Updated Saturday, April 19, 2014 as of 8:08 AM ET
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Advisors: Tools to Optimize Your Time on Social
Thursday, January 16, 2014
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When helping financial planners strengthen their online presence, I start off by asking the main reason why they struggle with social media. More often than not, one of the top problems expressed is the lack of time to write a blog post or share content on social platforms. Unfortunately, without a strategy for social media engagement, those creative ideas that would have developed into insightful messages and blog posts are simply lost.

For everyone in financial services aiming to address a target audience, content marketing is critical to business development. It’s how you engage with current customers and grab the attention of possible clients. Without a steady stream of content to share on your social media platforms, the opportunity to connect and inspire your audience is gone. Luckily, there are several tools your business can take advantage of when it comes to planning and sharing content without taking too much time out of your busy day:

1. Editorial Calendar

One of the easiest methods to help plan and consistently publish content across your social media channels, an editorial calendar allows you to form a content schedule. Choose a calendar that everyone on your social media team can access, navigate and understand. You will be using this calendar on a regular basis, so making it as easy as possible to use should be a priority. Here are some recommended editorial calendar platforms:

  • Microsoft Word: Probably the most basic platform for editorial calendars. There are many templates on Word that are ideal for creating the perfect editorial calendar for your business needs.
  • Evernote or Pocket: Both platforms can serve as a repository to clip and store articles, ideas and other links for later use as an editorial starting point.
  • Google Drive: A free service that houses your editorial calendar and allows you to share the document with others. Access Google Spreadsheet to make your own editorial calendar or take advantage of several editorial calendar templates. An added benefit of Google Drive -- you and your associates can access, edit and manage your editorial calendar anytime, anywhere.
  • WordPress: The editorial calendar plug-in gives you an overview of your blog and when each post will be published. Users can quickly edit posts, drag and drop to change posting dates and manage posts from multiple authors.

2. Social Media Dashboard

For financial planners with a presence on numerous social media platforms, using a social media management system can save time and make sure each platform (and audience) receives the attention it deserves. Tools such as Sprout Social, Hootsuite and Buffer allow users to update major networks such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn all from one place. Focused on convenience and organization, social media management tools eliminate the need to log in to each social media account separately. Simply log in to anyone of these management tools and you are immediately shown your social media presence at a glance.

Your dashboard contains all of the content from your platforms – content shared by you, brand mentions and updates from friends, followers and connections. Even better, each social media management system allows you to add numerous users and offers plans that are affordable.

3. Content Scheduler

In addition to the social media dashboard, Sprout Social and Hootsuite also allow users to share content immediately or schedule them for a later time. 

Buffer works a little differently and practically does all of the work for you. Buffer lets users create a repository of posts and messages they would like to share into their content library. Whenever you come across relevant content you think your audience will find useful -- articles, pictures, videos, etc. -- just add it to the content library. Buffer then takes the content and schedules messages to be sent out at times when your audience is most active online. Once the library is empty, users are notified that they need to add in more content.

4. Reporting

When it comes to social media, establishing your online voice shouldn’t be your only priority; you also want to make sure what you’re saying is worthwhile for your business. In addition to their convenience and organizational benefits, social media management tools can also help you gauge whether or not your social media efforts are successful.

(5) Comments
Indeed it is not enough that you have a presence on social media. Now you need to optimise the time you spend on it. Like anything else, this involves planning and this article has given many useful pointers. Ensure that your blog reflects correct, complete and up-to-date information especially if it deals with finance. At the same time you have to weigh the costs-benefits.
Posted by KIMMY B | Friday, January 17 2014 at 8:22AM ET
How are you archiving social media posts for compliance purposes?
Posted by Sharon W | Friday, January 17 2014 at 8:29AM ET
Hi Caitlin, great article! I work with many advisors who are starting to understand the need when it comes to social media but there are still a lot of questions surrounding how to implement an effective strategy. I think the bottom line of any social strategy is to make sure whatever you're sharing adds value to your friends, followers and connections.
Posted by Maggie C | Monday, January 20 2014 at 11:57AM ET
Hi Caitlin, I read your article hoping it would provide me information I didn't know already. As a financial adviser I am always looking for ways to creatively communicate with my audience. Finding things that are pertinent to write about is not the problem. Nor is finding the time to write it. What is the problem which you didn't touch on was compliance. The reason I stopped using social media is because compliance is part of the process. When you write about something you have to go through that process which can add weeks. I just stopped because it became a pain in the neck. I think if you asked advisers why they are not more taking advantage of social media you would find that your article has no relevance. The problem isn't all the issues you raised which are easy to rectify if they even exist at all. The issue is the headache that compliance causes when an adviser tries to be creative in his business.

David Broder, LifeMark Securities

Posted by david b | Thursday, February 06 2014 at 11:38AM ET
Good advice Caitlin. One note, Google Alerts stopped working a while back. -- Mike Byrnes, President of Byrnes Consulting, LLC, www.byrnesconsulting.com
Posted by Mike B | Saturday, February 22 2014 at 3:00PM ET
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