In our last blog post, we highlighted the important reasons why advisors need to get going and get visible on social media channels. Most importantly, to ensure that the lifeblood of future growth - referrals - are coming in. According to Justin Barish, Digital Marketing and Network Development Specialist for Dynasty Financial Partners, “When your clients refer friends or contacts to you, those referrals first ‘Google’ your company or your name before they call you. If they don’t see your company come up on page one, they might think that your company isn’t successful and decide not to contact you. It means that you’re missing out on low-hanging fruit as well as those potential clients’ network of friends —a big lost opportunity.” As this message is starting to sink in with advisors who have been late to the social media game (a large segment, BTW), the next big question advisors have is, “how and where do I begin?” To help with this process, we sat down with Barish to get his top ideas in helping the 40 advisor teams affiliated with Dynasty start and maximize their use of social channels. Keys to success include developing a strategy so that you know whom you are targeting, along with dedicating resources to ensure you have consistent visibility and can measure, track and adapt your approach. First, Barish recommends that advisors create a presence across the popular channels, starting by creating company accounts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Google +. An account should include company logo, description, and website information so that prospects can clearly see the type of firm you are, who you serve and what you offer. Because social media is all about content publishing, advisors will need to set up a structured editorial calendar to provide a consistent presence and not a “one and done” approach, which will become dated very quickly and look dated if there is a lack of current content. This fact often discourages many advisors from getting started as online content often is something advisors are not familiar or skilled in developing. However, Barish points out that advisors often are skilled and efficient in developing content, they just aren’t aware of it. “Many firms have a specific focus in their business, such as behavioral investing, and have written articles in the past. This content can easily be re-purposed and published separately on social channels,” he says. Also, a good portion of content on these channels can be tied back to the social activities of firms, such as client events, employee luncheons, and other gatherings where photos and short descriptions can work well. The key to leveraging this content is to create an editorial calendar to provide consistency. Along these lines, using the monthly calendar to tie your posts to what is happening in that time of year can also be a good organizing principal. For example, the many holidays scattered throughout the year provide great content themes, such as back to school in the fall for college planning, end of year for retirement contributions planning and charitable giving, April for tax planning, etc. Next, Barish recommends that you match your content to similar life events that your clients care about and have financial planning implications, such as weddings, births, charity events, etc. Content publishing doesn’t have to be daunting either. Services and technology platforms can provide automation in publishing content online, many for as little as $10 per month. Of course there are compliance issues that come along with using social media; however, with recent guidance from both the SEC and FINRA, these are being managed successfully by firms. Basically, regulators consider social posts to be very similar to other communications with the public, so layering on a review, archival and having a documented process in place is important to stay compliant in a social world. As you are thinking through your approach, some additional resources to refer to include a recent Forbes article as well as an article in Advisor Perspectives: https://www.forbes.com/sites/joannabelbey/2017/01/03/financial-advisors-15-tips-to-use-social-media-compliantly/#48120bb175d1 https://www.advisorperspectives.com/articles/2016/09/19/11-reasons-advisors-need-a-social-media-presence But don’t delay – just think of the additional opportunities that social media will present!