What Not To Do On Social Media

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The vast world of the interweb is abuzz with a billion steps that SMEs can (and should) take to maximize their social media impact. While adopting these pearls of wisdom could bring varying levels of success to your organization; not to be left behind, we went and made our own list. Here are some things that will cause your social media strategy to capsize quicker than you can say #hasht...

1) A ship without a rudder.

  • Create a social media plan.
  • Let the plan include a broad overview of what you want to say, the niche that you want to address, where do you want to say it (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Periscope?), when do you want to say it.
  • Stick to said plan.

Shockingly, social media does NOT top most financial advisors' to-do lists (who'd a thunk it?) and 'haphazardly' is an oft-heard response to a question we routinely ask advisors - 'How do you go about executing your social media strategy?'.
Don't let your organization's tweet history become a smorgasbord of cat-pictures, financial advice for soon-to-be retirees, 'Fore steps to putt like a pro' and chocolate-fondue videos from your personal vacation. Nothing pushes away a social media following like inconsistency.
If you've consistently got information on the advent of robo-advisor technology, go ahead and be a thought leader! Your followers will get what they expect and will be sure to include you in any conversations on the subject.


2) Assuming Twitter = Facebook = LinkedIn

While it seems enticing to post a link across all your social media channels with the same introductory blurb, here's a suggestion: Don't. Do. It.
For one thing, while Facebook and LinkedIn will let you write an essay with an accompanying link and/or image attachment, Twitter only gives you 140 characters. More importantly, your omnipresent social media audience will recognize that laziness for exactly what it is - laziness, and will use that to form an opinion of your organization. Respect your audience, respect the platform you're sharing content on and show your followers that you're putting effort into sharing valuable advice, it matters.

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3) Forgetting the work-play balance

This treads the thin line of direct contradiction to point 2, but do ensure that you're not always sharing updates within the content niche you are most comfortable with. Sure, 4 of 5 updates can still be directly related to your area of expertise but occasionally share something a little different. Explore avenues like entrepreneurship, financial education, a team-outing picture of your organization or even the weather in your city to let your followers know that there is a human at the other end.

4) Running away from non-positive feedback.

Thanks to the accessibility that social media platforms lend to all stakeholders, your or your organization may occasionally have to deal with a response which is not complimentary. While choosing to ignore it is certainly an (well used) option, don't do it. Make every effort to rectify the situation and ask them for their feedback once you've resolved the concern. Constructive engagement with a naysayer goes a long way and before long, even your most vociferous skeptic could be your strongest ambassador.
(Does not apply to disgruntled pandas)

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5) Plain text updates. Because, lazy.

While  it doesn't need reiterating that image attachments with your updates will push up the number of people that click on and interact with your posts, the world has moved beyond accepting stock images. Use tools like Canva, which are a great resource to create image assets in a jiffy! Another common mistake - blurry images in poor lighting (read: conferences & convention updates) that look like they were clicked with a 1 megapixel toaster. Channel your inner photographer & take high-quality images to accompany your posts.

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In fact, take it a step further. Find a GIF that fits the bill! Have a video file or a video-blog snippet to go with your update? Share it. You only have a limited number of words available - why not sacrifice a few characters to add a thousand words?

6) Doing everything. All at once.

Find the social media platform relevant to your target audience and concentrate your efforts there. Periscope & Pinterest are definitely white-hot at the moment, but are they the go-to mediums for the latest on Blockchain Tech? Probably not. Spend some time researching where your target audience hangs out and make sure you're doing your best work there. Stick to only Twitter & Facebook if you want to, but make sure you absolutely own them!

7) #This. #Because #it #is #just #not #cool.

Purely on the basis of how difficult it is to read a hashtag riddled sentence, overdoing hashtags should be a federal crime. However, there is a deeper problem at play. While hashtags are great keywords for people to find your updates, they also serve as distractions that readers could click on and disappear before they've had a chance to discover the real meat in your tweet (usually at the end of your tweet or post). Use one relevant hashtag to ensure you're a part of the conversation, use two only if you think it'll save someone's life.

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8) Treating social media any differently from inter-personal communication

Think beyond the usual marketing-speak of leads, funnels and prospects. At the crux of it, social media platforms are tools to communicate with real 206-boned human beings. Chuck the "Expert tips to boost social media CTR" handbook out the window and just be as nice on social media as you are in person. Guaranteed win! Here are a couple of things to keep in mind:

  • Spell-check your tweets. Would you take an error-riddled email seriously?
  •  You DO have the right to remain silent. In 99 cases out of 100, most businesses would not need to participate in a conversation about political goings-on or the Kardashians. Stick to what you do best.
  • Look over your organization's social media compliance policy. If you have to think twice about whether something is wholly appropriate, it probably isn't - don't post it.

Remember: what happens on the interweb, goes everywhere.

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Need an in-depth summary of FINRA's social media policies and steps towards incorporating a safe, compliant social media setup within your organization? Our  'Financial Social Media Compliance Guide' is your new best-friend.

Go ahead, nail 'that social stuff'.

Author: Kirtarath Dhillon

Topics: Compliance, General, Marketing, Social Media, Social media for financial advisors

Disclaimer: The content of this article is for informational purposes only. If you are planning to implement a new marketing practice and are unsure what the regulations are, always contact your compliance department first.