The most common question from advisors about social media used to be “Should I bother?” Now that regulators and compliance departments have provided at least some guidance, the more common questions from advisors involve how to use social media effectively without it becoming a huge time vortex.

Major social media outlets from Twitter to Instagram and Pinterest have potential for engaging and building relationships with clients and prospects. For most advisors, however, LinkedIn offers an environment that lends itself to clear separation of personal and professional interaction. You can make the most of your LinkedIn presence in just 10 minutes a day using these simple tips:

  1. Schedule your 10 minutes. Make it the same time each day. Set an alarm or timer, so you don’t find yourself engrossed in an article and find two hours suddenly gone.
  2. Resist temptation. Outside those 10 minutes, resist the urge to check LinkedIn. Shut off email notifications – you’ll see any new invitations, emails or posts tomorrow during your dedicated LinkedIn time.
  3. Respond to any messages in your Inbox. Treat your LinkedIn message inbox as a company email. If someone has sent you a message on LinkedIn, be timely, professional and give your response a purpose.
  4. Update your status. Updates put you top of mind for your connections and remind them that you are still actively doing business. It’s a free way to advertise yourself, but remember that your connections don’t want to be bombarded with sales pitches. Promoting your business is fine in small doses, but LinkedIn is about “connecting” with other professionals and sharing ideas and experiences.
  5. Share content. Posting links to interesting articles or videos lets you share information that helps your connections without being self promotional. Offer one or two sentences about what you liked about the article.
  6. Send connection invites to people you met the day before. By sending the invite the day after, you have a better chance of the person remembering you. Don’t use the canned default message – make it personal by mentioning something you discussed with the person or where you saw them. They will feel they are important to you, plus you leave them thinking that you have your life together, including your business.
  7. Sift through the previous day’s updates and discussions. If you are following a discussion board, stay up to date on the conversation so you don’t miss an opportunity to join in. When looking at your updates feed, pay attention to what is going on in your connections’ lives and comment on them if you feel it is important. By commenting on someone’s post, you make them feel important and open yourself to more connections.
  8. Like good news and content. You don’t always have to make a comment. A simple Like conveys you’re paying attention to what others have to share.
  9. See who your connections are connecting with. This is a great way to find people you may know but wouldn’t have otherwise thought to connect with.
  10. Translate to action. As you review updates, make notes on connections or events that deserve more than a Like or a comment. Client or prospect gets a promotion? Make a note to send a handwritten “congratulations” note or gift, if appropriate. In a virtual world, the human touch becomes even more valuable.

Like any marketing channel, the variations and flavors of social media will continue to expand and evolve. Instead of trying to cover them all, cover one or two well that best fit your target market, your compliance requirements and your available time.
Chris Kirby, Senior Business Consultant, Securities America Financial Corporation. Chris is a business consultant for Securities America's Practice Management Group and serves as a consultant/coach for the firm’s Business Consulting Service, helping advisors manage a more efficient, profitable and satisfying practice.