Advisors, using social media personally can help you better understand how to leverage it professionally

My dad and I don’t see eye to eye when it comes to technology. Simply put, I use it to do things faster, easier and cheaper. For example, my smartphone allows me to communicate, navigate, surf the web, play games, organize my life and do so much more. My dad, on the other hand, purchased a flip phone (for talking to friends), a GPS device (for navigation), a laptop computer (for emailing), and a camera. Really, dad? Isn’t it easier and more cost effective to have one device versus four?

I think so, which is why I’m passionate about using tools that help me do things faster, easier and cheaper. A smartphone is one of them, another is social media.

Social media can help you do things faster, easier and cheaper

Yes, I said social media can help you do things faster, easier and cheaper. People are using social media in so many ways these days – both personally and professionally – that it rivals the functionality and flexibility of smartphones. You just need to understand how to use these tools to gain efficiencies and value.

Advisors, however, are slow to adopt social media for a variety of reasons based on my experience. I can understand that as many broker-dealers limit or restrict your use, but that’s no longer an acceptable excuse. You can still use these tools personally to gain a better appreciation of how they work and the potential to your business.

6 practical uses of social media

Daily, you can use social media to:

  1. Gather news and information – Twitter and LinkedIn can help you stay on top of world news, local events, sports, politics and more. Consider using LinkedIn Discussion Groups to stay abreast of industry trends and best practices, or even participate in relevant conversations. Twitter lists allow you to receive information – from sources you select – from your favorite sports team(s), local news affiliates, home improvement gurus or anyone for that matter. Twitter lists are like having a customized newspaper with you at all times.
  2. Respond to customers/seek help – how many of you are tired of holding on the phone for a customer representative to help you? Well, now there’s a better way. Simply tweet your grievances at the company or person and see how fast many respond. It’s a more efficient way to get help and a growing trend. In fact, one study says that 78 percent of consumers believe social media is the next era of customer service. (Just be prepared and know, it goes both ways, your customers may take to Twitter if they see opportunities for you as well!)
  3. Recognize someone – Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are great tools to “recognize” good deeds. Again, just because you can’t endorse, Like or Favorite something as an advisor doesn’t mean you can’t thank a co-worker for helping you on a project; say ‘congratulations’ to a friend who got promoted; or post a note about the mechanic who fixed your car.
  4. Share a comment/opinion – have you noticed how many radio and television shows now encourage you to Tweet comments during the show? These shows want your input so they are reading Tweets during the show, soliciting feedback or suggesting you to Tweet to celebrities. ESPN, The Elvis Duran Show and Blacklist are just a sampling of the shows doing this.
  5. Ask for help/advice – we needed the services of a plumber recently, so my wife asked her Facebook friends. Within 15 minutes, we had names and phone numbers for three plumbers, all of whom came highly recommended. Beyond asking your friends, consider using social media to seek help from industry experts. Many experts blog regularly, sharing tips, tricks, best practices and more. Moreover, you can post comments or questions directly on these posts and speak to these experts yourself.
  6. Connect with new people – I’ve made so many new connections on Twitter and LinkedIn over the last few years by simply reaching out to people. I’ve had positive experiences Tweeting experts, celebrities and peers. Moreover, I now communicate regularly with some of them … and have even met several in person (after first meeting on Twitter).

As you can see, social media can help you do so many things. Again, it’s just knowing how and when to use the various social networks and what each social network offers (i.e. pros and cons). I’m confident it can help you too. You just have to be willing to get out of your comfort zone and see what it can do for you.

How are you using social media? What are you getting the most value from – personal or professional use? Do you agree that social media can help you do things faster, easier and cheaper? 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.

Insurance products and plan administrative services are provided by Principal Life Insurance Company, member of the Principal Financial Group® (The Principal®), Des Moines, IA 50392.

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