As a communications specialist who has worked with financial advisors for years, I've seen many advisors successfully use social media to win the attention of the media.
Advisors Carolyn McClanahan and David Edwards, who is a client of my firm, both have smart social strategies that have led to media placements and increased visibility online. Here's a look at what they've done.
EXPERTISE & PASSION
McClanahan wasn’t hoping to get a call from the New York Times when she posted that first critical tweet. And she never dreamed of being on MSNBC's “Hard Ball” with Chris Matthews or receiving an invitation to become a regular contributor to Forbes.com.
So was it luck and good karma that lead to all this media interest? No. It was a smart financial planner with a passion for a particular topic who seized the opportunity to share her thoughts with her followers on Twitter. One of those followers just happened to work at the New York Times, setting off the following events:
- November 2 - Initial topical tweet and photo: I sat next to Mitt Romneyon a flight for two hours, and he wouldn't talk to me on #hcr. Disheartening. pic.twitter.com/KwAaEV3z
- November 6 - Subsequent interview for a New York Times article: "An Aloof Romney in a Plane Encounter"
- November 8 - Appearance on an MSNBC television show: "My Trip With Mitt"
- November 16 - Established as Forbes blog contributor: The Quest for Simplicity
By creating a public presence consistent with her expertise and passions, McClanahan positioned herself for media attention.
The Florida-based CFP, who was once a physician but now runs her own fee-only financial planning firm, considers herself an educator. In her Forbes contributor profile she says she is “grateful to have experienced money and medicine from many angles.” With a special interest in sharing knowledge gleaned from her role in the medical profession, she has spoken all over the country on the intersection of medicine and money.
One major topic McClanahan focuses on is insurability and how people can position themselves for less expensive and better life, long-term care, disability, and health insurance policies. Initially, she shared her ideas with a study group and they convinced her this important information needed to be shared with the profession as a whole. Her educational career in financial planning took off from there.
In early 2011, McClanahan began learning about social media and decided to expand her online presence. She attended a NAPFA workshop, read industry publications, talked with peers, consulted with a social media expert or two and leapt in with a passion to share what she knew – and to make a difference.
And she’s found many more opportunities to share her views and expert insights now with this fabulous “credibility platform” in place.
McClanahan isn't the only advisor to garner media attention.
Over the years, David Edwards, president of New York-based Heron Financial Group, has cultivated relationships with journalists leading to multiple media opportunities, like the Wall Street Journal interview he now leverages on his website and YouTube channel. This reposting is a critical part of creating more opportunities.
For Edwards, the interview is not the end of the media engagement. He further promotes these stories by repackaging and posting them on his own site. For a Bloomberg radio interview, he was smart to snap a couple photos (after asking permission of course) and to post the photos along with his own summary of the radio show conversation.
Edwards says his firm constantly generates valuable content in the form of market commentaries, radio and TV interviews, video-taped seminars and quotes in trade and business news outlets. As fast as that content is available on the web, it is reposted immediately on the firm's website and social media sites which include LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
He includes social media “connect” buttons on his posts which encourages connections and sharing. This leads to more online visibility and positions Edwards as an expert resource. In time, this virtuous cycle becomes self-perpetuating.
Another part of Edwards' strategy includes the news releases we help write. They are laced with keywords that appeal to both human beings who are searching for that type of content online and the “search engine spiders” that catalog articles and online content based on its relevancy. Relevancy is based on how fresh the content is, the keywords within the piece and how many quality inbound and outbound links there are within the piece.
These media placements and the increased visibility help his firm rank higher in Internet searches, Edwards says. This means third party validation which leads to more interviews and a reputation as a trusted source, which makes it easier for prospective clients to find and get to know the firm. This he says, has allowed his firm to double assets over the past two years.
It’s clear that both Edwards and McClanahan have social media strategies in place that help create newsworthy personas online. Now it's your turn.