Social media has the potential to be an effective business-building tool. The key is using it to help build relationships.

By focusing your social media strategy on issues that are of personal interest to your clients, you can tap into that potential, and use it to expand your business, says Geoff Evans, founder of the Social Media Coach and the Animated Advisor in London, Ont.

But many financial advisors are missing out on the ability of social media platforms — such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter — to help them build relationships because they are not using social media as effectively as they could.

Here are the three common mistakes advisors make on social media:

1. Using it solely as an information-sharing-tool
Many advisors use their social media platforms to share links to news and information about the industry – and that alone. Often, these are links to articles about investments or insurance, without any additional input or commentary from the advisor.

People aren't interested in seeing these links on their feeds. "They don't want to keep hearing about insurance and investments every day," Evans says.

Your clients who follow you on social media are more likely to be interested in building a relationship with you, and would rather hear about what you and your team have been doing in the community.

"People love to hear about the human being behind the business," Evans says.   

2. Relying on third-party tools for posts
Software providers offer third-party systems that provide advisors with compliance-approved posts for social media use. That kind of automation is simple to use and it reduces the risk of running afoul of compliance.

But because these services offer a vast library of content, Evans says, you might become too reliant on them and neglect to post your own content. 

Why not use social media to build relationships with your audience by focusing on your personal stories, Evans says. He recommends that 70% to 75% of your social media content should be on the personal side.

"Talk about your community work and being  human, or something funny that happened to you on your way to work," he says.

3. Using it only for marketing
Some advisors regard social media as a marketing tool, ignoring its other potential, Evans says.

Social media can be invaluable to advisors as a networking or prospecting tool, he adds, because its main function its to help people build relationships online.

Advisors who view social media strictly as a marketing device assume it is something they need to spend a lot of time on — almost like a second full-time job. But if you focus on the networking potential of social media, you would need to take a only few minutes out of your day to find connections and use those to get introductions.

"That could be the entirety of your social media strategy," Evans says.

Read: Take flight with Twitter

 

Photo copyright: cienpies/123RF