communications department at Raytheon Company.  She added that once the engagement gets underway, you achieve amplification.  That helps with her firm, as they are looking for social media to deliver "reputational lift."

To be more successful at this, she tries to think like a news organization. That's why she hired a brand journalist. This person is different from a public relations person because the goal is not to get the company's name higher in the story, but instead to leave a positive impression about the company. To be successful at this, a big organization, like Raytheon, needs bureau chiefs to help develop content, she said.

Michael Morrison, senior public affairs and social media specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital, noted that they also run their content like a news organization. He said that social media plays a key role in their crisis management communications. He noted a Web site can go down in an emergency, but added, "It is hard to crash Twitter or Facebook."