FIVE STEPS TO CREATING SOCIAL MEDIA GROOPS
Here are five things you need to think about as you get ready for that party:
1. Choose a theme. Before creating a group, take time to think about your specialization and who your target audience is. For example, if your business is aimed at people who invest in fixed-income securities, you might want to create a group that shares and discusses anything topical to market trends, news, and investment ideas around that subject.
It will help if you search online to determine whether similar groups already exist – if they do, think about how your group can differentiate itself from the other, preferably in ways that are superior.
2. Decorate your venue. The mission of creating a group is to build relationships and to let people know about you. If you're building a special place on your website for your group, one that's open only to them, think about the features that they would find valuable.
Upload a clear image that is representative of what your group is about. It could be your company's logo or a picture that fits the topic. Structure the site so it features real-time information about topical investment products, and perhaps links to news sites that follow the subject. If you have educational videos or presentations, don't hesitate to embed them here as well.
This group site in many ways resembles a resume – if you want to attract more people, you need to show knowledge and insight related to your specialization.
3. Create a group blog. Think of this as the cocktail party chatter. You can post your thoughts about news and trends around the theme of the group, and invite its members to share their own thoughts or questions. Keep your eye on the conversation, or employ a third party to manage the oversight of the discussion to ensure compliance. See Figure 29.2.
When news comes up that's related to your group, seize this opportunity to start a conversation about it. You can ask your members to share their
FIGURE 29.2 Write Articles
thoughts on this, or share your own ideas and see how they respond. This is the best way to listen to your members. Listening is an important step that can be ignored by social media marketers. It can help you get a better idea about your clients' minds and how a market is trending.
Writing a quality blog can demonstrate your credibility, build your online influence, and finally attract clients to your business. As a financial professional, you usually have limited time in your day. Here are two important things to remember about blogging:
1. Leverage your content. You can do this by sharing your content on other social media channels and adding tags or keywords in the article to help search engines find what you write online.
2. Keep a long-term focus. As counterintuitive as it sounds, you don't write blogs to get clients. Blogging is part of a long-term strategy for business growth and branding. Concentrate on providing well-informed content with educational uses. Do this well, and the investors will follow.
■ Invite people to participate. Now it is time to invite folks to the party. Where are your audiences? You might already have a list of contacts, or you can find them in other social media channels or online forums.
■ Build a library. Today's investors are tech savvy and know how to research what they want to know before they seek advice from advisors. Consider building an online library at your site of content such as research reports, white papers, PowerPoint presentations, and videos.
-  See Matthew Halloran, “Stop Guessing, Ask What Clients Want,” Financial Planning, July 9, 2013, financial-planning.com/blogs/stop-guessing-ask-what-clients-want-2685709-1.html.