Social media case study: How blogging is paying off for one advisor firm

Patrick Collins, a partner and managing director at Greenspring Wealth in Towson, MD, hadn’t given much thought about using social media until last year. He and his firm had been sharing information with clients the old fashioned way – you know, by phone, face-to-face and email.

“It (the blog) was really at the request of our clients,” Collins said. “We’d been sharing investment and market-related information internally for years. But we learned through discussions with clients and advisory boards that they were interested in this type of information.”

In February 2013, Greenspring Wealth launched an external blog, not knowing what to expect. So, I asked Collins to share his experiences blogging to give you an idea of what’s involved and where to focus. Read on for details…

Tailor your blog content toward your audience

“The goal of our blog is to share timely information,” Collins said. “We want to share information that’s of interest to our clients … information that will help them.”

Greenspring doesn’t have a formal social media strategy or content calendar, which I suggest, but Collins makes it work. The company’s blog posts focus on client questions, timely events, such as Black Friday, or changes in the market. Many of their blog posts include a graphic as well to give readers a visual cue, which is great to see.

“If we hear the same question from a few clients, we make it a blog post,” Collins said. “We also get blog topics from people we follow, including economists, money mangers and owners of other firms.”

Blog regulary to keep readers coming back

Collins writes 15-20 blog posts per month, which means he’s constantly writing and researching. He says he spends about 30-45 minutes a day reading blogs and researching various websites. He spends another 10-30 minutes actually writing a post, but it’s been worth it.

“All in all, it’s been a great success,” Collins says. “We’ve got a big group of clients that regularly read our content. It’s given us a lot of credibility in the marketplace and our web traffic is up 150 percent since February.

“Internally, it’s made us better advisors. We’re able to get out in front of trends and solidify our thoughts on certain topics, which we can then bring up on cue with clients or prospects,” Collins said. “As a team, we’re all on the same page and can share the same message with clients.”

Keep in mind that you don’t have to write 10-20 blog posts a month to get results. If you are just getting started, consider writing two posts a month to get your feet wet. You can always write more once you get a feel for the time involved; availability of topics; and results.

Repurpose your blog content to get the most out of it

Greenspring is extending the reach of its blog as well, which I suggest everyone do. The company’s blog posts are automatically sent to all staff via LinkedIn, who can share them with their connections. Collins and his staff also share links on Twitter and Google+ to drive traffic back to the blog. Finally, the top four blog posts each month get repurposed into an email that’s sent to a thousand clients.

Blogs showcase your thought leadership

Collins said their blog has really helped showcase Greenspring’s thought leadership and offered this advice to advisors or small business owners thinking about blogging:

  • Don’t expect immediate results – don’t expect results in the first six months, it’s a long-term play.
  • Don’t expect business from it, at least not directly – blogging is about educating your audiences and positioning yourself as a “go to” source. Once they trust and respect you, they will reach out to you.
  • Be passionate about it – make sure this is something you really want to do. It takes time and effort to research and write blog posts on a regular basis.
  • Leverage your blog – think about how you can leverage your content to get the most out of it.

Make your blog the foundation of your social media strategy

A blog should be a central component of any social media strategy. It’s the heart and soul of your business platform – your thoughts, opinions and ideas. So why not share these on a regular basis … and with more people. A blog allows you to do just that. If you’re interested in getting started, check out the numerous resources online, like this one.

Are you blogging? If so, do you have any success stories or tips to share? What prompted you to begin blogging? How did you get started? I’d love to hear your thoughts, so drop me a line in the comments or on Twitter.

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For more information, check me out on Twitter, where I regularly share social media tips, advice, trends and more, including how to build your business with social. Follow me at @jonferchen.

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