Twitter Your Way to New Clients, Part One
If you watch TV, listen to the radio or spend any time on the internet, it is almost impossible to avoid hearing about Twitter. But what exactly is Twitter and how can a financial advisor use it as a marketing tool? For those of you completely unfamiliar with Twitter, it is a micro-blogging site that allows you to send an update to your network in 140 characters or less. In other words, it is a site that allows you to tell everyone who is “following” you what you are doing or thinking. It’s just that simple. But how does it help you market your business? The great thing about Twitter is that it introduces you to people who you would otherwise never meet. It allows you develop relationships with people from the comfort of your home or office. You can even use it to further relationships with people you meet in “real life.” Just as you would probably “link in” someone you met at a networking event through LinkedIn, you can “follow” that same person on Twitter. If both people are active users, this can be a great relationship building tool.
This week’s blog is dedicated to helping all of you not currently using Twitter get started using it as a marketing tool. Since this is a lengthy topic, I’m going to break it down into two parts over two weeks. Part One addresses how to build your network on Twitter while Part Two will discuss how to get your message across to prospects and centers of influence. So without further ado, let’s talk about building your network.
Find People You Know
Once you decide to join Twitter, you’ll find yourself frustrated by the blank page in front of you. You’ll have no messages and you’ll have no followers. It is at the point you’ll say to yourself, “This is ridiculous, I’m not doing this.” Don’t give up! The first thing you should do is go to the “Find People” page and either manually search for people by name or have Twitter search your email account for possible connections. Once you are following a few people, look to see who those people are following and who is following them. If you find someone interesting, follow that person as well. Most likely, that person will decide to follow you back and you’ll be well on your way to developing a relationship.
Search for New People
If you are looking to expand your network beyond those people you already know, use search.twitter.com. This site will help you find people by searching for keywords in their messages (aka tweets). For example, a friend of mine owns a restaurant in Point Loma, a neighborhood in San Diego. He uses search.twitter.com to find people tweeting about Point Loma and follows them since he knows they visit or live in the area. These people generally follow him back because they are familiar with the restaurant. You can do the same for your business; you just need to think outside the box when searching. Think of restaurants, areas, events, clubs or activities your ideal client or COI might discuss. For example, when I searched for Morgan Run, which is a private golf course in San Diego, it brought up two women who were attending a SCORE meeting there, which is a small business association. If small business women were my target market, I would follow these people and then look to see who they were following to further expand my network. As you can imagine, this takes some effort, but if you dedicate the time, you’ll soon have a robust network.
Be Recommend to New People
Another way to build your Twitter network is to follow Mr. Tweet (twitter.com/MrTweet). By doing this, Mr. Tweet will send you an automated message with a link to other people you may want to follow based on who your network is following. This is a great way to expand your network without having to come up with new search terms to use on search.twitter.com.
Organically Grow Your Network
If you want to further expand your network, add your Twitter address to you email signature, your LinkedIn page, your website, or anywhere else you can possibly imagine. As Twitter becomes more popular, and it is growing by leaps and bounds each day, your network will organically grow just by publicizing your address.
A Question of Compliance
Next week I will address how to effectively communicate through Twitter, but since I’m guessing some of you will want to go out and open an account between now and then, I wanted to address the issue of compliance. Many people often ask me about the compliance issues surrounding social media marketing. I don’t have a strong compliance background, so I looked for advice from a fellow Twitterer, @BillWinterberg. Here is an excerpt from Bill Winterberg, CFP®‘s blog FP Pad where he addresses his understanding of the compliance issues regarding Twitter:
Websites like Twitter, LinkedIn, and blogs present compliance issues for registered representatives subject to FINRA regulations. All reps must obtain approval from the broker/dealer compliance department before posting anything on the Internet, as postings are considered advertisements.
FINRA has published guidelines for use of the Internet by registered representatives of broker/dealers. It’s worth reading if you are affiliated with a broker/dealer.
The SEC has similar guidelines that govern advertisements, including postings to public Internet forums. However, investment advisers are generally responsible for self-supervision by Chief Compliance Officers. In my opinion, investment advisers not subject to FINRA regulations have quite a bit more flexibility when using Internet and social networking websites.
This is just one person’s opinion so I definitely recommend you speak with your Chief Compliance Officer or compliance department before doing anything on Twitter. Once you get the okay, visit the Financial Marketing Wire next week to find out how to communicate your message to prospects and start Twittering for Clients! I also invite all of you veteran Twitterers reading this to post comments with other suggestions I might have missed on how to build your network. Until next week, see you on Twitter!
Kristen Luke is the Principal of Wealth Management Marketing, a consulting firm specializing in marketing solutions for independent financial advisors. She works with advisors to develop and implement strategies like the ones mentioned in this article. You can follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/kristenluke. Visit www.WealthManagementMarketing.net for more information.
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