Advisors that have already begun to use social media now need advice, because they still struggle with how to use the online tools effectively.
David Armstrong, a managing director at Monument Wealth Management, affiliated with LPL Financial, spoke at this year's Focus12 conference, LPL's national conference in San Diego, Calif.
In a one-on-one interview after his presentation, Armstrong admitted he might not be an expert, but he sees that there are few advisors like him or Jamie Cox that are embracing it the way they do. Armstrong is a regular speaker on the topic, and has some practical knowledge to share from his experiences of what is helping his business.
Armstrong said he is hearing other advisors say, "I get it -- I need a Facebook account, but now what?" They want to know how he is adding processes. He admits he could spend eight hours a day using social media, but generally only spends eight minutes. Technology can help make that possible.
He likes the new Facebook feature for scheduling posts. He explained if he wants some videos to show up more than once, he will schedule them to repeat 45 days later, cutting and pasting the content. That way, any new fans will get a chance to see what he has already posted, as he doubts many folks will go back through the timeline of his company's page. Armstrong calls this activity "remerchandising our content."
Facebook Promoted Posts
Armstrong also likes the new function promoting posts. He set a budget of $40 a month -- about $10 a week. That equates to two posts for $5 or one post for $10. Because of this tactic, Armstrong said, "The visits to my Web site are up a lot." He extrapolated that the promoting feature allows more people to see his things that were not hitting their streams before. He said of this tactic, "It is a good way to get a boost."
A Strength Of Facebook
"Have a personality on your Facebook page," advised Armstrong. "Try to identify a personality of the firm. What are the interests of the partners? What are the things that make us people? Convey the personality through the pictures, because more people engage with pictures than posts. People are generally curious with other people's lives."
"If people don't take their [Twitter] page seriously, people won't take them seriously," said Armstrong. He joked with attendees that if their profile picture is an egg, they have issues. If they don't know what the egg reference is all about, they have even bigger problems, which drew laughs from the crowd. (Note for beginners: The egg is the default picture Twitter gives new accounts until they upload their own.)
Armstrong cautioned that those starting out with Twitter should not shout out, "Man the phones, I am about to send out my first tweet." It takes time, but the activity builds up a digital resource of information about a person or a firm.
Armstrong recommended using HootSuite to schedule tweets and posts on other social networks, showing attendees a screenshot of the dashboard it provides.
Armstrong uses LinkedIn as more of a networking tool than the other social networks. For him it is about personal branding. "It is an industry thought leader tool," he said. He encouraged attendees to set up their profiles properly and do little things like, rather than have them list "company Web site," change it to something more descriptive.
Through LinkedIn groups, Armstrong likes to get to know other thought leaders and identify them as possible resources. He said he has met folks in person because this has been the case.
He gave an example of how he can network to get a meeting with a prospect. He had been striking out getting a meeting with an owner of a local sports theme, but through LinkedIn saw that the owner knew a personal friend. This drastically improved his chance of getting the meeting.
A Social Media Must-Have
One of my favorite quotes that Armstrong had previously told me is, "Opinion is the currency of social media." When asked about it, Armstrong said, "You can have the greatest online marketing strategy in the world, but if you don't have anything to say, then nobody is going to listen to you -- even if you have the loudest voice."?
He said that to be successful, one cannot just pass along others' articles. That is not what makes a thought-provoking leader.
With original content, digital credibility can be created, and it is searchable. Armstrong said, "That is important when people are evaluating your firm."
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 ByrnesConsulting.com and follow @ByrnesConsultin.