For financial planners, social media is an important tool as they search for newer ways to generate leads, build personal relationships with clients and prospects, and grow a reputation as an influencer in financial services.  However, many are still hesitant to jump aboard the social media bandwagon due to compliance regulations and lack of knowledge on how to begin.

In that regard, I’m often asked about the latest developments in this fast-moving field, such as  “what is this new thing called Pinterest” and more.  So, since that bandwagon is here to stay, here are four key takeaways for financial planners looking to find social media success while remaining compliant.

Don’t Be Overwhelmed

Facebook, LinkedIn, Google , Twitter!  Sure ,there are plenty of social media platforms out there to choose from.  However, don’t feel like you have to use them all.  Take the time to step back and consider your social media goals, as well as who your target audience is.  Do you want to connect with other advisors?  Try LinkedIn.  Or, do you want to reach out to customers and prospects?  Maybe Facebook is for you.  Want to use more than one platform?  Take advantage of tools such as Hootsuite, that are very affordable and a huge time saver when it comes to managing your accounts.  Whatever you choose, remember three things: listen, engage and share.

Patience is a Virtue

Don’t be frustrated if your Twitter following or Facebook fan base isn’t growing overnight.  Building a strong fan base takes time, dedication, and patience.  Things to remember: go for quality, not quantity.  Make sure you are posting strong, useful, and genuine content that your fans and followers will find relevant.  Be an active social media participant, posting articles that share your business’ message, sharing new blog posts, and responding to inquiries.  The more you are a visible and productive member of the social media community, the more followers you’ll attract.

Be Creative

Newsfeeds can be crowded and busy.  Make your posts or tweets stand out.  At the TD Ameritrade 2012 National Conference, advisors were able to record a short video courtesy of Blind Society.  Videos, audio, and podcasts are fantastic ways to grab followers’ attention.  We are drawn to visuals, so be creative in what you post.  Or, take advantage of new social media platforms like Pinterest and consider yourselves ahead of the game. 

Have a Strategy and Archive

For advisors, being compliant is the number one priority when being on social media.  Make sure your firm has a social media policy established and everyone understands any governance and ethics rules.  Also, for those posting online, take the time to truly understand the culture of your business and the vibe you want to have online.  And of course, have an archiving solution like Arkovi. Think of archiving as your social media safety net.

By taking those four simple steps, jumping on the social media bandwagon will be relatively easy….and once you’re on it. you’ll definitely enjoy the ride.

Caitlin Zucal is Marketing Coordinator for RegEd and manages the company’s social media presence. A graduate of The Ohio State University, Caitlin joined RegEd in 2012 after the company’s acquisition of Arkovi Social Media Archiving. She is an admitted serial Facebook and Pinterest contributor and can be found on Twitter at @Caitlin_Zucal.

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