Throughout the recent FPA Business Solutions conference there were hundreds of topics for advisors to make positive changes to improve their businesses.  One point made in many of the sessions was the opportunity to take advantage of social media to be more successful.

Here are four themes shared on the topic of social media:

1. See the trends.
Advisors at the conference were regularly reminded that Facebook is the number one site in the United States.  What might be more interesting is how the future of the industry will be shaped by social media.

Michael O'Keefe, managing director at Cisco, shared some thought-provoking statistics on why the communication landscape is quickly changing:
    Advisors looking to sell their businesses will have more value if they have younger clients (as the buyer can potentially keep them longer.)
    By 2020, Gen Y will represent 37% of all consumers vs. 29% for the baby boomers.
    The Gen Y will be the best researchers in our history. That is because kids these days go on the Internet to search things starting at the 7 or 8 years old.
    A new user joins LinkedIn every second-340,000 new users a day.
    There are companies looking at allowing a piece of paper to have a connection to the Internet.
    22% of phones are smart phones and tablets. This will jump in the next "turn" to almost 50%. (A turn is the cycle when providers allow their customers to get new phones.)
    25% of clients were dissatisfied with the lack of contact from advisors.
    By 2014, 90% of Internet traffic will be video.  
    HD video conferencing will increase by 180 times in the next 3 years.
"Cisco is betting the farm on this. There will be a need to have ultra-fast routing and graphics processing," he said

O'Keefe believes that the "cloud changes everything."  He gave a very simple explanation of what the term means:  It is like the Internet with more stuff in it. First we went on the computer into the Internet to get information.  Now the cloud allows us to do two more things, processing and storage, so those things do not have to be on your computer.

"The game is changing,"  O'Keefe said. "How do you build trust?" and recommended, "Get in front of clients more."  He went on to show how big banks will be working to get in the advisor space using client portals and video conferencing to provide service to clients.

2. Use videos.
Along with video conferencing, O'Keefe said sharing videos is another good way to service your clients.  Just imagine one conversation that needs to happen 50 or 100 times.  If a video can easily be produced and distributed, it can save advisors a lot of time in getting their message to clients.

Videos also help with prospecting.  Andy Gluck, CEO of Advisor Products Inc., said "YouTube is really a great resource for advisors."  He noted that it has become one of the biggest search engines on the Internet.  YouTube, along with other video sharing sites, are going to help advisors be found.

"The simple truth is that many of you are not writers," Gluck said. "Get a video cam for a hundred bucks.  You might need $500 for the lighting.  You can then start your videos.  The camera doesn't lie."  He mentioned that he has seen advisors successfully speak about their practices, as it is easy to hear their sincerity when they talk about being a financial advisor."

Marie Swift, president and CEO of Impact Communications, agreed by saying, "Have multimedia information on your Web site. Videos allow people to get know you before talking to you."  She went on to advise, "Talk in the client center voice."

3. Share information.

Gerd Leonhard, media futurist and CEO at The Futures Agency, pointed out that it will be the advisors role to save their clients from information overload and filter the best information to them.  [Read the article "Advisor And Publisher" to learn more about what he said.]

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