Navigating Social Media
By: Chris McKenzie
We love new things. Everyone does. Social media, or as they often refer to it in the business world as, ‘e-commerce,’ has officially removed the previously plodding world of communications. You know, letter writing, phone calls and pagers.
And we are right to welcome new things. They can utterly transform your marketing. Messenger pigeons, radio, TV and computers did. And now; on-line, or digital (choose which fancy expression you prefer) has done it. In fact, InvestPlus just hosted a Dealing Representative Summit series featuring just that - business growth via social media. We saw such a thirst for training in this marketing genre we simply had to provide it.
But our love for this marketing medium does not just lead to silly commercial decisions. It blinds us to an important truth. We assume that something new changes the rules. Nowhere is this more common than among people who are trying out on-line marketing.
Here is the rule that has not changed: ‘The power of creating value in a genuinely personal message.’ While we get to meet and talk to prospects, clients, friends and family around the world in the swipe of a key, or after fumbling with tiny phone buttons, we cannot lose sight of getting closer to those we communicate to. Mastering social media has its benefits, but it does not preclude you from contemplating your messages further before you press send. - And yes, among many other bad habits, that means you stop using K to replace OKAY!
So many messages are not personal. No, I am not talking about friends laughing – or griping about each other on Facebook. I am talking about creating messages for your prospects and clients with the same feelings as if you were putting a letter in the mailbox.
Here is an interesting point: using social media is intensely personal but we often use it for very impersonal reasons. We craft communications which have more resemblance to a legal textbook than a genuine and personal touch point. And you may already be finding your impersonal communications travelling the social media electronic pipelines are not growing your reach, your followers, or your network.
Marketing gurus and successful social media users have found that what works in this medium is exactly what works in direct mail. Messages that seem like they are handed to you in a letter personally. As Jeffrey Gitomer says in his book titled Social Boom, “the Formula for Business Social Media Success: Attract People, Engage People, Connect People….and the best way to accomplish all three elements of this formula is with personal VALUE.”
Only you know how to define what personal value you wish to offer. Maybe it is being the center of your exempt market universe, blogging five times a week about the industry, or maybe its sending tips to prospects on navigating the exempt space, or maybe it is telling your colleagues how much fun you are having being a Dealing Representative or industry member. How about this as a crazy idea - mentioning how proud you are to represent your clients and thanking them – more than once a year - for their trust and respect.
The ball is in your court. Get your M.B.A in social media, or Marketing Brilliance in Alternative Investments. But do not forget, you are not in the exempt investment industry; you are in the ‘people’ industry, but deal in exempt market products. So act accordingly. Social media is just the tool.
Nothing will assist you more in attracting prospects, keeping your clients and growing your followers, than demonstrating your accountability to bringing value to your online presence in the form of personal messages.