Social selling is the concept of using social media to find, connect with, understand, and nurture prospects.
Social Selling: How to do it with “E’s”
If you’re not active in the digital world and on social media, you've not only missed the boat, you can't even see the boat. The boat is long gone and you’re are stuck on land. According to Statistica.com, 79% of Americans have a social media profile. So, if you’re not currently using social selling, it means you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to get your financial practice out in front of potential clients.
But you're in luck: There’s a second boat coming to pick you up and take you to Social Selling Island.
Social selling is the concept of using social media to find, connect with, understand, and nurture prospects. The intention of social selling is to develop relationships with prospects so you’re the advisor a prospect thinks of when they are ready to have an advisor.
I didn't create the concept of social selling. I could try to take credit and hope you don't Google it. Instead, I'll say I've created a simple method. I call it a method instead of a formula because social selling is an art, not a science. Here are my four steps to implement social selling.
Exist – Create a profile that attracts your target audience
Let's imagine you’re going to host a party. What do you do before everyone arrives? You clean your house! Imagine your social media profile is your house; it's the first impression. Don't leave dirty laundry around and decor half finished. Have a professional profile picture (please, no selfies) and have a complete bio.
Don't know how to write about yourself? Break it down into three parts:
- Tell them what you do – sell the sizzle, not the steak
- Tell them why you do it – other than the pay and the schedule, why do you do what you do?
- Tell them something about you – such as your family or hobbies
Evolve – Grow your network
Your first instinct may be to start posting content. Wrong! You might as well open your office window and start shouting and hope that someone hears you. Instead, gather an audience to hear your message. Some quick tips to grow your audience:
- Perform LinkedIn searches for your ideal connections
- Follow others on Twitter
- Include your social media links on your email signature
- Announce your social media networks in your email newsletter
- Post content relevant to your audience (see step 4)
Engage – Show interest in your network's activity
Now you have a profile and you have some connections, so it's time to start posting content. Wrong! By posting content, you're asking someone to do you a favor. Instead, start the relationship by being a giver. Great pic! Thanks for sharing! Cool article! I'm glad to see you're doing well!
Social media brings out the vanity in us all, so play into it. It can make someone's day to see that “thumbs up” notification.
Here's my challenge for you: Schedule 15 minutes each day to engage with your network. Do it while you're standing in line for coffee. Do it while you take a break between calls or meetings.
Educate – Show you are a well-rounded thought leader
Is it time to post content? Yes! People do business with people they know, like, and trust. Don't just share financial articles or "call me today" content. Your audience will change the channel.
- Know: Share links to your website, explain the services you provide that can help them, and familiarize them with your brand
- Like: Show pictures of your family and what you do on weekends; in other words, convince them you aren’t a robot
- Trust: Prove your practice’s credibility by sharing your blogs, curated articles, and videos you've recorded. If you don’t have a blog, here’s an article that can get you started in four easy steps
You've reached the end of the “E’s,” but the social selling isn’t over. It's like a step mill—the steps keep coming back around. Review your profile twice per year, continue to connect with people, engage with your network, and review your content's performance. Here is your bonus “E” – Evaluate! Look at your key metrics: number of connections or followers, the amount of engagement on your content, and more.
LinkedIn even has a way for you to measure your social selling activities (My score is 84, no big deal).
These tips are simple and doable. Keep it simple and you'll find social media success.
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You should consult your compliance department for information about the rules and use of social media and the review of any and all advisor marketing materials.
David Buzo is the Assistant Vice President, Digital Marketing. He joined LPL Financial in March 2018. He is responsible for the day-to-day of the Marketing Solutions (formerly VCMO) Program.