The Cold Hard Facts:

  • A Pew Internet survey found that 65% of Internet users in the U.S. are using social networking sites.
  • Facebook has more than 950 million people using the service in a given month.
  • Twitter now has more than 500 million accounts, 141.8 million in the U.S. 172 million are active users.
  • On a typical day, 48% of online adults use social networking.
  • 55% of job searchers use LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter. 15% of job searchers have found a job through these sites.
  • 31% of U.S. consumers have made a purchase based on a Twitter recommendation.
  • 42% of Twitter users follow brands and 23% of retailers feature deals on Twitter.

Top social media sites:

  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • Tumblr

How to Get Engaged

  1. See the sites. Set up accounts and find out which social media sites interest you most.
  2. Find the time for social media. Start out by dedicating 20 minutes twice per day to social media consumption (i.e. reading). Read blogs, work on your LinkedIn profile, see what your friends are doing on Facebook, and read the news on Twitter.

If you’re a consumer, maybe you stop here. Many social media users are only there to read, listen, and learn, not to contribute. However, if you’re using social media for business and looking for a way to connect with your existing clients and find new ones, you need to go further.

  1. Plan. Know your social media goals and make sure your contributions are in line with those so you’re not all over the board with your content. You’re there to be a resource, so people need to know what specifically for.
  2. Curate or create. Once you know what you’re going to focus on, you need to find information to share. Curation is the process of sorting through the vast array of information on the web and presenting it to your followers in some sort of context and organized manner. Integrate this into your daily routine. Creation is just as it sounds… you’re originating the content, taking the picture, generating the Tweet, etc.

For financial professionals, doing either is a tremendous way to deliver value to clients. Investors today are inundated with an overwhelming amount of information about the markets and the economy.

Because the media sensationalizes so much of it and so many of the sources provide conflicting information, investors are looking for a voice of reason and someone they can trust. Who better to be this person than their financial advisor?

Advisors can help their clients cut through the hype so they can stay focused on their long-term goals and the purpose of their investments.

  1. Converse. Now that you’re engaged in social media, you need followers. A great way to gain traction is to converse. Conversations are happening through practically all social media channels. Join them because you are interested and have something meaningful to add, not because you’re pushing your agenda. Follow people in the industry who are sharing the most beneficial information and keep the conversation going. The more active you are with content and conversations, the more likely you will show up in searches or be seen by followers of those who have retweeted you or had a conversation with you.
  2. Promote. Advertise to your existing clients that you’re on social media sites. Make sure you communicate the value of what you’ll be posting and help them understand how and why they should follow you. They’ll be interested as long as they know you’ll be addressing topics that interest them and problems they have, along with clear solutions and ideas to tackle them.