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Jump In! Get Your Feet Wet In Social Media-How To Do It

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Is your social media plan a simple act of dipping your toes in the water? If so, you should be prepared for the consequences of premeditated drowning by your competition. NOW is the time to jump in and get your feet wet. Social media is a critical business tool which is no longer considered a stand-alone marketing option; you must streamline it into your overall marketing strategy. If you haven’t read our article, Ready To Jump On The Social Media Bandwagon , review it now for simple and basic steps to get your toes wet. Today’s blog guides you further with a blueprint to incorporate social media into your overall marketing plan.

Financial advisors are expecting and planning for social media to play a meaningful role in 2013. Research conducted by LinkedIn partnered with FTI Consulting  reports seven in ten financial advisors are using social networks for business. Adoption rates will continue to grow as 2013 unfolds representing an 80% increase year-over-year. Advisors face unique compliance challenges unlike other professions, however, the good news is advisors recognize ways to overcome these obstacles.

According to Forrester Research, two-thirds of U.S. online adults with an investment account now have social network profi­les. Presented with the adoption rates of clients and prospective clients utilizing social media, advisors are facing their fears head on by linking social media strategies to their overall business and marketing plans.

7 Steps To Create Your Social Media Plan

1.  Establish Your Foundation You know I preach “always begin with the end in mind”. The same holds true in a social media plan. Creating a social media plan requires a solid foundation and a vital first step. Many firms engage in social media but do not have a structure in place to support their efforts.   Identify your goals and objectives while ensuring they link to your overall firm goals. Keep your objectives SMART! (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic/Relevant and Timely). Read our blog, The Gold Rush To Social Media-How To Track Your Success, to gain insight on developing a secure social media foundation.

2. Identify Social Media Channels Best For Your FirmFind out what networks your clients and prospective clients are engaging. A simple start, and the most common, is to incorporate LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

3. Create A Social Media CalendarThis goes beyond scheduling your own social media content. Schedule time to engage in conversation. Avoiding engagement in online conversation is the biggest reason for social media failure.  Tip: use social media streamlining to simplify your social media efforts. Hootsuite, SocialOomph and TweetDeck give you the ability to schedule and simultaneously post to social media channels.

4. Create ContentSchedule time for content creation. One of the best ways to organize your content is to create a library of topics relevant to your industry. Research and save documents in your library to compile information related to your chosen topics. If your firm has adopted blogging, which I highly recommend, use a blogging template.

5. Identify Contacts Make connections by following relevant conversations. By interacting, connections will happen naturally. Tip: create a list of centers of influence you would like to connect with along with a plan for introduction. Share their content through re-tweets and shares.

6. Research Competition – Schedule time to stalk your competition. Find out what they are doing, what they are talking about and how they are engaging with others. Read their posts, tweets and blogs. In this case, advisors need to keep up with the Joneses.

7. Track and Measure Results There are many ways and tools available to track and measure your social media efforts. To get started, refer to your goals and objectives you established in step one. Identify the increase in followers, engagement level, connections and leads you have made. Watch for our follow up in another blog with more information  for you to use in tracking and measuring your social media results.

Don’t become overwhelmed with social media. Have fun with it, follow these steps and reap the benefits.

Question: What do you think about social media?  What challenges or success have you experienced in social media? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

• Email us at info@ironstonehq.com
• Call our office at 800-917-8020
• Connect with us:

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The Gold Rush To Social Media- How To Track Your Success

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Social Media is still baffling business owners as well as the question, “Is it worth it?” and “How will I know?”  An eConsultancy survey of 1,000 companies found 41% of respondents had no idea of social media’s financial impact. Despite the hearty rush for firms to jump on the social media bandwagon, social media represents only a fraction of most marketing budgets, if any at all. Once firms are using social media, many do not have a structure in place to track results.

“Social media success comes to those that link their social media choices to the firms overall business goals,” as stated by Susan Etlinger. Etlinger represents her findings with 60 social media marketers to understand how businesses measure social media through research completed for the Altimeter Group.

Etlinger goes on to say, “48% of social strategists indicate their primary focus is to develop ROI measurements.”  By focusing only on ROI, many pieces to the puzzle are missing, as ROI is just one metric in social media toolkits. Her study further reveals, despite advances in integrating social media into business, the majority of companies surveyed do not have a standard framework in place to measure its value. This was found to be true of businesses scratching the surface and more than half of the companies fully engaged in social media.

Before Choosing Tools-Establish a Foundation                               

Before a firm is ready to think about analytical tools, a foundation must be established. Entliger sites four steps to follow prior to selecting measurement tools:

Align social media strategy with business objectives: Determine what you want to accomplish.

Determine what success means to you and how you will measure it: Identify benchmarks to measure – such as brand awareness, lead generation, educational resource access, etc.

Evaluate your firm’s readiness to measure social mediaThis step is the most critical and most overlooked in social media tracking. Firms lack sufficiently trained staff for social media measurement and delegate it to over committed and under-prepared employees. 

Choose tools to compliment your overall strategyOnce you have identified what you want to accomplish, how you will measure success and what resources are available, you are ready for tool selection. Keep in mind, there is no one single-best tool for every objective and tools available are changing quickly.

Once you have addressed each of these steps, you are ready to move on to an organizational plan for social media.

Outline Team Roles and Responsibilities

Jeremiah Owyang has written extensively about how companies should organize for social media. I have included some of his findings here.

Identify your social media measurement team. This can consist of a group of team members working collaboratively or be the responsibility of one individual. Regardless of the anatomy of your measurement team, you will need to address the following components and identify solutions for each.

  1. What resources and skills are available within your firm?
  2. What resources and skills are not available within your firm?
  3. Who will design and implement your social media strategy and process?
  4. Who will be responsible for tool selection?
  5. Who will design and implement your tool selection strategy and process?
  6. What education and training will be required?
  7. How will the social media measurement team collaborate with other team members?

A good place to start with each of the above questions is to identify your current situation and identify where you would like to be in the future.

In our upcoming blog, One Size Doesn’t Fit All In Social Media Tracking Methods, we will identify resources to aide you in tool selection.

Question:    Is your firm or organization fully engaged in social media? How do you measure your success?  Leave us a comment by clicking here!

• Email us at info@ironstonehq.com
• Call our office at 800-917-8020
• Connect with us: