Lately, we’ve been spotlighting advisors who are having great success with social media. James Maendel, the president of Maendel Wealth Management Group in Farmington Hills, Mich., is an ardent enthusiast of social media, and with over 2,000 followers on Facebook, he is doing a lot right. So, we asked him some pertinent questions and he shared some great insights.

How did you get started on social media and what is your main focus?

I started interacting on social media a year and a half ago. Here is my general approach:  I keep my website focused on my practice, use Twitter for the day-to-day news and market information, and use Facebook for a wider reach and highlights from local news, such as teens who make a business and find success, or anything people would be interested in.

To begin with, I looked up all the local sites that my clients and I are associated with and left comments there. I also connected with any groups from the community or groups that are affiliated with people I am connected to. I would leave a personal comment, something like this, "Enjoyed dropping in from Maendel Wealth Management. I enjoy your Facebook page." Doing this would lead other people back to my business Facebook page to follow and reciprocate a comment. The best thing to do is just get involved and start a conversation!

How did you find time to fit this in with your busy schedule?

A lot of days I'll get up at 6 a.m. and spend 20 minutes on my social sites. Because we have chosen a professional content provider (FMG Social) we have automatic posts that come a few times a week with serious, industry-related content, and then I take the time every few days to do something fun. I will do a sports update or post a picture from an event I attended. For me, social media is part of a total strategy.  In just five years it has become mandatory - like a phone book listing - you have to have a social presence. It doesn't matter if it is working for you or not, you really have to do it. So I realized it must be more than a boiler plate, and that it should be a very dynamic interaction. This has now become a competitive advantage for me.

Do you feel that automated posts are effective? What other marketing choices have you made that have been successful?

Because of automated posts, I am able to drive people back to my website. This was the one thing I was missing with the other companies I had used as marketing material providers. Once visitors are on my sites I never have the problem that anyone thinks I'm inactive, because between automatic posts and my personal additions something is always happening.

In addition, I have my social profile icons on my website and I also link to social sites on my business cards. My broker dealer (LPL) has been very flexible with helping me push social media as far as I can; they have made it convenient for me to promote my sites. My social sites are also part of my email signature. In addition, I have included a disclosure in my email signature that I will never identify my clients by name on my social sites, and this has made clients feel comfortable following me and getting involved online.

A lot of advisors say a social strategy isn't important because the generation of clients they work with isn't online. What would you say to that advisor?

I do a lot of legacy planning trying to bring the families of the people I work with on board. It's interesting, I hear often from the kids of my clients that if you aren't online, you don't exist. Their opinions matter to me. This huge ball of money will go to the baby boomers' heirs- 20 trillion dollars. If the children of your current clients go to look you up and you are nowhere to be found, you are not even in the running for that legacy money. Knowing this money is transferring into their hands, you'd better be online. Very shortly it will be in the hands of people who are only online.

Craig Faulkner is CEO of FMG Suite, a company dedicated to creating digital marketing tools for today's financial professional. For more ways to make the most of your marketing efforts, check out his free online video course,The Art of Digital Marketing. You can also follow him@fmgsuite on Twitter.


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