In the land of social media, content is king

Pete Matthew CFPTM Chartered MCSI tells financial planners how to build relationships in social media through unique content

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Any financial planners out there doubting the merits and value of using social media to boost their businesses are likely to rapidly change their view after a chat with Pete Matthew CFPTM Chartered MCSI.

His traditional financial planning practice in Cornwall was overtaken, in terms of referrals, for the first time in 2014, by his consumer focused website Meaningful Money. After trying out video blogs and audio as a novice about five years ago, he discovered the true potential. He began putting out a weekly podcast in May 2013. Since, the show has been downloaded over 350,000 times.

The benefits have been several, including an increased industry profile, which has led to speaking engagements and video production work. He has reached audiences which otherwise he would never have reached. His favourite example is a superstar DJ with two Ministry of Sound albums and a weekly residency on a national radio station. Creating content, and then sharing it via social media, has been critical in his success. The breakthrough moment for him was an email from viewers of one of his broadcasts. They told him: “We feel like we know you and want to work with you.” He said: “That is the power of content and why it is never a waste of time to put it out there.”

He said this familiarity is key, explaining: “The reason people get in touch with me now is I’ve helped them bridge the gap and take a huge step, which we as financial advisers do not appreciate. We really underestimate how big a deal it is for them; they are scared they are going to be ripped off or made to feel stupid. But by engaging on social media, and to a great extent through content, they already know me or think they do. The whole point of social media, to my mind, is to put yourself out there. I know mostly the same technical stuff as other advisers but what I think is the attraction is that I put out a persona.” Kathryn Jefferies, Digital Operations Director at Equimedia, agreed that content is king. She said: “The best way to build better relationships with your customers is through unique content that is tailored towards your audience. The type of content should differ by social media channel."
"If you are already creating content for your existing audience that is driving engagement, it is worthwhile boosting this on Facebook or testing Twitter cards"
Case studies and white papers work better on LinkedIn, while thought-provoking content is more effective on Facebook. It is important to respond to any negativity or complaint with a helpful and proactive resolution. Responding to positive comments will help to build brand advocates.” Kathryn recommended monitoring tools, such as Brandwatch, to analyse conversations involving the brand and to identify relevant trending topics. She said: “They can also be used to track specific keywords that your audience might use to describe your product or service – if the context is right, you can jump in and provide suggestions.” She said that paid social media is a must for customer acquisition, but warned: “The content you are sharing must be useful and relevant, and effectively targeted. If you are already creating content for your existing audience that is driving engagement, it is worthwhile boosting this on Facebook or testing Twitter cards.”

Measuring through services like Google Analytics or DoubleClick is important because “the more data you have, the more targeted you can be. If you have access to customer postcodes, tools such as Mosaic and TGI can be used to profile your customers and inform paid social campaigns. Facebook also lets you upload customer emails so that you can target them when they are browsing Facebook. By trying out different types of activity, financial planners can quickly grasp the value of social media, its capacity to make a significant business impact, and drive the bottom line.”
Published: 15 Mar 2016
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