Attract new business and the best staff via your online presence
Robert Lewis helped his firm generate £100,000 pa from an online presence. Here he gives his 6 top tips and explains why advisers must not underestimate the growing value of social media to their business
Robert Lewis, financial adviser and founder of new social media marketing company Elevate Social, says social media is playing an extremely important role in spreading the word about an adviser firm and the work it does.
Lewis is director of operations for Flintshire-based Heritage Financial Solutions and was responsible for building a new website and launching the firm’s social media campaign. Today, its online presence generates £100,000 of new business per year and has been instrumental in broadening Heritage’s reach.
“Popular social media platforms have become marketing giants, offering businesses valuable data about their customers and should no longer be viewed as something optional.”
Elevate Social aims to help small and medium-sized businesses to capitalise on the changing dynamics of the market. The team has over 20 years of combined experience in online promotion, social media marketing and SEO management and Lewis says it is his experience that prompted him to found the company.
Advisers can often struggle to know how to go about marketing their business when using social media and Elevate Social aims to take that responsibility from them. For a monthly fee, the company provides its customers with a package which includes profile creation, content management, tailored pay-per-click campaign and real-time analytics and, says Lewis, at a cost much lower than that of an in-house marketing manager.
“We believe the key to our success stems from our schedule system – firms need to engage with potential customers but not have to be up at all hours sending tweets and posts. We have a system whereby we create engaging content in the day during business hours, but schedule them to be published during social media hotspots which are typically evenings and weekends. Every customer is given access to the ‘client support portal’, which allows them to submit questions, track invoices and projects and engage with their progress.”
Lewis believes Elevate Social is different to most other social media marketing companies because of its experience of financial advice and understanding of compliance.
“We understand the regulation constraints of what an authorised firm can and can’t say via social media and have registered with the ICO for data protection and professional indemnity insurance,” he says.
Online traffic is now increasingly directed from social media profiles and the simple rule is not to sell products, Lewis says. “Social media is a fantastic outlet for people to show their personality so my advice is to sell yourself – talk about your firm’s progress, your staff, but do not talk about products.”
According to Lewis, social media will not only help firms engage with prospective clients, but the next generation of financial advisers.
“As a profession, financial advice needs to become bigger and more well-known and social media can help firms to achieve that. We are an ageing industry and more needs to be done to encourage younger blood to come on board. The best way to engage with a younger audience is social media.
“If you place an advert in the paper, chances are someone will see it once but if you have an online presence, you will be seen much more frequently and the impact will be far greater,” he adds.
6 Top Tips to raise your online profile
Lewis’s top tips for those firms seeking to raise their online profile are:
1. Work at it – social media works best if it’s both engaging and active.
2. Posts should be relevant and have personality.
3. Build a network – don’t simply post, but engage with other people so they will retweet your messages and increase your online reach.
4. Harness the power of images and videos, with live videos becoming an increasingly popular tool.
5. Link to your website – everything should be linked to your website so that it drives traffic back to you and increases your SEO ranking.
6. Know your platforms and their audience – Facebook is for generation 35 +, Instagram has the fastest growing adult audience and Twitter appeals to a higher net worth individual.
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