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What Is Social Selling? Here’s What Advisors Need to Know

When used well, social selling can be a powerful lead generation tool. But what exactly is social selling? Another marketing buzzword? Is it the same as social media advertising or social media marketing? 

Not really. 

Social selling is more than that. It’s the process of building powerful relationships with qualified leads on social media by understanding their needs and providing them with valuable content that helps them make informed buying decisions. You then become their go-to alternative when they are ready to buy.

Can you just post a few articles or share something that happened at your practice and call it social selling? No. Just like you do with your traditional sales approach, you need to build your social selling strategy and have clearly defined goals in order for it to work well.

How can you start building your social selling strategy? It depends on which social media platforms you’re using. For the purposes of this article, we will discuss LinkedIn and Twitter because these are the two main platforms we recommend for advisors.

 

LinkedIn

It is no secret that this is the best social media platform for advisors to find qualified leads and, after all, LinkedIn users are 11 times more likely to engage with professional content than users of any other social network. You can use these advanced prospecting techniques if you want to take a more focused sales approach, but you can also simply start with social selling by:

 

  • Joining the conversation: Engage with your existing contacts and join groups to meet new people. Like their posts, comment on them, and stay present. 
  • Expanding your network: Take full advantage of LinkedIn’s advanced search. You can use filters like job titles, locations, and more to locate the target audience you’d like to connect with. You can also leverage your connection’s network by asking them to make an introduction to someone you’d like to connect with
  • Building your credibility: Share articles that you have written and ask others to endorse you for your skills. These are two simple ways to tell others that you are knowledgeable about your industry. Don’t forget to join LinkedIn groups to meet likeminded people. 

Check out this blog for more on LinkedIn best practices.

 

Twitter

Twitter is the perfect tool for social listening, which is a crucial part of social selling as this allows you to monitor your audience’s behavior online. Twitter facilitates social listening by giving you the ability to create lists of specific people and brands that you want to keep track of. 

You can use Twitter lists to accomplish the following: 

  • You can build a list that includes your current clients and use it to engage in conversations with them and like their tweets.
  • You can create a list of potential clients. By keeping track of what is important to them, you can strategically offer them tools and information to keep them moving through your sales funnel.
  • And finally, you can keep an eye on what your competitors are doing. Create a private list that allows you to keep an eye on what others are doing, to help you adjust your own selling strategy.

 

So, is social selling the end of cold calling? Maybe. Maybe not. But one thing is certain: Combining traditional sales techniques with the latest available tech trends will give you a significant edge over advisors who are not doing the same. 

 

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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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How to Plan Your Podcast Topics (And Never Run out of Ideas!)

Have you made the exciting decision to start your own podcast? Or maybe you’re a little hesitant. Many aspiring podcasters wonder how much work will be involved — specifically, how will they ever come up with enough topics for every single episode? 

I have written this short guide to provide you with useful tips so you will never run out of things to talk about on your podcast.

Let’s jump right in…

 

Listen to the people around you

Are your clients asking you the same questions frequently? If so, address those questions on your podcast. If your clients are often asking about mutual funds, for instance, plan to have a “Mutual funds 101” episode. As another example, if your clients are constantly asking you about the differences between wills and TODs, build an episode around that topic. Of course, you can also ask your clients directly about what they would like to learn and use those requests to form topics.

Topic ideas abound outside of the office too. Think about the industry events you’ve attended recently. What were the presentations and workshops about? Grab those topics and run with them! And you don’t even have to have attended the event; check out an upcoming conference’s website to see what topics they have lined up. Those ideas are yours for the taking.

Now think about networking events. What were the hot conversations topics amongst your centers of influence? Are they offering a new service or product? What client challenges are they solving right now? Consider having COIs on your podcast as a guest and let those hot conversations unfold.   

Use your expertise

Part of what makes you a great advisor is the vast array of financial knowledge you possess. If there is a particular area of financial planning you enjoy the most and have solid expertise in, use it as inspiration. For example, if you specialize in estate planning, think about what you enjoy the most about that aspect of planning.

What do you offer your clients that other advisors don’t? What do you excel at? What makes you different? Share that knowledge with your clients. People love to know what other people are passionate about.

Keep an eye on current developments and new laws

Tax season, new bills, and other developments will generate many questions from your podcast audience. Put yourself in their situation and think about what questions you would have about that subject. Next, plan a podcast episode that answers these questions and offers solutions during times of change. 

On a similar note, consider how people need to prepare for significant personal-finance events, like tax season. Develop a checklist for your audience, lay it all out during your podcast, and become your audience’s go-to source for getting prepped.

Think outside the box

What do you and your clients have in common outside of financial services? If you enjoy golfing and you know your clients do too, talk about that in your podcast. How does golf resemble financial planning or business opportunities? What lessons can you learn from golf that also apply to your financial life?

Another idea: Have you watched any of your acquaintances make bad financial decisions due to market volatility? Make a podcast about the emotional cycle investors experience and how to make better decisions.

Organize topics and subtopics as you go

Topics like budgeting, 401(k)s, and retirement are pretty broad. These are examples of main topics that you can draw millions of subtopics from. 

For example, if you would like to talk about budgeting in your podcast, here’s an example of how you can make the most of that topic:

Main topic: 

Budgeting

Subtopics:

    Benefits of budgeting

–     5 reasons people hate budgeting (and how to overcome them)

     Top 10 things a budget should include

    How to balance savings vs. fixed expenses

    How to manage debt (does the debt-snowball method work?)

To stay organized, plug your main topics and subtopics into mind maps through MindMeister. Alternatively, you could simply keep a list on your computer or in a notebook.

 

My parting words for this guide? Whatever method you use to brainstorm podcast topics, always keep your audience in mind. This is your opportunity to educate people, help them solve their biggest challenges, and showcase your expertise.

 

Related: 4 Things Really Great Podcast Hosts Do

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How to Build and Maintain Your Personal Brand in 4 Simple Steps

Personal branding is a great way to enhance your presence both online and offline. Building your own message and professional image can open doors to opportunities you may have never been considered for.

Helping audiences understand more about you and what you do, adds great marketing value to your personal brand, foments trust in you and your services, and makes you look professional and organized. And we all know those elements are highly important in the financial industry.

Most importantly, personal branding gives you a chance to separate yourself by positioning your specific expertise for a specific audience.

Personal branding gives you a chance to separate yourself by positioning your specific expertise for a specific audience.There are many misconceptions about branding, and sometimes advisors don’t take full advantage of this powerful tool when thinking about marketing themselves or their services.

Some people wrongly assume that personal branding means creating a fake version of yourself to appeal to audiences by telling people what they want to hear. 

The truth is, personal branding is about acknowledging all of your greatest attributes and building a quality message around them, which, in turn, builds your exposure and enhances the image others have about you.

A great example of a strong personal brand in financial services is Josh Brown, “The Reformed Broker.” Josh is the CEO of Ritholtz Wealth Management, but still finds a way to separate his personal brand from that of his company.

Having a dedicated space for your professional self, outside of a company, can give you the freedom to express your personality, as Josh clearly does on his website and social media. You will often see that it’s his personal posts that get the most engagement, as Josh creates a forum for people to join the conversation.

 

 

Another upside of having personal social media profiles and websites? They give you more places to promote other services that you offer or content you create, such as public speaking or books and podcasts.

Here are a few steps you can follow to start building your personal brand.

Step #1: Define Your Goal

Take some time to understand what is it that you want to achieve through personal branding. Do you want to be known for doing something unique? Gain recognition from your peers or audience? Promote your books and other publications? Be hired for speaking engagements? Become a micro-influencer?

This is a crucial step that will allow you to understand your why. Understanding your why will allow you to come up with a solid plan and keep your focus on the strategies ahead.

Step #2: Research

Research what other top financial professionals are doing. Inspiration can come from a professional you admire, a mentor, or even your top competitor. Make a list of all the tactics you find interesting that have worked for others and that resonate with the public. Then, adapt those tactics to your brand and find ways to make them better: more compelling, more credible, and more resonant to your audience.

At this stage, you will also need to have a strong sense of who you are. Specifically, recognize your strengths and the unique services you offer. Evaluate the methods and words you are currently using to deliver your messages and the results they have gotten you. Take in the good and make it even better.

 

Step #3: Choose your purpose and words

It’s time to determine what you want your brand to be associated with. Now that you’ve had time to understand your purpose, recognize your unique attributes and strengths, and research your competition, it’s time to come up with concepts you would like to build around your brand and make a list based on those concepts. This step will help you create strategies to achieve your goal.Michael Kitces Twitter

If you want to be associated with trust, you may consider building a message around transparency and the systems you use to guarantee information safety or share any certifications and awards you have. 

If it’s innovation, perhaps promote your unique approach, that groundbreaking method you use to make your clients’ lives better. Find ways to talk about that state-of-the-art software you use that no one else is using. 

If you wish to focus on experience, you could create guides and tutorials for your clients, volunteer to speak at events, start a new podcast, or change the dynamic of an existing podcast.

Once you have that list of attributes, it’s time to create your unique brand statement. A brand statement is a short description of what you do, what you are good at, or, simply, your values. Here is an example from Michael Kitces; he uses the word “nerd” for his personal brand, suggesting that he is a dedicated and highly knowledgeable advisor. We also see that same message replicated across his social media.

 

 

Michael Kitces Website

 

 

Step #4: Nurture

Now that you’ve laid the foundation and core values of your personal brand, it’s time to start building it up. Embrace this opportunity to start creating original content. Showcase your personality, views, and expertise in any way you can. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to produce extensive publications. Sometimes the most personal forms of micro-content can inspire powerful conversations and build your relationships with ideal audiences.

 

Downtown Josh Brown 2

 

This last step is where it starts getting complicated for some advisors.

Marketing is not usually a “build it and they will come” tool, and it will take consistent effort to do it right. There has been a shift in the way businesses, professionals, and brands communicate with their clients — and this shift is becoming more common in the financial services industry, too.

Professional success for advisors is not entirely about the number and quality of leads and clients anymore. There is a new component to that: nurturing relationships with your ideal prospects, positioning yourself as a lead industry professional, and influencing people.  

Building your influence through personal branding can take some time. But it is, without a doubt, one of the most rewarding and important investments you can make in your career. 

 

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5 Tips to Creating a Memorable (And Engaging!) LinkedIn Presence

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Do you ever wonder if your LinkedIn presence is both professional and memorable? And by the way, what does it mean to be professional on LinkedIn?

Many advisors wonder if they’re using proper LinkedIn etiquette. Here’s a useful guide that will help you find out!

Dress (your content) for success

It’s important to always make sure your profile is complete, up to date and uses proper grammar. Including a high-resolution profile photo and cover photo will make your page visually appealing.

Ask a friend to have a look at your profile to make sure you haven’t missed anything.

Once you pass the spellcheck test, you can also ask for your friend’s opinion on your posts: Are they timely, relevant, and — don’t forget this — professional?

Think of LinkedIn as a 2.0 version of a networking event

Would you share a very private story with a person you just met at an industry event? If your answer is “no,” then why start on LinkedIn?*

All of your professional network and their connections are watching. And while you may grab your LinkedIn audience’s interest by showing some personality, remember that there are good ways and bad ways to do that.

To maintain a professional presence that builds credibility, consider posting about topics that highlight your areas of expertise.

Consider posting about these topics:

  • The latest financial developments
  • Changes in tax laws
  • Debt awareness
  • Financial education
  • Financial podcasts you enjoy listening to
  • Some of the day-to-day work you do
  • National Months/Days that relate to your profession (e.g. National Insurance Month)

When in doubt, it is always best to keep it professional. Besides, you don’t know where your next opportunity will come from.

*No judgment here! But if you said yes, consider keeping this story on Facebook.

Work on that virtual handshake

Don’t just add people you would like to connect with without introducing yourself. Even better, if you have a mutual connection, ask your friend to make the introduction. If you don’t have any mutual connections, do send an invitation to connect, but be sure to introduce yourself and state why are you reaching out to them. Give them a good impression from the start.

Months ago, I was at a fintech conference. There was one speaker whom I wanted to connect with because I was blown away by their presentation and their level of knowledge in an area I was particularly interested in. During the event I tried to reach out, but with the speaker being a high-ranking executive of a major bank, there were a lot of people wanting to introduce themselves as well.

I sent the following message on LinkedIn instead:

Hello  ____! I was at the conference tonight and your presentation was my favorite. I really liked how you were able to convey such complex information and help your audience understand technologies they have never used before, in a fun and engaging way.

Working in a field where I too need to convey financial information in an engaging way, I would love to connect with you and learn more from the content you share.

Thank you!

Not only did I get a new connection on LinkedIn, but the person was so surprised and pleased that I took the time to write a personalized note, that they offered to help me if I needed guidance, and they were willing to meet with me to talk more about our mutual professional interest.

Engage and encourage

Just as you would celebrate a colleague or friend who was just promoted, be sure to reach out to your connections when they share important news. A simple “like” or share, a heartfelt paragraph, or a sincere “well done,” will go a long way.

Everyone likes to be noticed and have their efforts and triumphs acknowledged. Be the person who lifts others up. They will remember you for it and, chances are, they will do the same for you in the future.

So how do I show my personality on LinkedIn?

Granted, we are not working all the time. We are still individuals with unique personalities, and we want people to notice that, too.

Here are some tips:

  • Be creative with your photos:  Having a cover photo that was taken outside might be a nice change from the typical office-background that your audience would expect to see from advisors. You can also use Canva.com to create a cover photo that includes your brand colors, tagline, and logo.
  • Write a blog: If you enjoy writing, think of an area you’re experienced in and share your thoughts. For example, if you’ve come up with a winning analogy to explain compound interest to your children, share that advice! If over the years, you’ve heard widowed clients express the same three regrets about their retirement savings, write a blog that spreads awareness. Your audience will appreciate and remember that you’ve helped them. Check out Diversified’s blog for inspiration!
  • Share articles: Share articles that you think will be helpful to your audience and become their go-to source for information on financial topics that you specialize in. And don’t just hit the “share” button. Remember to include your thoughts about the article you’re sharing.
  • Reflect on things: If you’ve recently had a career change, overcame a difficult situation at work, or succeeded at something, write a post about it. Share what you learned and how you grew. Your story can help others stay motivated. You don’t have to share the specifics, but showing your ability to learn and your willingness to help others by sharing knowledge will send your network a powerful message about who you are.
  • Join LinkedIn Groups: Find groups that represent your interests and engage in conversations with their members.

There are many ways to manage a LinkedIn presence but, ultimately, the big secret is to just be yourself and not being afraid to share what makes you unique. Hopefully these tips will help you figure out where to start.

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