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How to Build Your Social Media Strategy from the Ground Up

A social media strategy is so much more than posting a video on Instagram, sharing an image on Twitter and updating your profile on LinkedIn. Social media is a valuable digital marketing tool and social networks can help grow your business.

What is a social media strategy?

A social media strategy is the who, what, when, where and why of your digital marketing strategy. It’s your digital business plan.

WHO are you taking to?

WHAT do you want them to know?

WHEN do they need the content?

WHERE do you want them to go next?

WHY are they coming to you for advice?

Think of the other areas of your financial advisory business, do you just come to work everyday and fill the day by just working? Probably not. You work with purpose. You likely have a list of clients you want to call and you know why you’re contacting them. You know what you’re going to say before you dial and you know what you’re going to ask them to do next before you hang up. The exact same thing is true for your social media strategy.

Why do I need a LinkedIn profile?

One of the most common questions I get asked by financial advisors is why do I need to be on LinkedIn? The answer is simple, how could you not? If one of your current clients referred you to their colleague, what do you think that colleague is doing to do before they call you? They’re most likely going to look you up via Google or directly on LinkedIn.

Could you imagine how bad it would be for your business if the referral found nothing about you in their search. In the world of likes, stars, reviews and thumbs up, I’m sure we can all agree it would be very bad for your business if you had no online presence. To be honest, I can probably bet money the referral wouldn’t call you if they couldn’t find anything about you online.

And that’s exactly why your small business needs a social media strategy.

How to build a social media strategy for your small business

Define your audience

Who do you want to talk to? If you focus on retirement planning for pre-retirees or those who are recently retired, you probably don’t want to share information about paying off student debt or buying your first home. You want to focus your social media activity around topics that your target audience wants to see, be interested in reading and are searching for.

Once you know who your target audience is and what information they want to read, you can start creating your social media strategy. Define the types of content you want to share – and the formats i.e. images, blog posts, videos etc. Using a calendar or organization tool such as Excel can help you plan your social sharing across all social networks.

Find out where they are

There’s nothing worse for your social media strategy than trying to do it all and be everywhere. Trying to master all social networks just won’t happen and it’s very time consuming. To maximize your ROI from social media, the best strategy is to be where your clients are. After you define your target audience, find out where they are online. To be very general and to stereotype at some level:

  • Women are on Pinterest
  • Millennials are on Instagram
  • Busy people are on Twitter
  • Professionals are on LinkedIn
  • Everyone is on Facebook

I won’t even go into Snap Chat and Tik Tok – so please don’t ask.

Think about what you want to say

When creating your social media strategy think about what you want to say and why. Ask yourself what you want your audience to know and takeaway after reading your blog post or watching your video. Are you answering a common question for your target audience? Are you providing a solution to a common problem? Or are you providing news updates that directly affects your target audience? Whatever the reason is, always share content on your social networks with a purpose.

The social network of your choice will determine how you share content. At a very high level, here are some general guideline as to which type of content works best on each social network:

Pinterest = images with text

Instagram = videos and pictures

Twitter = headlines, memes

LinkedIn = news, tips, professional stories and company updates

Facebook = human-related, personable, relatable content

Tell them what to do next

This is commonly known as the call to action – and it’s the easy part of your social media strategy. You’ve already created the content in your area of expertise and your target audience has already found you. Now all you need to do is close the deal and tell them what they should do next.

The great thing about sharing content on social media is you can control the user behavior. This is also known as creating the customer journey. If a potential client found you because you’re sharing information about a topic they’re searching for, tell them what to do next i.e. read your blog, download a free eBook, watch your video, sign up for your email newsletter or contact you. Trust me, they’ll go wherever you send them – it’s human nature, we like to be guided.

Maybe you prompt readers to contact you because want to start a conversation, maybe you direct traffic to your website because you want them to learn more about the topic or maybe you direct them to another one of  your social media networks i.e. send them to your YouTube channel from your blog or vice versa. Redirecting to another social network with additional info is a good idea because it keeps potential clients on your digital properties and hopefully stops them from searching for additional information elsewhere.

There’s no shame in cross promoting your social networks and digital channels such as your website or blog because people want information and sometimes they want it in different formats. This is also common for website content and blog posts. That’s why you often see hyperlinks to other webpages in a blog post – because the writer wants you to stay on their digital properties.

Just in case you want to see the what to do next in real-life practice, scroll back up through this blog post and see where I prompted you to go. Here’s a hint: LinkedIn, website and blog.

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