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4 Ways to Create Holiday LinkedIn Posts in a Hurry

If your holiday social media strategy is looking as meager as Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree, don’t worry! In this blog, I will show you four time-efficient ways to add a seasonal sparkle to your LinkedIn posts. 

I’m focusing on LinkedIn because this is where financial advisors are having the most networking success. However, all of these ideas can be modified for Facebook and Twitter. 

 

Supply List

  • Stress→ Just enough to give you a bit of fire without being debilitating.
  • Canva→ We recommend this tool to advisors all the time, and we use it for our own social media. Canva is a drag-and-drop design tool that gives you tons of templates for creating social media posts in a snap.
  • A camera→ The camera on your smartphone will work just fine! 
  • Hootsuite or Buffer→ Both of these tools enable you to schedule your social media posts to publish automatically. That way, you can be away on holidays and still have your festive posts rolling out. Hootsuite will allow you to post videos to a LinkedIn company page, but if you plan on posting videos to a personal LinkedIn profile, use Buffer. Both options offer free accounts.
  • The slightest bit of holiday spirit→ This will make the process even easier and more fun!

 

3 Themes for LinkedIn Posts

For your quick strategy, you’re going to create posts that fit into four themes: Office Fun, Community Zeitgeist, Holiday Hero, and Jolly Artist. 

How many themes you choose is up to you and your timeline. Read on to learn about these fast and festive strategies. 

 

Office Fun

As its name suggests, Office Fun is all about showcasing your team’s personality this holiday season. This theme might be the easiest to do because it just requires you to take photos or videos of your team celebrating the holidays. And from the testing we’ve done with our social media clients, this is the theme that social media networks engage with the most. 

However, this theme could actually be challenging if your firm doesn’t have holiday traditions; that’s why I’ve offered more themes to choose from. But why not take this opportunity to start a tradition or two?

Get your cameras ready to capture the following: 

  • Ugly Christmas sweater day/contest
  • Pajama day
  • Gift exchanges
  • A hot chocolate station
  • Office decorations (exterior and interior), including lights lit up at nighttime 
  • Office potluck
  • Decorating cookies
  • Decorating a Christmas tree
  • Volunteering individually or as a team
  • Food or toy drive
  • Team parties, including low-key lunches and full-on festive parties

What to write:

Don’t overthink the writing, but do make it audience-focused by asking your network a question that invites them to join the fun or share their own experience. 

Try this easy formula: What our team did + question for the audience

Take your post to the next level by adding a sentence about why the activity is meaningful to you and your team. 

Example #1: Posting about your team’s ugly Christmas sweater contest:

We got into the holiday spirit by wearing our ugly Christmas sweaters! Which one makes you cringe the most? #Team #Holidays

Example #2: Posting about your team’s support of a charity:

Today we had the opportunity to volunteer in the Leeside Food Bank’s warehouse. Which organizations are close to your heart? #Team #Community #Leeside

 

Community Zeitgeist

This theme calls for you to be in-the-know about your community’s festive events. It’s not as involved as it sounds, especially when you can check websites that are dedicated to listing local events.

I recommend searching for your city and any surrounding areas on Eventbrite, which also allows you to specify a date range. You can even search under categories, including “Holiday”! Yes, this website was made for times like these. 

Here are events to look for:

  • Theatre/plays
  • Craft shows and markets
  • Parades
  • House tours
  • Tree lighting ceremonies
  • Gingerbread house decorating

Since Eventbrite wants these events to get exposure, they’ve made it easy to share them on social media. Once you click on an event, you will see a “share” icon (it looks like an upload symbol) that will give you options for sharing on social media once you click on it.

What to write:

Let the event be the star of your social media post. Skim the event details until you find the main highlight of the event and then add a call-to-action. 

Try this easy formula: Event feature + call-to-action that includes location

Example: Posting about a gingerbread house decorating workshop for kids:

This free event sounds like fun for kids who love to decorate! Check out this workshop for gingerbread house decorating in Leeside! #Holidays #Leeside

 

Holiday Hero

This theme is not only fast to deliver on but it may just elevate your status to “Holiday Hero.” Your job is to be ultra helpful, like a little workshop elf. 

You’re going to become the go-to source for solving work-specific holiday questions, like what to bring to the office potluck, best gifts for colleagues, and easy ways to decorate your desk. 

This theme centers around work-specific holiday topics because I’m focusing on LinkedIn. However, you can broaden the topics for Facebook and Twitter by helping people solve their at-home holiday challenges, like what gifts to buy for kids of different ages.

Two ways to deliver on this theme:

  1. Visit North America’s most beloved sources on everything holiday-related. 

I recommend these websites:

Most of these websites will feature “share” buttons for social media, making it easy to post an article quickly. If you don’t see a “share” button or if you’re going to use Hootsuite or Buffer to schedule the article to post on social media, then simply copy and paste the link. 

      2. Take a personalized approach if you have time: 

Ask your staff to email you their favorite recipes. To execute this idea on LinkedIn, post the recipe and tag the employee’s name in it. Make your post eye-catching by adding a photo of the finished recipe if possible. 

You can take a similar approach to other holiday hacks by asking your team to share their advice on gift-giving at work (e.g. Secret Santa gifts for under $10), how to make your own ugly sweater, and what to write in holiday cards for clients. 

What to write:

Again, don’t overthink the writing aspect. Stick with simplicity by highlighting the problem you’re solving.

Try this easy formula: Problem + solution

Example: Sharing an article about gift-giving to colleagues:

Are you looking for a Secret Santa gift that is inexpensive but also genuinely useful? Look no further than this gift guide! [Add link] #Holidays #Team 

 

Jolly Artist

This final theme calls for Canva and a dash of creativity because you’re about to make social media graphics that feature holiday greetings. 

Here’s an example of a holiday graphic that was created in Canva:

In Canva, you can upload your logo and set your brand colors to align your graphics with your branding. I also recommend personalizing the graphics with holiday greetings to include “from our team at [name of firm].”

Currently, Canva doesn’t have templates that are sized for LinkedIn posts. But this gap is easily remedied by using their “custom dimensions” option listed under “Resize” on your design page. Add these dimensions: 1200 px. X 628 px.

You can use Canva’s library of stock photos and background options to add holiday magic to your graphics. Unsplash, a free stock photo site, also boasts lovely holiday backgrounds that you can add to your Canva designs. 

Ideas for holiday-graphic themes:

  • Holiday greetings: Happy Holidays, Happy Hanukkah, Feliz Navidad, Season’s Greetings, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year.
  • Countdown: Create a series of graphics that count down until Christmas Day, Hanukkah, or New Year’s Day. Your countdowns can start 12 days, one week, or even 1 day in advance. 
  • Special days: Use the National Day Calendar to find national days in December (or January), like Giving Tuesday, National Cookie Day, Gingerbread House Day, and National Cocoa Day. (Bonus: you can incorporate these special days into any of the themes that are listed in this blog.)

What to write:

Since this is a fast strategy, keep your writing simple and let the graphics steal the show. But do make your post audience-focused by asking a question that invites them to join in on the fun or share their own experience. 

Try this easy formula: The significance of the graphic + question for the audience

Take your posts to the next level by adding your holiday hours and fun facts to go with your countdown- and special-days graphics.

Example #1: Posting your New Year’s Day countdown:

Only 2 more sleeps until 2020! Today’s reflection question: What challenges did you overcome this year? #NewYear #Holidays #SelfGrowth

Example #2: Posting about National Cookie Day:

National Cookie Day calls for us to whip up our best recipes to share with colleagues. Which cookie reminds you of the holidays? #NationalCookieDay

Your Next Step

Choose any or all of the themes and keep things simple! Schedule your posts by using Hootsuite or Buffer, but do assign yourself or a team member to monitor your social media posts for monitor engagement (i.e. likes, comments, shares). 

Get in the holiday spirit, chat with your LinkedIn network, and have fun! 

 

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5 Easy-To-Use Tools For Advisors To Become Their Own Marketing Team

You’ve heard it countless times: advisor marketing is evolving. That means you need to constantly look for new and engaging ways to share content that differentiates you from other advisors. But what if you don’t have a full marketing team at your disposition? Could you do it yourself?

With so many variables to keep in mind like different formatting requirements for each social media platform, printing needs, and cue dramatic music   what the algorithm favors, your best option for efficient content creation is to find tools that will allow you to create a variety of designs in formats that you can publish everywhere and don’t take too much time to make. 

Thankfully, you don’t need a design degree to be able to create engaging and professional-looking graphics and content. Start by exploring the platforms on this list and see how you can go from boring to brandtastic in under 15 minutes.

 

  1. Canva

Once a well-kept secret, Canva has become the go-to for many entrepreneurs and small business owners. This online platform allows you to create stunning graphics that are engaging, creative, and customizable. 

To start creating personalized designs, upload your company’s logo, photos, and graphics to your Canva account. Once you upload an image, you can choose to keep it on the platform to use in your future designs. You can also create and store your company’s color palette for you to use at any time without having to check your brand standards or color codes again.

The best part about Canva is that you never have to start from scratch. Canva offers hundreds of pre-designed templates that you can use. You can choose from a wide range of templates —  from presentations and social media posts to posters and business cards. 

Another time-saving feature is Canva’s ability to size your social media posts according to different formatting requirements. Using Canva’s main menu, you can choose which type of social media post you are creating and it will automatically create the right size for you. The added bonus is that you can create copies of your social media posts that are sized for sharing on different social media platforms, like LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

The cherry-on-top feature of this design platform is that it has its own stock photo and video library. Meaning you don’t need to leave the site to find the perfect image for your designs.

Once you’ve finished your design, and depending on your plan (e.g. free, pro, enterprise), you can export your designs as PDFs, JPGs, transparent PNGs, and PowerPoint presentations to name just a few options.

 

2. Lumen5

Lumen5 allows you the freedom to create videos without all the time and effort it would normally take. If you already have a piece of content you want to promote, such as a blog or a podcast, are launching a new service, or simply want to share some news on social media, Lumen5 can boost your chances of getting this content noticed.

You simply start by pressing the “create video” option and choosing to create your video from a link, text, or by starting off with one of their many templates. You also have the option to use your own content and upload your own images. 

If you choose to start with a link or text, Lumen5 will automatically create a video that includes video clips from their library that best fit the keywords used in this content. For example, if you’ve used the word “business,” the platform will probably use a clip of an office; if the link includes an article that talks about retirement, your video will likely show a clip of an older person.

Regardless of whether you use your own images, text, a link, or a pre-made template to generate your video, you will be able to modify the images that the platform has selected, adjust the length of clips, change the layout, and modify the text. And if you want your video to have sound, you can add your own recording or music clips or use the music that is available on the platform.

 

3. Prezi

Prezi is the ultimate tool for creating persuasive presentations that will help you stand out. One of its best features is the option to refresh your existing PowerPoint presentations to give them a new image without having to start from scratch. 

As with previous tools I’ve mentioned, Prezi has a library with millions of templates and presentations to choose from. This will considerably reduce the time you could spend creating the perfect presentation and allow you to focus on the content and delivery of your seminars, sales pitches, or day-to-day business communications.

If webinars are part of your marketing tactics, take note of Prezi’s new feature that allows you to create videos, called Prezi Video. This feature allows you to stay on camera and show your content right beside you for extra engagement points.

 

4. Grammarly 

Even if you are a strong writer or are confident enough to write your own content without help, it’s always a good idea to have an extra set of “eyes” looking at your document. Grammarly can help you achieve a better level of writing instantaneously. 

Grammarly not only corrects common grammar mistakes or misspelled words, but it also helps you with conciseness, clarity, vocabulary, and confidence.

You can upload documents into Grammarly’s app to be assessed not only on your grammar but also on your delivery, clarity, engagement, and correctness. Grammarly makes these assessments based on your goals for domain, tone, intent, which it will ask you to select once you’ve uploaded your document. For instance, you may be writing for a business domain and aiming for a respectful tone with the intent to inform.

If you prefer to work outside of an app, try the Grammarly extension for Chrome. Serving as an ever-present writing assistant, Grammarly will help you eliminate writing errors and find the right words to express yourself as you write on Gmail, Twitter, LinkedIn, and nearly everywhere else you find yourself writing.

 

5. Hootsuite

There is a reason why this platform keeps appearing on lists like these, year after year. Hootsuite is the quintessential social media management tool.

Since advisors are now expected to be present on social media platforms, interact with their networks, and post original content all while running a successful practice, it is practically essential to use an automation tool like Hootsuite.

Using a free account, you can connect up to three of your social media accounts to Hootsuite and even more with a premium account. Hootsuite’s dashboard gives you a one-stop spot to monitor your mentions, comments, inbox messages, and like and reply to comments on different social media platforms.

What really saves more of your time is Hootsuite’s scheduler. You can schedule social media content to automatically post for the day, the whole week, two weeks and on…depending on your plan. You can also get analytics, curate content from the platform, and promote your high-performing posts.

Whether you don’t have the capacity to hire a full-time marketing person or company to assist you, or you simply want to try something new on your own terms, these tools are designed to make your life — or your marketing — easier without compromising quality. Take a step into more engaging content by trying one of these five easy tools.

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Should Advisor-Podcasters Talk Only About Financial Topics?

When you start your own advisor podcast, what approach will you take as the podcast host? 

More specifically, should you position yourself as the financial expert who then talks only about financial topics, should you interview other financial experts, or should you interview people that are not financial experts but whose expertise will add value to your audiences’ lives? 

This is a multi-faceted but important question that I will help you answer in this blog. 

Let me start by introducing three shorter questions that I will walk you through:

  1. What are your goals: leads or relationships?
  2. What format will work best for you: interviews or solocasts?
  3. How frequently do you want to record: monthly or weekly? 30 minutes or 60 minutes?

What are your goals: leads or relationships?

Your first thought is likely, “What’s the difference between a lead and a relationship?” 

Leads are typically the outcomes of a quick connection and offer. They are the result of “ask-based” marketing. 

Marketing is about finding people and then making them an offer. When that offer doesn’t work, those “prospects” typically drop off. 

Relationships, on the other hand, are “give-based” marketing. Give-based marketing seeks to add deep and ongoing value whereas ask-based marketing dangles value in front of people and then quickly switches to the “ask.”

What you should focus on.

If you want leads If you want to build relationships
  • Stick to financial topics and guests. 
  • Have a clear audience, advice, and calls-to-action. Make it easy for people to listen and say yes. 
  • Have a paper or checklist with podcast topics) that listeners can access by giving you their contact info, and then work the lead. 
  • Find a balance of financial and non-financial topics and expertise. 
  • Assess which topics and episodes get more plays and better social engagement, and then do more of those types of episodes. If that happens to be more non-financial podcasts, then run with that when it makes sense. 
  • Engage listeners in other content such as blog posts, papers, books, and checklists. Find ways to be their go-to source for advice in keys areas that relate back to financial planning. 

What format will work best for you: conversation or solocast?

Personally, I prefer conversational podcasts. Solocasts can be engaging but can also seem ranty and also require the podcaster to be well-seasoned and well-organized to pull it off. 

Two-person podcasts work best because they can read off each other’s verbal cues. When there are three people in a podcast, it can be tricky to time verbal cues unless the two guests are in the same room and can read off each others’ body language. 

What you should focus on.

If you prefer a solocast format If you prefer a conversational format
  • Stick to financial topics unless you have expertise in other areas. You can combine financial and non-financial topics but don’t go solely non-financial, as you may end up being known more for that than financial —unless that gives you an obvious vertical marketing opportunity.
  • Be incredibly organized so you can stay on topic and be intriguing to your listeners. That’s not easy to do alone. 
  • Have complementary content available as a companion to your podcast topics. 
  • Find a balance of financial and non-financial topics and expertise. In most cases, the guest should be the expert. 
  • Share an outline of the episode in advance so you can keep each other on track during the recording.
  • Relate non-financial topics back to financial planning when it flows. Don’t push it. 

How frequently and how long should your podcasts be: monthly or Weekly? 30 minutes or 60 minutes?

There’s some debate about this subject. 

Standard frequency protocols suggest that the more frequently you podcast, the shorter your episodes should be. If it’s a daily podcast, 10-15 minutes would be an appropriate length. If it’s monthly, 60-90 minutes would be enough. 

Meanwhile, standard lifestyle protocols suggest that podcast length shouldn’t be determined by how often the podcaster podcasts, but by how much time the listener has to listen. Commutes average 30-45 minutes. With this in mind, 25-30 minutes is a valid best practice. I’m in the 25-30 minute camp but while we aim for that length in our Top Advisor Marketing Podcast, Matt and I often go over by 5-10 minutes. 

The topic and dialogue will ultimately decide the length of your episodes, but from the outset, aim for shorter as opposed to longer to keep people interested and to fit with their busy lives. I’d rather someone have the opportunity to listen to a second and third episode than one long one.

There is also a debate about the frequency of podcasting. 

There are more factors at play here than optimizing for your audience. Most podcasters have to juggle time commitment and budget when thinking about establishing a podcast frequency. One can’t forget about their podcast supporting other marketing tactics, such as social media, either.

Recording weekly is a lot of work but puts advisors and companies in better positions to create awareness and excitement. At the same time, finding guests and producing, publishing, and promoting episodes on a weekly basis might put a strain on your time and budget. 

Doing a podcast bi-monthly can alleviate some of the demands on your time and budget. If you podcast at this frequency, your audience won’t be waiting too long between episodes, you will have enough episodes to establish yourself as the expert and bring on expert guests, and you will be publishing enough new episodes that you can continuously promote your podcast on social media, which is critical to your success. 

Yet, if you want to expedite your podcast and brand awareness, try podcasting weekly or four times per month. It’s the perfect frequency for keeping your audience, social media and area of expertise happy.

What you should focus on.

If you prefer monthly frequency If you prefer bi-monthly (every other week) frequency
  • Stick to financial topics because you’re not podcasting frequently enough to dabble outside of your core topic. Maybe over the course of a year you can branch into other topics once or twice. 
  • Create an editorial calendar of timely topics since you need to maximize each episode (e.g., tax episode in March, charitable giving before year-end).
  • Aim for episode lengths of 45-60 minutes. 
  • The more frequently you podcast, the more topics and varied expertise you can introduce. You can also bring on more guests and create hype around getting onto your podcast as a guest. 
  • With this frequency, you generate more content, which builds you greater credibility. 
  • To shorten prep time, have go-to questions for each guest and make sure the topics and expertise don’t become redundant. 
  • Aim for episode length of 20-30 minutes.

As you can see, there is no set way of approaching your podcast. Take the best of what you have learned here and apply it to yours. Aim for quality over quantity. Be as consistent and interesting as possible. Keep your audience top of mind when planning your podcast format and theme. And, have fun.