Businesses are learning that training in how to use online networks is a great asset in marketing their services, creating client capital, and expanding their spheres of influence.

presentation from Radian 6, a social media monitoring company, outlines some of the most important touch points that an entrepreneur in the financial services sector should try to hit with his or her social campaign.

There are a number of social networking websites that can be used for professional purposes, not just personal ones. LinkedIn is a great way to connect with others in your field, centres of influence (COIs) or prospects that you would like to make clients. LinkedIn also facilitates discussions, providing the opportunity to jump in on conversations and either ask questions or share some of your own expertise.

Just like you would do with any other business undertaking, before you dive into the work of social media, you need a plan.

Ask yourself:

  • What issues would your existing and ideal clients be interested in?
  • How are you currently listening to and engaging with your clients?
  • Are you ready to explore listening and engaging with clients on social media?

From there, think about the state of your brand. Is it already well-established, or will part of your social media strategy be dedicated to defining and expanding awareness of the brand?

Radian 6 addresses another issue that often pops up when discussing financial services and social media: compliance. It is noted that avoiding the three Ds – disclosure of intellectual property/trade secrets, defamation, and discrimination – should make it safe to post a blog or publish a tweet. FINRA has outlined guidance for using social media, and Business Insider broke down some of those rules in an article, available here

When mapping out your long-term strategy for social media use, there are three more Ds that can be useful, as Melinda Emerson, a well-known small business expert, wrote in a Pitney Bowes blog.

  • Develop the plan for content: What kind of podcasts, blogs, interviews or articles would resonate with your target audience?
  • Design: Make sure your website and any blogs or social media profiles are a reflection of the message you want your brand to communicate
  • Delivery: You want to deliver your message consistently

Social media, like any other investment, requires a time commitment. You need to be ready to devote the time necessary to see a true ROI in your efforts to establish digital leadership.