Let’s start with the basics. If you are not engaging people on social media as an adviser, it’s time to catch up. Most large companies are allowing it and if they are loosening the reins, that means that all advisers should be getting involved.

But as an adviser, your time is limited— perhaps more so if you’re out on your own, as I am. With so many social media outlets, where should you spend your time?

Here are a few tips:

1. Find out where your prospects spend their time. I specialize in working with teachers on financial planning, and teachers are primarily on Facebook and Pinterest. How do I know? I ask my wife, her teacher-friends, and any teacher I meet. As such, most of my social media efforts are on Facebook right now. I have yet to branch out into Pinterest because I’ve gotten good traction on Facebook so far.

2. Make sure your content is appropriate for the medium. Pinterest is for images; Twitter can spark conversations. (Make sure your tweets are brief but provide links to valuable content.) Facebook encompasses everything — images, video, articles and short comments. YouTube is strictly for video — but make sure it’s creative video, and not boring, sit-behind-your-desk video.

3. Guard your time carefully. Social media can easily suck you in. Set apart some dedicated time to post, discuss and learn — but then be sure to cut yourself off when the time is up. If you think you’ll have trouble with this, consider getting RescueTime software to help keep yourself focused and accountable.

4. Be yourself. Do you share your own stories in client meetings as your clients are getting to know you? If so, you should be doing this on social media as well. I posted a photo from my son’s birthday party on my company Facebook page and it’s the one post that has received the most interaction.

5. Have fun! Along with serious content to help teachers with their financial lives, I also post funny anecdotes about teachers on Facebook. They appreciate that I get humor that is related to their profession.

Social media is here to stay, but the beautiful thing is that there are many approaches to take. There is no wrong way, other than not getting involved at all.

 

Grant blogs for Financial Planning, a SourceMedia publication.

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