How effective is your use of social media?

07/09/17How effective is your use of social media?

I’ve been thinking about social media more than usual this week.

Firstly, I was interested to read the results of Intelliflo’s recent social media survey. Secondly, I’ve had several very interesting conversations about what constitutes effective use of social media.

Let’s start with the Intelliflo survey

Intelliflo found the top three most popular social media networks, used by advisers for business, were:

  1. LinkedIn (59%)
  2. Twitter (43%)
  3. Facebook (41%)

It’s interesting to compare the amount of traffic adviser websites get from each of these platforms. My initial hypothesis was that the order should be the same; if advisers spend more time on LinkedIn than Twitter, for example, traffic volumes should reflect this.

But it doesn’t.

Our research, conducted earlier this year by analysing the information provided by Google Analytics, showed that:

  • Twitter (35.51%) was the most popular source of social media traffic
  • Facebook (32.01%) was a close second
  • Reddit (20.03%) came third
  • LinkedIn sent just 5.71% of all social media traffic to adviser websites

Furthermore, our research showed that fewer than 1 in 10 (8.45%) visitors to adviser websites come from social media. That’s interesting, as Intelliflo’s research showed that the percentage of advisers using social media, for business, had reached 73%.

So, why does their social media usage result in so few visits?

I can immediately think of three possible explanations:

  1. Advisers aren’t effectively signposting people to their website from social media (very possible, even probable, and in my view a mistake)
  2. Potential clients are viewing an adviser’s social media profile and making direct contact, bypassing the adviser’s website (unlikely, in my experience most people will do a little more due diligence, before getting in touch)
  3. Advisers are using the functionality of the social media platform to develop their own following and are ringfencing activity on there (I’m sure some do this, particularly in LinkedIn, but not the majority)

If I were a betting man I’d put my money on option one (although it would probably be an each-way bet!) To be fair, that’s still a hypothesis and I may well be wrong; we’ll look in to it in more detail later this year. However, I suspect most advisers don’t effectively move their followers and connections to their website, or indeed, to offline conversations.

What constitutes “effective use of social media”?

That depends on your aims and why you use social media.

One of the key aims of most advisers is to generate new clients. Others that spring to mind include:

  • Interacting with peers
  • Spreading best practice
  • Communicating with journalists

But, if it’s clients you are after, my advice is to demonstrate your expertise in your chosen niche.

As I said on Twitter last week: “Decide on your niche (based on your expertise, experience and knowledge) then set about demonstrating you are the ‘go-to’ expert. Content is king: blogs, video, podcasts, depending on your audience. Write it, record it, then promote it.”

And it’s in the final part, promotion, where social media has a part to play.

Hang out on line where your target clients do, use content to demonstrate expertise, contribute, add value, be personable (avoid permanent broadcast mode) and you will turn social media into a profitable stream of new enquiries.

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