7. Paying too much attention to the wrong thing. When it comes to online marketing, there are many “vanity” metrics that do not help much. If a goal is to drive sales, does it matter that a social media post received a lot of “likes” or that the page has a lot of “followers”?

While likes and followers are nice, it would be better to monitor direct traffic to a website, contact-info captures, lead funnel progress and actual conversions to new business.

Posting a picture of a super cute puppy and asking, “What would be his best name?” might get all kinds of likes, comments and maybe even shares, but will it help drive new business?

The takeaway: Measure that posts get engagement on social networks, but make sure that they are leading to positive results that are meaningful.

8. Taking the foot off the gas. Creating a steady stream of content to be successful online takes time and resources. It needs to be a focus, or too often it falls by the wayside.

To avoid burnout, celebrate the social media wins, recognize the contributors, rotate the responsibilities and add additional resources like a consultant, agency or even interns.

Another idea is to leverage other experts. Who else serves the same target market? Interview other thought leaders and strategic alliances. Then encourage them to share the content that gets posted. In some cases, they might fit in the “influencers” category and have way more success in the social media arena than an advisor.

To avoid writer’s block, get content ideas from the top target markets. Build personas for the key niche, maybe starting with the typical client and then add details to that profile. Know what this type of prospect likes, dislikes, needs and more. To get motivated to create content, focus on helping the main audience the best one can. Then the ideas will flow naturally.

Also, in a relationship business, advisors should show their personal side more. Jeff Bradanini, financial advisor at Janney Montgomery Scott, is a good example of this. To help raise money for a good cause, Bradanini is participating in an Annual Dancing Under the Stars event this March. Not only will he be supporting the Ronald McDonald House, but he will get a lot of positive publicity that he can push out to the social networks he uses.

“It is important to maintain consistency when posting on social media,” said Bradanini. Here at Janney, we develop a content calendar and schedule our posts to be published in advance. Alongside this, sharing custom content is paramount to implementing successful campaigns with increased engagement. Financial advisors should add a personal touch to some of their posts to differentiate themselves from others.”

See this example of a great post on Facebook from Jeff that showed his family, a passion (golf) and charitable support. These are all things that can make a great first impression for a prospect.

9. Being perfect. The more an advisory team tries to be prefect, the less gets done, and what does get done takes at least twice as long to get completed. This advice is not for an advisor to blast out garbage. Instead, it means to be ok with learning from mistakes. Marketing can be a bit of a “trial and error” process. Advisors just need to avoid damaging a company brand or getting in compliance trouble.

As a whole, most will agree, the financial services industry is not the most creative industry, so advisors need to experiment a little. They need to see what works and what does not work. They need to learn and get better at social media. If they try to be perfect, they will never get out of the gate, while the competition is already off to the races.

“We’ve all heard the phrase ‘paralysis by analysis,’” said Ben Lewis, chief communications officer of the Financial Planning Association. “When it comes to social media, we can sometimes overthink what we want to say or share, leading to doing nothing at all. You truly learn by doing. Whether that’s social media, public relations, or anything else to get your voice and name out there. The more you do, the more you’ll learn what works, and what doesn’t, which informs future outreach.”

10. Avoiding videos. It is scary how many advisors are not leveraging videos in their marketing. The vast majority of people watch videos, but the vast majority of advisors do not have a YouTube channel… or if they do, it is not worth bragging about.

When creating videos, advisors need to evolve some communications to perform well with the short-attention-span society we live in today. Remember, prospects probably have a shorter attention span than existing clients.

For the advisors that wants to take advantage of multimedia communications, experiment with YouTube Shorts, rolled out globally in June 2021. As it is relatively new, there is still potential to be somewhat a trail blazer, at least in the financial services industry. Be prepared to talk to “an empty room” for a while, but the audience will build over time, if an advisor becomes a serious content creator.

 Know that videos of advisors are the fastest way to build an online relationship with a prospect. They will feel like they are getting to know the person they are watching on the screen, even though it is a one-way communication.

11. Ignoring the trends. We do not have crystal balls, so it is hard to know what trend will be the best to jump on 12 months from now, so advisors must pay attention to what is taking place throughout the year. To do this, ask questions like:

• What are clients and prospects doing online and why? What has changed? What tools, sites, apps and platforms do they use?

• Are Americans going to still be addicted to their phones?

• Will short-form videos like TikTok and Instagram Reels continue to be super popular?

• What will be the top social network to use a year from now for all target audiences?

• What is the competition up to?

• Will AI (artificial intelligence) be able to help in ways other than creating the first draft of content?

• What are one’s key performance indicators and what trend is going to help drive the results for those KPIs?

Hopefully this article helps advisors improve their online success!

Mike Byrnes is a national speaker and owner of Byrnes Consulting, LLC. His firm provides consulting services to help advisors become even more successful. Need help with business planning, marketing strategy, business development, client service and management effectiveness? Read more at ByrnesConsulting.com and follow @ByrnesConsultin.

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