You will often hear me talk about why social media is important for financial professionals. To me
it’s simple, financial services are in large part relationship businesses where individuals like brokers, advisors and agents are managing relationships with individuals and institutions. I look at social tools like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn and I see some of the most powerful relationship management tools in human history and I can’t fathom why anyone would not be using these tools in their business.
Maybe it’s the silliness that trips some people up. If I had a nickel for every time I have heard someone mock the word “tweet” as if it were this absurd thing they wouldn’t be caught dead doing…I suspect I would have a lot of nickels. Behind the mockery however is usually one of two things, either a lack of understanding of the value of the platform or a nervousness about adopting something new.
In this post I thought I would like to tackle the concept of why Twitter is so important for the financial professional and why it really is not all that scary or ridiculous. Okay…it can be ridiculous at times but so can a lot of things that create a ton of value.
Just stop and think about this concept for a moment.
There is a free and easily accessible platform where millions of people from all walks of life are sharing everything from the mundane to the magnificent. In some posts we see mentions of what a person is having for dinner and soon after we see CEOs sharing their insights. What these people, and brands, share goes out in real-time and is there for whoever decides to subscribe to (follow) the sharer’s feed.
This real-time stream of updates (tweets) from the accounts you follow can be harnessed into a powerful, personalized information resource for whatever is important to you and your business. Below are just a handful of the things that you can use Twitter for in your financial practice.
- Follow Clients – Have you checked to see if your clients are using Twitter? People who use Twitter tend to be very active users of social media. They are frequently scanning their streams for interesting updates and tend to share or retweet the what interests them most. People also tend to turn to Twitter for help.
- Follow Prospects – When you meet someone who you think might be a good prospect, check to see if they are on Twitter. Following them is a great way to build familiarity over time without the awkwardness of requesting a Facebook friendship or LinkedIn professional connection early on in a relationship. I look at Twitter as the ultimate network expansion tool. Twitter users love new followers and tend to be very comfortable engaging with people with whom they may have only met once. Some, like me, will interact with people even if they have never met the person in real life. Open up and start listening to your prospects on Twitter. You never know what opportunities might flow through your stream.
- Follow Stocks – Many traders and investors use Twitter to share news, sentiment and ideas about specific stocks. Asset managers like Direxion (Socialware customer) are also getting active on Twitter. The convention for sharing information about a security on Twitter is to precede the ticker symbol with a $. As an example, searching for $AAPL will result in real-time tweets about Apple. While advisors will obviously want to avoid recommending a stock on Twitter you can certainly benefit from listening to what others are saying.
- Follow News – The Wall Street Journal, CNBC, Financial Times, Forbes and just about every other news organization you can imagine publishes frequent updates to Twitter. Follow the news sources that interest you most and add them to a Financial News list (or follow the list I maintain) for a quick and efficient scan of the news. When you see something interesting click the “retweet” button to share the news story with your network.
- Share Links – Twitter is the ultimate tool for sharing links to interesting content. As you surf the web look for those little “Tweet” or “Share” buttons when you come across something you think your network might enjoy seeing. Think of it like clipping something from a newspaper and mailing it to a friend only in this case you just click a button and off it goes to hundreds, thousands or potentially millions of people. Links are the currency of the web. We share links, we click on links, we like when people link to our website and they like when we link to theirs. The more relevant links you share with your network, the more influential you become in their eyes.
- Search – Twitter is a real-time search engine. Just about every topic you can imagine is being tweeted about. Take a quick look at Twitter’s advanced search tool and look for some interesting topics. Search is a great way to discover new people to follow. You can also save searches to stay on top of topics of interest that are relevant to you and your clients. As an example, if your clients tend to be small business owners in the Boston area you can write a search for relevant tweets about the entrepreneurial scene in Boston. That will help you find interesting content to share with your clients and prospects and discover new opportunities for leads.
You will be amazed at how much value you can find in 140 characters or fewer. The trick is, you have to give it a legitimate go. As I mentioned in my last post, you need a robust network to begin to see the value of any network and this is especially true on Twitter. This network was designed from the beginning to allow people to share what’s important to them at any moment from wherever they are and the fact that people actually do just that creates a ton of opportunity for you.
And if all the above hasn’t sold you on why Twitter is important there is the fact that Apple will be launching iOS 5 with Twitter baked in. That means every iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch will have Twitter at the ready. Take a look around you the next time you are in a coffee shop or an airport notice how many iOS devices you see. It’s a big deal.