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What’s New on Social Media: July – September 2020

With social media platforms changing rapidly, it’s difficult to keep up with the latest features and policy changes. That’s why we’ve made it easy for you to stay up to date by creating a quarterly roundup of what’s new on major networking platforms — and how to use these updates to your advantage!

In the third quarter of 2020, social media platforms introduced more ways to stay connected while social distancing. In addition, Twitter and Facebook launched new platforms to encourage people to make informed decisions during the 2020 U.S. presidential election, while LinkedIn started preparing for a major overhaul and Instagram introduced a feature to compete with TikTok.

Read on for more noteworthy social media network changes from July to September 2020!

Facebook

Maximize Your Cross-Platform Efficiency With Facebook Business Suite

It’s now easier than ever to manage both your Facebook and Instagram Pages thanks to Facebook’s new Facebook Business Suite. This Suite serves as “a single place across mobile and desktop for businesses to access the tools they need to thrive across Facebook and Instagram.”

In the Business Suite, you can post (and draft and schedule posts), respond to messages, view Page insights, and manage ads for Facebook and Instagram in one place. Once you link your Facebook and Instagram business accounts to the Business Suite, you will be able to view updates like critical alerts, messages, comments, and other activity on Facebook and Instagram in one easy-to-access location.

To access Business Suite, log into the Facebook account that’s linked to your business Page. If eligible, you will automatically be redirected to Business Suite when you visit business.facebook.com on desktop.

Advisor Action Tip:

If you’re running a Facebook and Instagram Page, streamline your social media management by launching the Facebook Business Suite. That way, you can spend less time logging in to each separate app to manage your profiles and can, instead, see everything you need to know in one place. Learn how to get started with Facebook Business Suite here.

Live Broadcast And Hold Paid Events

Like many others, you may have moved your events into the virtual world during this time of self-isolation. To make it easier to hold events and to connect with your audience on its platform, Facebook now allows you to live broadcast your calls with up to 50 participants via Facebook Live. This live broadcasting is ideal for virtual events like speaker panels and networking events.

In addition, businesses, creators, educators, and media publishers can now earn money from their Facebook Events. Now, Page owners can create events, set prices, and collect payments all in Facebook Live. This is meant to help businesses and creators connect with their customers and audiences during this time of social distancing. Because of COVID-19, Facebook is waiving fees for paid online events for at least the next year, meaning that business owners can keep 100% of the revenue they earn from their events. To use the paid events feature, Pages must meet Facebook’s partner monetization policies

Advisor Action Tip:

If you’re hosting live webinars or events as part of your practice, consider Facebook as a new alternative to Zoom. If you want to host an event for 50 or fewer people, you could accomplish this on Facebook for free — and even earn some money while you’re at it if you qualify for hosting paid events. Learn ways to go live on Facebook, here.

LinkedIn

Never Mispronounce a Connection’s Name Again 

Have you ever prepared to meet with someone new, but didn’t know how to address them without risking mispronouncing their name? Well, now LinkedIn has a fix for that! 

In a brand-new feature, LinkedIn has introduced a tool that allows users to record short audio clips of themselves pronouncing their names for their profiles. Once the audio clip is added to a profile, users can click a speaker icon next to their name to hear how it’s pronounced.

Advisor Action Tip:

While this tool can be extremely useful when meeting new prospects and clients, don’t wait for them to do this first! Help those who will meet you, too, by recording your own clip for your profile. That way, when prospective clients come in to meet you, they can do it with confidence! For step-by-step instructions for adding your voice clip to your profile, click here.

Strengthen Your Community on Your Company Page

This quarter, LinkedIn introduced tools to help businesses strengthen their communities through their LinkedIn Pages. Pages now feature a new Community Tab, through which Admins can “connect [with] their employees, highlight upcoming events, and gain invaluable insight about their brand’s followers.” In this tab, you can also celebrate your team by highlighting key accomplishments and employee milestones like promotions, anniversaries, and new hires.

In addition, Pages now include an ‘Events’ tab where all of your “past, present, and upcoming events on LinkedIn” will live. If you’re taking advantage of LinkedIn’s live streaming capabilities, this is where you will find all of your past events!

Advisor Action Tip:

If you have a LinkedIn company Page, make sure your team members are listing themselves as employees so they have access to the Community Tab, where they can connect with their colleagues and celebrate the work you do together.

Lend a Hand to Your Network

This year, many people have encountered challenging times both professionally and personally. That’s why now is a great time to come together as a community and lend one another a helping hand. 

LinkedIn has now made it easier than ever to do just this with their “Helping Hand” feature. This feature allows users to publicize that they’re available to help out, all the while specifying the type of help they can provide — like general help, career coaching, referrals, or resume reviews.

Advisor Action Tip:

Building your social presence is all about engaging with your network in a meaningful way. This is a great time and opportunity to offer the resources and skills you have to help others who might be having a hard time. To get started, click the “Offer Help” button at the bottom of the post composer box to let your network know how you’re available to help! Here’s an example of someone who has offered to help:

 

Twitter

Conversation Settings

Twitter is now giving users more control over who engages with their tweets. After testing a conversation settings feature earlier this year, this feature is now available to everyone

With conversation settings, you can control who can reply to your tweets by selecting one of three options: everyone, only people you follow, or only people you mention. However, while this restricts users from replying directly to your tweet, they will still be able to retweet, quote retweet, and like your tweets.

Advisor Action Tip:

If your compliance restricts you from having comments on your tweets, this feature offers a great way to “turn off” replies or moderate who can respond. Even if you don’t need to restrict comments for compliance, knowing that this tool is available to you is always handy for controlling conversation on your tweets, if needed.

Instagram

Instagram Reels

This quarter, Instagram launched a new feature to take on the increasingly popular app, TikTok. The feature, called Instagram Reels, is “a new way to create and discover short, entertaining videos on Instagram,” which “gives people new ways to express themselves, discover more of what they love on Instagram and help anyone with the ambition of becoming a creator take center stage.”

With Reels, you can create videos to share on the platform by recording and editing 15-second “multi-clip” videos — which you can then enhance with audio, effects, and “new creative tools.” You can publish your Reels in your Feed, Story, or through Direct Messages, and can also share to Instagram’s Explore Page, should you choose.

Pinned Comments

Instagram is now rolling out a new feature that allows you to pin comments to the top of your posts’ comment feeds. With this feature, you can pin up to three comments to the top of a comment thread to “better control the tone of the comment thread through highlighting positivity and moderating more negative and abusive responses that show up below the pinned comment.” To pin a comment, simply swipe left on it to reveal comment options, which include reporting, deleting, replying, and pinning.

Advisor Action Tip:

Pinned comments could be a great addition to your Instagram post — from starting the conversation by pinning helpful comments or answers to a question you asked in your caption, or by setting the tone for the post by pinning positive feedback. Another way you could use pinned comments is to pin the hashtags for the posts to the top of the comment feed to create a cleaner-looking caption.

There is more news, click here for the full report

 

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What’s New on Social Media: April – June 2020

With social media platforms changing rapidly, it can be difficult to keep up with the latest features and policy changes. That’s why we’ve made it easy for you to stay up to date by creating a quarterly roundup of what’s new on major networking platforms.

In the second quarter of 2020, several social media platforms introduced features to help the world stay connected while staying apart during the COVID-19 crisis. For example, Facebook introduced new virtual meeting places with their “Workrooms’” and “Messenger Rooms,” while LinkedIn launched a feature that allows organizations to host virtual events. 

Read on for more noteworthy social media network changes from April to June 2020!

 

Facebook

 

Manage Your Activity

They say that the internet is forever, but now Facebook is making it easier for you to manage your presence on its platform so you can “more accurately reflect who you are today.” 

You can now archive or trash old posts or photos you no longer want on your profile in bulk through Facebook’s new ‘Manage Activity’ feature. With this feature, you can bulk-manage posts by using filters that will help you find content with specific people or from a specific date range. You can then choose to archive those posts or place them in the trash, where they’ll remain for 30 days before being deleted permanently. 

If you want to keep photos for yourself, users in the U.S. and Canada can also now save their photos and videos by exporting them to Google Photos. You can access this feature by going to Settings> Your Facebook Information> Transfer a Copy of Your Photos and Videos.

Virtual Meeting Spaces

Since more people are working from home than ever, Facebook has launched a feature that allows people to meet virtually with fewer limitations.

With their new “Workplace Rooms” and “Messenger Rooms,” up to 50 people can now video chat on Facebook without any time restrictions. 

With these rooms, you can:

  • Lock the room to prevent others from joining
  • Keep the room open for others to drop-in and join
  • Remove anyone who shouldn’t be on the call
  • Meet with no time limits

You can create or join a room from Instagram Direct, WhatsApp, Portal, Messenger, or Facebook.

Facebook has also launched a new Messenger app for MacOS and Windows. With the app, you can video chat from your computer to stay connected with loved ones around the world with unlimited and free group video calls.

With the app, you can also:

  • Make group video calls on your desktop’s larger screen
  • Call your Facebook contacts without having to know their email or phone number
  • Chat while multitasking on your computer
  • Receive notifications on your desktop
  • Sync your chats across your mobile device and desktop
  • Use Messenger’s Dark Mode and GIFs on your desktop

You can download the app today from the Microsoft Store or Mac App Store

 

LinkedIn

 

Away Messages

Attention premium LinkedIn users — soon you might be getting a new feature that allows you to set an automated “away message.” With this feature, if someone messages you while you’re away from your profile, an automatic message can be sent to keep your connections and prospective connections engaged until you have time to respond personally. 

LinkedIn Virtual Events

While companies might not be able to hold public events at the moment, they can now hold them virtually with LinkedIn’s new “LinkedIn Live Events” feature. When announcing the new feature, LinkedIn said that they integrated LinkedIn Events and LinkedIn Live to turn the two products into “a new virtual events solution that enables you to stay connected to your communities and meet your customers wherever they are.” With Live Events, businesses can host live streams for their Page followers or Event attendees. To get attendees for your event, you can share your event with your Page followers or send direct invitations to first-degree connections.

 

Twitter

 

Voice Recordings

In June, Twitter debuted a new way to tweet: using your voice. With its new audio tweet feature, you can now tweet up to 140 seconds of audio, which Twitter says will “create a more human experience for listeners and storytellers alike.” 

To make your own audio tweet, select the new wavelength icon in the compose section of Twitter and start speaking. If your audio tweet exceeds 140 seconds, Twitter will automatically start a new audio tweet, adding it to a thread below your original tweet. 

Read Before You Tweet

Have you ever re-tweeted an article without actually having read it? Now, Twitter is encouraging you to read before you Tweet. In a new feature introduced this quarter to “promote informed discussion” and help users to be more aware of what they’re sharing to inspire “healthier conversations,” users will now see new prompts to read their tweet and the linked article they’re retweeting before hitting send. However, this feature doesn’t stop you from retweeting a link without clicking to read it, but instead only suggests that you read what you’re sharing.

Tweet Scheduling

If you have a stash of ideas that you want to tweet, but aren’t ready to share just yet, you will soon be able to schedule your tweets! According to The Next Web, Twitter is rolling out a new scheduling feature to allow users to schedule tweets for specific dates and times. This feature will make it easier than ever to maintain an active account without having to log into the platform to manually tweet each time you want to tweet. Right now, the feature is only available for some users who are using the desktop version of the platform.

 

Instagram

 

Interaction Management

To help curb cyberbullying, Instagram launched new features to help you manage the interactions you have on its platform. 

One of the new features being rolled out will allow users to manage multiple unwanted interactions at once. With this feature, you can delete comments in bulk and block or restrict multiple accounts that post negative comments. 

Instagram has also announced that they will soon be testing a new “Pinned comments” feature to allow you to “amplify and encourage positive interactions” by pinning a comment to the top of a post’s comments feed. In addition, Instagram has begun to release new controls to allow you to manage who can tag or mention you in a comment, caption, or Story. These controls will give you the option to allow everyone to mention or tag you, only people you follow, or no one. 

Live Donations

Thanks to Instagram’s new Live Donations feature, you can now raise money for your favorite nonprofit from the comfort of your home. With this new feature, you can host virtual fundraisers through Instagram Live with “Live Donations,” through which 100% of the money raised will go directly to the nonprofit of your choice. During your Live Donations broadcast, you will be able to see in real-time how many people are supporting your fundraiser and the amount you’ve raised.

 

That’s it for now! To learn about even more social media changes from Q2, read our full report for April to June 2020 on Influencer Academy.

 

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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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The Financial Advisor’s Quick Guide to Using LinkedIn Hashtags

What used to be known solely as the “pound sign” is now social media’s most ubiquitous little symbol.

The mighty hashtag: #

Whether hashtags are used on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn, their main function remains the same — to categorize topics of social media posts. 

In this blog, I will uncover what financial advisors have to gain from including hashtags in their LinkedIn posts, how to choose which hashtags to use, and best practices to guide you.

First things first… 

 

Why should advisors use hashtags?

Did you know that a single keystroke can help more people discover your content on LinkedIn? 

That’s right — adding hashtags to your posts might be the easiest way to increase the visibility of your expertise. 

This perk is made possible by LinkedIn’s option for people to “follow” hashtags.

Say you decide to include #PersonalFinance in your post. Now your post will show up in the feed of everyone who is following that hashtag, regardless of whether or not you’re connected to them. 

Even people who aren’t following #PersonalFinance could discover your post if they search for that specific hashtag. 

Here’s a glimpse of what happened after I searched for #PersonalFinance.

Although my screenshot only includes one post, LinkedIn gave me numerous posts to scroll through. I can now choose to sort the #PersonalFinance search results by “top” or “recent.” 

As I mentioned earlier, using hashtags might be the easiest way to organically expand your reach and gain new followers of your expertise. Adding hashtags to your LinkedIn posts automatically makes them searchable and discoverable to potential clients who are looking for information on the specific topic that you cover in your content. 

There are also benefits to following hashtags. For example, if you have a podcast, you can keep an eye on hashtags that might introduce you to potential podcast guests. 

For instance, if you’re looking for a subject expert on long-term care insurance, you might follow the hashtags #LongTermCareInsurance to scope out potential guests and then strike a conversation with them through LinkedIn messaging. 

How to choose your hashtags

There isn’t a magical way to choose which hashtags to use. Unless you consider looking at your content from your audience’s eyes to be a bit of magic. 

When considering which hashtags to include in your posts, ask yourself: 

 

  • What is the main topic of my content? What are the subtopics?
  • Does my topic cover any current events or financial news?
  • Who is my audience?
  • Is my topic meant for a specific demographic? Is it related to a specific geographical area?
  • What keywords might my audience use to search for information on this subject? Are there popular abbreviations? What are the layman’s terms? 

 

If I were to write a post that promotes this blog, I would consider using any of these hashtags: #MarketingTips, #LinkedInMarketing, #DigitalMarketing, #FinancialAdvisors

During your hashtag hunt, use LinkedIn’s search bar to see how many followers different hashtags have.

While the number of followers for most hashtags will fluctuate, we notice that #FinancialAdvisors tends to have more followers than #Advisors. In order to get the highest visibility possible, we tend to use the former in our LinkedIn posts.

 

 

As you can see in this example, Top Advisor Marketing’s founder, Kirk Lowe, chose three popular hashtags for maximum reach. 

Another approach to choosing hashtags is to mix it up: Use some hashtags that are extremely popular with millions of followers and others that have a modest number of followers in the thousands. Include hashtags that are well-followed, but don’t waste time scrutinizing over numbers.

 

Best practices for using hashtags on LinkedIn

You can probably tell by now that using hashtags on LinkedIn doesn’t have to be complicated. First and foremost, it requires you to be thoughtful about your content and how to make it discoverable for your audience. 

Style and formatting is another important piece to consider. 

Make your LinkedIn posts ultra readable, clean-looking, and appealing by following these best practices:

 

  • Use 3-5 hashtags per post
  • Do not place spaces between words in hashtags
    • ✘ #Personal Finance
    • ✓ #PersonalFinance
  • Do not include symbols or punctuation within hashtags
    • ✘ #401(k)
    • ✓ #401k
  • This one’s a matter of preference, but we recommend capitalizing multi-word hashtags for easy readability and to ensure they’re read correctly
    • Example: #EstatePlanning
  • We suggest adding your hashtags to the end of your posts, as Kirk did in the example above, rather than as part of your text
  • Only use hashtags that are relevant to your content’s topic
  • Use a branded hashtag in order to build a following for it, but do not use only that hashtag. To help more people find your posts, use your branded hashtag in tandem with well-known hashtags, as shown in the example below with our branded hashtag #BeYourOwnLoud

The mighty hashtag is certainly your market strategy’s friend; it’s a no-cost way to get your expertise in front of more and new people on LinkedIn. 

Whether you’re completely new to hashtags or looking to make refinements, I hope this blog has served as a helpful guide to you. I wish you great success as you boost your visibility and uncover new opportunities by using LinkedIn hashtags.

 

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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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What’s New on LinkedIn: August – October 2019

LinkedIn is constantly changing. It can be hard to keep up with the latest features and policy changes, so we’ve made it easy for you to stay up to date by creating a quarterly roundup of what’s new on this professional networking platform.

Over the past few months, LinkedIn has worked to make expanding your network offline easier than ever and has also improved its platform for job hunters and recruiters alike.

Read on for more noteworthy LinkedIn changes that happened from August to October 2019.

 

LinkedIn Events

According to LinkedIn’s research, people are twice as likely to accept connection requests from people they’ve met face-to-face. So, to help you meet other users in-person and take your professional networking to the next level, LinkedIn has introduced a new feature to its site: LinkedIn Events.

With LinkedIn Events, you can now create and join professional events. You can also:

    • Invite your connections
    • Manage your event
    • Converse with other attendees
    • Keep in touch after the event
    • Create private events
    • Use filters to find the right attendees
    • Track attendees and invites
    • Post updates
    • And more!

To create your own event, all you have to do is visit the Community panel on the left side of your news feed and click the +Create button. You can then create a description of your event, assign a date, time, and venue, and invite connections using filters like location, company, industry, and school. 

To keep your attendees updated with the latest news around your event, LinkedIn has also added an algorithm that “automatically provides timely and relevant notifications to attendees to make sure they don’t miss any important updates about your event.” 

If you’re not up to hosting your own professional event, no need to worry! You can find other users’ professional events to attend under your My Network tab.

 

Skills Showcase

LinkedIn has always been a platform where users can showcase their professional experience and skills. Now, users can back up just how great they are and prove their expertise with LinkedIn’s new Skills Showcase

This past quarter, LinkedIn launched LinkedIn Skill Assessment, a new way for users to validate their skills. Users can take assessments for various skills that have been created in partnership with LinkedIn Learning and subject matter experts. To pass, you must be in the 70th percentile or above, and only you will be able to see your results. If you don’t pass, you can keep your score private and try again at a later time. However, if you do pass, you will be awarded with a badge, which you can choose to display on your profile in LinkedIn Recruiter and LinkedIn Jobs. If you’ve passed an assessment for an in-demand skill, LinkedIn will additionally send you job recommendations as soon as they’re posted.

According to LinkedIn, making use of Skills Showcase can even help job seekers find a new position, as the platform has stated that “early results show candidates who complete LinkedIn Skill Assessments are significantly more likely (~30%) to get hired.” 

You can access assessments in the Skill section of your profile. Taking skill assessments will also unlock relevant LinkedIn Learning courses for free for a limited time to help you improve your skills. Assessments are currently available for skills like Adobe Photoshop, Java, Microsoft Excel, C++, and more.

 

Service Provider & Freelancer Search

Over the past few months, LinkedIn has made it easier for freelancers and those in need of a service to find one another on its platform. If you’re looking to hire a freelancer or service provider, you can now filter searches in the LinkedIn search bar by service providers, and LinkedIn will then provide you with a list of providers who have indicated that they are “open for business” and who fit your search criteria. 

You can also get recommendations from your network and the LinkedIn community for service professionals and freelancers by using the “find an expert” button in the share box when making a post. After sharing your post, your audience will then be able to comment directly on the post by tagging people, or they can share their recommendations with you through a private message.

 

LinkedIn Pages

This quarter, LinkedIn introduced new features to Pages to help companies make the most of their employees on the platform. Some of the new Pages features include:

  • Employee Notifications
    • Page Admins can now alert employees about important posts on their company Page. This feature will encourage and make it easier for employees to engage with their company on the platform and to share company content with their network. However, to prevent overuse of the feature, LinkedIn has limited notifications to once every seven days
  • Kudos and Team Moments
    • Page Admins now have a new custom content format called Kudos and Team Moments. This feature was built specifically “to welcome new team members, spotlight outstanding work, and recognize the people behind an organization’s pivotal moments.” Companies who use Kudos and Team moments may be perceived as more human and personable to prospective customers and employees. 
  • Completion Meter
    • To make it easier for admins to maximize the effectiveness of their Page, there is now a new personalized completion meter on Pages. This meter identifies incomplete or missing fields and alerts admins to new features to encourage them to make their Pages as complete as possible.

 

LinkedIn Advertising

As usual, LinkedIn has continued to upgrade its targeting tools for advertisers. Over the past few months, LinkedIn introduced new features that are meant to “help marketers who are looking for more powerful reach and insights for their LinkedIn campaigns.”

Among some of the changes made is the improved campaign forecasting panel in Campaign Manager. Now you can see your target audiences’ make-up right from your dashboard. You can also customize the panel to “surface specific professional characteristics” for your audience, like top industries, years of experience, or company sizes. 

LinkedIn has also reported that the updated forecasting panel works with Matched Audiences to “not only [serve] ads to the specific prospects you’re trying to reach, but that you’ll have the demographic insights to deliver the content and creative mix that will resonate with them.” 

Another new feature for advertisers is boolean targeting. LinkedIn stated that using “And/Or” targeting allows advertisers to reach the right audience “through more sophisticated combinations of profile facets like job function, seniority, and titles” within a single campaign. Boolean targeting also provides advertisers with greater flexibility to determine who sees their ads. 

LinkedIn’s demographic reporting has also been improved and now allows advertisers to “understand which audiences are watching [their] video ads, filling out [their] Lead Gen Forms, and opening [their] Sponsored InMail messages.” This data gives advertisers a better understanding of the performance of their campaigns so they can make strategic adjustments to get better results from their ideal audiences.

 

That’s it for now! We’ll be back next quarter with more LinkedIn updates. In the meantime, you can find our full LinkedIn changes report for August through October 2019 on AdvisorU.

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3 Wasted LinkedIn Opportunities

Did you know that LinkedIn can be a highly effective prospecting tool for advisors? 

LinkedIn is 277% more effective in generating leads than Twitter and Facebook, according to a Hubspot study. The study points out that LinkedIn users who visit websites come in more qualified and ready to buy

That’s right — LinkedIn may be the most efficient lead generation tool in the land of social media. So don’t leave any LinkedIn leaf unturned! Read on to learn about three big wasted opportunities and learn how to turn it all around.

 

1. You’re not sending a message when inviting someone to connect with you

 

Whether you’re reaching out to a center of influence (COI) that you met at a conference or a prospect that you found by using Sales Navigator, don’t you dare leave that message field blank. 

If you’ve already met this potential LinkedIn connection, use the message space to:

  • Remind them of how you met if you think it’s necessary
  • Reiterate how great it was to meet them
  • Pay them a compliment (e.g. “I was really impressed by your presentation, I was particularly intrigued when you said that…”)
  • Suggest another meeting or express the desire to keep in touch

Most advisors aren’t fazed by writing a message to someone they’ve already met. It’s writing to a cold prospect that seems more daunting. But this task becomes a lot easier when you have a template that you can customize.

Start by plugging these two talking points into your messages to prospects:

 

    1. Mention something you have in common from the get-go. Examples: they graduated from the same college as you, they work in an industry that you have experience with, you’ve volunteered for the same or similar organizations, etc.
    2. Explain why you are connecting with them. When you’re upfront about wanting to share your expertise, the prospects who connect with you will be more qualified than those who accept your connection based on a vague message.

 

Here’s an example of a message to a prospect, which you can use as a template:

 

Hi [first name],

I noticed you’re also a graduate of [insert name of your college]! I’m reaching out because I work with a lot of [College Name] alumni who are eager to create hyper goals-focused financial plans.

I’d like to share ideas with you on [insert your proudest offering here] from time to time. Hoping we can connect. Have a great day!

[Your Name]

 

 

2. You’re not making use of LinkedIn’s search features

Did you know that you can use LinkedIn’s search bar to see what your connections are talking about? 

On the desktop version of LinkedIn, find the search bar on the top left on your screen. It’ll be on the top middle of the LinkedIn app.

Click on the magnifying glass icon. A drop-down menu will appear with several filtering options, as shown in the image below. Select “Content.”

LinkedIn Image #1

LinkedIn will bring you to a new page. Now you can enter a keyword into the search bar and LinkedIn will show you all the posts that include that word. You can sort the posts by date, relevancy, connections’ industries, company names, and more. 

This is an excellent feature for seeking out COIs that could complement your expertise and bring value to your clients. 

If I were an advisor, I might search the term “divorce” to see if any divorce attorneys have created new content that they can discuss with me on my podcast or with my audience during a seminar. 

On that note, if I knew for sure that I wanted to seek out divorce attorneys, I could select “People” instead of “Content” and then type “divorce attorneys” in the search bar. LinkedIn would then generate a list of all the divorce attorneys that are in my network.

Play around with the search-bar features. This could be a good prompt for you to start relationships with COIs, reconnect with ones you haven’t talked to a while, and then combine forces to bring your clients well-rounded guidance. 

 

3. You’re not being generous enough

 

Let me ask you this: Are you trying to lure people in by giving them just a taste of your expertise? 

Stop the bait-and-switch approach start telling people everything you know. Why? Because you become important in someone’s world once they realize you know a lot. (Our founder Kirk really brings this point home in episode 196 of our podcast.)

This goes for everything you create, which might include blogs, white papers, podcasts, and videos. Pour your knowledge into these mediums and then share all of it with abandon on LinkedIn.

Put succinctly, start posting that stuff.

You can even post your entire white paper or a presentation on LinkedIn. On their desktop version, you can upload PDFs, slides, papers, and reports, which your connections can then download as a PDF.

To upload your documents to LinkedIn, click on the paper icon to the far left of the box that you normally type in to create a post. 

LinkedIn Image #2

I recommend sharing your seminar presentations and any slides that you show to new clients during the onboarding process. This is about giving people full access to your expertise so they realize that you have the answers to their biggest financial challenges. 

To make sharing your expertise sustainable and efficient, use a scheduler like Hootsuite to schedule LinkedIn posts. When you’re writing your posts, be sure to emphasize how your content solves your prospects’ challenges and then wrap it up with a strong call-to-action.

In addition to posting, send messages to your connections that include your content, such as specific episodes of your podcast. This probably goes without saying, but make sure the episode is relevant to that person. Instead of blasting out the same episode with a generic message, tell the person why you think they would find your episode about college-saving strategies helpful. 

There you have it! I hope you will take these LinkedIn pointers and run with them. Start making the most of this prospect-rich platform today!

 

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10 Social Media Tools to Elevate Your Team’s Skills

Communication has fundamentally changed. 

As an advisor, you must communicate with your clients and prospects in the medium they prefer, while they are there. This is the truth we live with today. 

I’m talking about getting your firm active on social media.

There are many companies out there who will take care of this for you. They will post for you, engage with your audience, run ads — well, they will pretty much be you online. You can pay anywhere from a small monthly fee to a large retainer for that level of service. 

But consider these two questions before you pay for a social media service. 

Do you really want to outsource? Or would you rather have things handled in-house where you can have more control over who you and your company are online?

If you’ve answered “yes,” to the latter, I totally understand. But where do you find people best suited for the job?

The best thing you can do is hire someone locally who knows your business model, your industry’s rules and regulations, and the best social media platform for communicating to your ideal clients. 

You can find these people but it is hard; they are highly sought after and, most of the time, they come at a premium. If you want to go down this path, post your job on ziprecruiter.com and LinkedIn.  

Once you’ve hired your social media specialist, pay them well, show them a lot of appreciation, let them do what they do, and understand that they don’t need to be sitting at a desk for eight hours every day to do their job. Give them flexibility. 

Sometimes you get lucky and you already have this person in-house. You might even be looking at them over your computer monitor right now. You know this person, you like this person, and, the best thing is, you trust this person. 

So how can you get them trained to do this new social media job? 

Here are some great places to start with social media training:

 

Free

  1. Google SEO and Analytics  
  2. Facebook Advertising 
  3. Instagram for Business
  4. Twitter for Business
  5. How to Use Hootsuite 
  6. Advisor-Centric Social Media Resources  

 

Paid

  1. Basic–Advanced Hootsuite Certifications ($99-$999)
  2. Digital Marketer NanodegreeDigital Marketing NanoDegree ($999)
  3. Boot Camp Digital Social Media Certification ($997)
  4. Advisor-Specific Digital MarketerTraining ($799 with an optional monthly office-hours option for $79/ month)

 

I hope these resources help your social media specialist embark on their role with enthusiasm, creativity, and confidence. Happy learning!

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What’s New on LinkedIn: May – July 2019

Social media platforms like LinkedIn are constantly changing. It can be hard to keep up with the latest features and policy changes, so we’ve made it easy for you to stay up to date by creating a quarterly roundup of what’s new on this professional networking platform.

Over the past few months, LinkedIn has updated its ever-changing algorithm, continued to improve its Pages, and has tweaked its advertising objectives to cater to more parts of the marketing funnel.

Read on for more noteworthy LinkedIn changes that happened from May to July 2019.

 

LinkedIn Growth

According to the latest statistics, LinkedIn is still on the rise. Microsoft recently released its latest quarterly report, and LinkedIn’s revenue increased by 25% during the last quarter, bringing in $371 million. The platform also garnered “record levels of engagement,” and had a 22% growth in sessions. On top of that, LinkedIn also announced that they now have over 630 million professionals on their network and over 34 million Pages have been created on their platform. 

 

Algorithm Changes

Over the past few months, LinkedIn made changes to its algorithm to help promote posts that encourage community-building. The algorithm that chooses which content will appear in feeds now incorporates the “prediction of professional conversation contribution” when selecting candidates. This algorithm is designed to better capture “the community-building aspect” of each update on the feed.

 

New Features

Here are some of the new features that LinkedIn introduced to its platform over the past few months:

  • You can now tag people in photos
  • In addition to “liking” someone’s post, you can now use reactions like celebrate, love, insightful, curious, and more 
  • You can now share videos in messages
  • You can now share PDFs and slides on the main feed, in groups, or in Pages

 

Pages

One of the more notable changes to LinkedIn Pages this quarter was the introduction of new call-to-action (CTA) buttons. You can now add a custom CTA button to your page, using one of the five button options: Contact us, Learn More, Register, Sign Up, or Visit Website. 

Along with the CTA buttons, LinkedIn has also introduced an analytics dashboard that shows Page admins how many visitors are clicking the buttons. If you’re interested in using this feature, you can find the click-through analytics on the left-hand side of your Page Admin homepage in your Dashboard or at the top of your Visitor Analytics tab.

 

Advertising

This quarter, LinkedIn introduced three new objectives to Campaign Manager: Brand Awareness, Website Conversions, and Job Applications. 

  • Advertisers can increase their share-of-voice by using the Brand Awareness objective, which features campaigns that charge by impressions (e.g., cost per thousand or CPM)
  • The Website Conversions objective allows advertisers to create campaigns that are optimized for specific actions on their websites (e.g., purchases, downloads, event registration, etc.)
  • The Job Applicants objective allows advertisers to make ads to drive applications either on LinkedIn or on their own website

That’s it for now! We’ll be back next quarter with more LinkedIn updates. In the meantime, you can find our full LinkedIn changes report for May through July 2019 on AdvisorU.

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How to Write Social Media CTAs That People Actually Respond To

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What is a call-to-action (CTA)?

Frankly, a call-to-action tells people what you want them to do.

Sound bossy?

It isn’t. Or maybe it kind of is, but people want to be told what to do, especially when they’re going to benefit from taking that action.

Worried about being too sales-y?

Don’t be.

Focus on creating high-quality content that offers people value. And then direct people to it.

How to know you’re bringing value

Before you create any content, whether it’s a podcast, blog, or infographic, create it with the purpose of solving your clients’ internal issues (i.e. pain points). The bottom line is that people don’t buy services — they buy outcomes.

To pinpoint your clients’ internal issues, consider how they feel before enlisting your services. They might be anxious, overwhelmed, or bored.

How do they feel after receiving your service? They are confident, relieved, and reinvigorated.

To learn how to articulate what your clients HAVE and FEEL before and after working with you, I strongly recommend that you go through an exercise called “The 8-Question ‘Before/After’ Grid” in this article.

Keeping your clients’ before-and-after experiences at the forefront of your mind is not only important in your approach to content creation. It’s essential for writing social media posts that people actually act on.

What does a CTA look like?

No one wants to write a blog that doesn’t get read or record a podcast that people don’t listen to. I reiterate that nobody wants that! So don’t let your efforts drop after creating high caliber content that solves your clients’ internal issues.

Go all the way. Lead people to your content with a compelling CTA.

When you start using CTAs, you will be in good company.

CTAs are everywhere, prompting us to act. They’re on website landing pages, email newsletters, and social media posts. They often appear at the end of webinars, seminars, and podcasts when the host encourages their audience to contact them and tells them exactly how to do it.

Here’s a little roundup of CTAs you’ve likely seen before…

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Most of these examples hail from social media posts, which is what I’ll focus on in this blog. The first and last examples are from our friends at Twenty Over Ten who know their way around a good CTA. Check out their website and any of their social media channels for CTA inspiration.

Did you catch that CTA I just gave you?

(Ten points for me if you click on the links.!)

Your CTA vocabulary

Can you spot the CTAs that appear in the images above?

A few of them are Get started, Join now, and Get Tickets.

Here are CTAs that financial advisors and their marketers are probably familiar with…

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Call our office today

Let’s talk

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Book your appointment today

See how we plan

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Discover our planning process

Find a financial advisor

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You may have included some of these CTAs in your digital communications, especially on your website. And I bet if you’re an advisor, you’ve sent an email or LinkedIn message that said something like, “Let’s set up a time to meet.”

Right?

That’s definitely a CTA.

Now let’s expand your CTA vocabulary. These are keywords that you can use in your social media posts, but don’t feel limited! There are hundreds of CTAs out there, but I think these ones are most relevant to advisors.

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Call today

Click for more

Comment below

Download for free

Download now

Click here

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Find out more

Get exclusive access

Get your copy today

Immediate download here

Learn more

Listen now

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Register today

Reserve your spot now

Start here

Tune in today

Visit our

Visit us at

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State the benefits of following your CTA

Write social media posts that pass what conversion copywriter Todd Clarke calls the

“So what?” test.

Your audience only cares about how they can benefit from your content. What’s in it for me?

So don’t waste valuable space by using jargon or talking about what your business does.

Tell people what they will get out of whatever it is you want them to do — read your blog, listen to your podcast, download your new white paper. So again, focus on how people will FEEL, plus what they will HAVE after they follow your CTA.

In other words, highlight the incentives for people and then give them a clear direction to click on your link.

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In this example, business coach Kelly Roach piques her audience’s attention by asking a question that addresses what people will get out of joining her Facebook group: They will learn how to write a book, which will enable them to generate passive income and attract high-end clients.

And then Kelly tells her audience how she’s going to deliver that information: “I’m opening a popup Facebook group to help you…Check it out!” ←CTA

Nice one, Kelly!

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Spark a sense of urgency

Plug in power words that inspire people to act NOW.

For example, instead of saying Call us, say Call now.

If you’re promoting your webinar, seminar, or e-course, create a sense of urgency in your audience by saying, Register now and save your spot.

After all, no one wants to miss out!

Here’s a post that urges people to act quickly and brings into play some of our favorite tech concepts — emoji .

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Writing CTAs for your podcast

Now I want to talk specifically about writing CTAs for your podcasts. It is not enough to post your episode on social media and then just use a quote from the podcast as your copy (in other words, no CTA).

I know, a lot of people do it.

But would you click on that link?

Maybe if the podcaster is a celebrity you like (or love to hate) or someone you know.

Otherwise, you probably wouldn’t.

Instead, tell your audience what they will learn from listening to your podcast. How will they benefit? Remember, your post must pass the “So what?” test.

Let’s Practice

Do you write outlines for your podcasts before you record them? These could be in the form of mind maps (perhaps by using an online tool like Mindmeister) or in a series of bullet points in a Google document.

Or if you’re the type to wing it, we can make that work too.

Just jot down your key points after the recording. If you have a mind map or transcript, highlight them.

At the end of the day, all you’re looking for is a collection of deliverables (i.e. How will listeners benefit? What will they learn?), which you will incorporate into your social media posts.

Keep in mind that you will write multiple posts to promote each podcast episode. So mix things up with your copy; experiment with listing ALL of the benefits a listener will receive in one post and emphasize ONE big takeaway in another.

Let’s try a couple of posts…

Example #1: Your podcast is about allowance and at one point in your recording, you give guidelines for how much allowance to give children based on age.

Listener’s point-of-view: “I feel stressed because I don’t know if I’m giving my teenagers a realistic amount of money for their allowance. One of them is 14 years old and the other is 17. Is $10/week reasonable? Agh!”

Social media copy: Put your hand up if you’re a parent who’s trying to figure out how much allowance to give your kids. As parents, we wonder if we’re giving them too little or WAY too much. Solve your dilemma once and for all. Tune in now and learn how to set your kids’ allowance: [add your podcast link here]

Example #2: Your podcast is about options for employees who’ve maxed out their 401(k)s. You emphasize that people can continue saving money for retirement and then discuss pros and cons for each option.

Listener’s point-of-view: “I maxed out my 401(k) for the year, but I want to keep saving for retirement. I don’t know what to do now. Help!”

Social media copy: Have you maxed out your 401k for the year? Congratulations! Now it’s time to explore other retirement-saving options. Click the link to discover your next strategy: [add your podcast link here]

Be a problem solver for your listeners. They will appreciate it and keep coming back for more!

What now?

Dive in and start adding CTAs to your social media posts! Remember to clearly express how people will benefit from your content and what they should do next. You’ve got this!

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