If one of your goals for the New Year is to grow your advisory business, consider including your presence on social media as part of your growth plan. Online content is a great way to establish your brand and advance your business. It requires some planning and commitment, but once you get into a new routine of generating content, it will help you form deeper connections with existing clients and build awareness and trust with prospects. Here’s how to start developing your own social media content strategy.
Why Online Content Is So Important
We live in a digital age where most people are educating themselves online long before they pick up the phone to call you and schedule an appointment. Your online presence has become essential to proving your credibility and solidifying your reputation as an expert. Clients and prospects look to your online content as a way to get to know you better, so it’s important to ensure that the impression your firm makes online is just as professional and differentiating as the service you provide in person, especially if you want to use your content as a tool to grow your advisory business. But how can you make sure you approach the content-generation process in a brand-relevant, consistent, and systematic way?
Why You Need a Marketing Content Calendar
As you look to develop your social media content strategy, you’ll want to develop a marketing content calendar; it can help you plan and publish content on your website, blog, and social media pages. A content calendar is simply that—a calendar. It can be created as a simple Excel spreadsheet or Word document, or you can even write it in your daily planner. The purpose of the calendar is to keep you organized and on top of all the important dates and topics you want to cover throughout the year.
The first step is to identify key dates that may be important for you or your clients. Think in terms of seasons and what might be on your clients’ minds. For example:
- Back to school
- Tax return season
- The start of summer
- Sports seasons
All create opportunities to develop content that your clients will find relevant and interesting. You’ll then want to include events you’ll be hosting or attending, as well as important community events. You should also schedule posts that focus on content you wish to share with your online network, such as personal updates about you and your staff, as well as financial planning information. (I cover this in more detail below.)
A marketing content calendar helps you stay organized in planning your content, but you’ll need to do some additional housekeeping to keep track of what you post and where. As you begin to create content consistently, each new post you share will become part of your content library. Keeping a record of what lives in your library will help you remember what you’ve already posted in the past so that your new content is always fresh but still in line with your style.
How to Brainstorm Content Opportunities
As a member of Commonwealth’s Advisor Marketing team, I frequently get calls from affiliated advisors asking me how to go about creating content. The process can be overwhelming, for sure. But to fully leverage social media, you need to make every effort to post your own original material. Start small. Try to write on a topic once a month at first—this is where your marketing content calendar helps to keep you accountable. Identify a date on which you want post your content, and get it on the calendar. Once you have a date locked in, you can start writing. Below are some ideas to help you begin brainstorming your posts.
Showcase your expertise. Think about what makes you unique. Do you have experience in a particular area of financial planning? Maybe you’re a tax expert, or you specialize in planning for small businesses. Think about the questions your clients ask you on a regular basis. If you find yourself frequently answering the same questions from clients, those questions may make great topics for a blog or social media post. Once you start publishing content on a particular topic, you will begin to establish yourself as a subject-matter expert.
After you’ve accumulated six months to a year’s worth of content, you can always go back and revise or add to posts that are still relevant and republish them. For example, an article on the top five tax tips would remain useful to your audience if it were updated and reposted around tax return season each year. Also, with a content calendar as part of your social media content strategy, you’ll have a reminder of why you’re republishing those particular pieces.
Tap into your top clients. Another helpful exercise is to make a list of your top five or six clients. Write down what you know about them, and see what those clients have in common. Are they in the same age range? Do they all own businesses or work in similar industries? Are they all involved in the same community activities? The answers to these questions will make it easier to determine what your clients’ interests are. Using your existing clients’ interests to drive the content you produce may attract new clients with similar interests and help grow your advisory business.
Be real. Articles that show the human side of your practice are also usually well received. You can publish pictures of your holiday decorations or feature a particular employee each month. Also, be sure to write about any community activities you’re involved with. The human interest side of your firm will help you connect with readers authentically and add to the trust you’re building through your content.
Commit to a Social Media Content Strategy in 2018
Clients and prospects start their buying decisions long before they make contact with you personally. Online content serves as a way to communicate, meet needs, and build trust even before you establish a direct relationship. Having an online presence also allows you to connect with clients on a personal level in an environment in which you can share common interests and experiences. The good news? You can start small. As you gain experience and momentum, generating online content can become another strategy to grow your advisory business.
What goals do you have for your social media content strategy this year? Do you use a marketing content calendar to stay on track and keep you and your team accountable? Please share your thoughts with us below!