Advisor Today - May/June 2011 - (Page 46)
spend on your traditional marketing to reach new clients and the return you get from it. Chances are social media will give you a much higher return for very little ﬁnancial outlay. Marketers agree with Sapaula. Maribeth Kuzmeski of Red Zone Marketing Inc., says that one of the biggest beneﬁts of social media for advisors is the ability to convert referrals into clients. “If you get a referral, the ﬁrst thing that person is going to do is search for you online and see what they ﬁnd,” says Kuzmeski. “In the process of doing that, they are either making a decision to reach out and schedule an appointment—or not. If you don’t have a strong online presence or reputation, you’re losing an opportunity to convert that referral.” That was two years ago. The Chicago-based Sapaula, owner of Matthew Sapaula Inc., has what amounts to a small media empire. His activities range from doing a Chicago radio talk show to appearing as a guest on local news programs to participating in an online ﬁnancial reality show, The Invested Life on MSN Money. All of this activity is buoyed by a robust social media strategy. The key, he says, is to look at social media as an opportunity to allow people to see the real you—to get to know you before they meet you. “On Facebook, I sell myself as a family man and entrepreneur, and, ‘Oh, by the way, come visit my blog,’” says the NAIFA-Chicago member. Using a blog The mainstay of Sapaula’s social media outreach is his blog, which he says “drives trafﬁc to me in this internet gold rush.” He points out that a traditional website is typically populated with canned content that is not personally branded and stays fairly static. His website, which he calls a “blog site,” is constantly being updated with the latest information from his blog posts, Twitter stream and Facebook posts. And before you say you have clients to see, he would caution you to think about how much time you
46 ADVISOR TODAY | May/June 2011
let your updated—and beefed-up— LinkedIn proﬁle stand in its place until your website is up to par. Get others to help Bill Smith, of Great Lakes Retirement in Sandusky, Ohio, has a similar outlook to Sapaula’s. He has created interrelated online and social media properties that he is continually adjusting and adapting, or better said, that his marketing director is. Smith manages his social media strategy from a “high level. … We need to be spending time meeting with clients,” he says. “Most advisors shouldn’t be doing it, they should be managing it.” His strategy is focused but ﬂexible. It starts when he and his marketing director decide on a big-picture topic. They write a blog post about the issue, Smith talks about it on his radio show and uses email blasts to broadcast it to his database. That topic may then be tied into an economic update that Smith does and posts on YouTube. He admits that it’s an organic process. He’s not afraid to pull back and reevaluate. For example, he had been doing email blasts weekly, but by watching the unsubscribe emails mount, he switched to twice a month and has settled nicely into this rhythm. In addition, he has stopped his Twitter feed. He works with an older market—with an average client age of 64—and says that his target market isn’t ready for that yet. The power of Facebook But you don’t necessarily have to jump into the deep end of the water with a blog or videos on YouTube. Facebook—the site that claims that half a billion people actively use it, spending 700 billion minutes per month on it. It is a fairly easy way to build your social media presence. In fact, how would you like 10 referrals a month to arrive at your digital doorstep without your doing any heavy lifting? It’s a reality for Theresa Baker of Baker Insurance Group, in the Seattle, Wash. area. She, like Sapaula, started out in social media about two years ago, set up a business Facebook page and admits that she didn’t know “how powerful it was.”
ON FACEBOOK, WE TRY TO LET PEOPLE SEE WHO WE ARE INSTEAD OF WHAT WE DO.
And she also agrees with Sapaula’s strategic use of a blog. “If people are searching for more information on a speciﬁc ﬁnancial issue or topic of concern, they may run across your blog before they get to your website. And conversely, once they are on your website, they may go to your blog as a kind of a credibility check,” she explains. It’s also important as people search for you to keep your LinkedIn proﬁle polished and up-to-date. While it tends to be more of a business networking tool, Kuzmeski says that it is “extremely searchable” and that people can ﬁnd out about where you went to school, the credentials you have and what your business is all about. It encapsulates your personal information in a different way than your website does. She even recommends that if your website needs a major overhaul, you should take it down and
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Advisor Today - May/June 2011
Advisor Today - May/june 2011
From the Editor
Effects of Health-Care Reform on Voluntary Insurance
Managing Investment Risk
New Benefi Ts for Your Business-Owner Clients
Client Disagreements: How Far Should You Go?
Estate Planning for Your Clients
How to Avoid Four Common Annuity Mistakes
Life Sales in the Business Marketplace
The Brave New World of Selling Health Insurance
Riding the Wave
NAIFA Government Relations
The Value of Community Events
The Fundamentals of Effective Communication
The Lighter Side of Life
Advisor Today - May/June 2011
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