Registered Investment Advisors and other modern financial advisors are using Twitter to grow their business. Herewith, 43 dos and don’ts:
1. Do have a social media strategy. Better to plan first rather than fly off in all directions at once.
2. Do think of Twitter as a marathon, not a sprint.
3. Do make Twitter a part of your overall marketing and social media strategy. If you have or are going to be a Twitterer, it should be a portion, not the only part of your overall marketing plan and social media strategy.
4. Do build trust. As a financial advisor, you’re looking to build trust and to engender a long-term relationships with your clients. Building trust takes time.
5. Do use Twitter to drive traffic to your blog posts, and from there, to drive engagement and ultimately, to build those relationships into clients.
6. Do “Follow” other people and organizations who fit your ideal client personas.
7. Do “Follow” other RIA thought leaders, competitors, custodians, media, service providers – you may learn a few things along the way.
8. Do reciprocate. When somebody follows you, and what they have to say is relevant to you, follow them back.
9. Do retweet. If a tweet fits your fancy, and you think your followers will find it informative, hit the retweet button.
10. Do add a headline of your own to a retweet. It may take a few more minutes to actually read and understand the link you are reweeting, but by adding your own headline, you also add your own spin.
11. Do put a bird on it. Not a Twitter logo, but in the space allowed for a logo in your banner, best to showcase your logo, or if appropriate, your picture. In other words, don’t be the default egg in some showcases.
12. Do tweet often. What’s the optimal amount of tweets to send out per day? Some RIAs and firms in the financial advisory business tweet once per day, some may do as many as five or six per day.
13. Do use stats. Helpful numbers work. According to Neil Patel, founder of KISSMetrics among others, tweets with blog posts that contain stats and data received 149% more social shares than the average blog post.
14. Do have a dedicated social media person or agency manage your Twitter account. Decide on a daily time budget, whether it’s 10 minutes or one hour or day, and stick to it.
15. Do inform and educate. Social media can educate potential clients and help position a firm as a thought leader.
16. Do use images. Tweets with images simply get more: 150% more retweets, 89% more favorites, 8% more click-troughs. (Source: Jeff Bullas)
17. Do use #hashtags. A #hashtag is a simple way to search for tweets – and to be found – about a common topic. If you tweet about retirement planning, then select a relevant hashtag, like #retirement planning, #rollover, and/or #401K.
18. Do try a newsjack. Let’s say some movie with Star Wars in the title is opening. If you tie a tweet with Star Wars in your title, and your linked blog post is about the Luke Skywalkers of financial advisors, then you may increase your visibility as well.
19. Do archive all or your posts. Do you want to be in compliance? Make sure all social media posts across all platforms are preserved, it’s required by FINRA.
20. Do treat Twitter like any other form of advertising. Before clicking the “tweet” button, make sure that all posts are properly reviewed for regulatory compliance.
21. Do have written procedures and policies. Procedures should be put into place to keep records, review content, and specifically address the use of social media at the firm and individual account level(s).
22. Do be aware of cyber security. Do not share sensitive personal or employee details that could facilitate a social engineering hack.
23. Do generate content worth following. Twitter does not allow you to follow 2,000 or more people or companies unless you have at least 1,900 followers.
24. Do keep it short. You have 140 characters to work with, but shorter is often better. According to Social Media Examiner, shorter tweets see 17% more engagement.
25. Don’t expect immediate results. Budget months or longer to steadily build up an audience.
26. Don’t ignore the baby boomer generation. According to HubSpot, 22% of all Twitter users were 50 years old or older. (As of 2015, 12% were between 50 and 64 years old; and 10% were 65 or older.
27. Don’t tweet late at night. If you want to be followed by people and companies who fit your profile, they are likely sleeping at 2AM. They won’t see your tweet – it will be covered up by the latest and greatest from others.
28. Don’t use broken links. Before you click the Tweet button, check to see if the link you are linking to actually links.
29. Don’t forget to tweet on the weekends. Although B2C engagement was highest on weekends and Wednesdays, B2B engagement was 14% higher on weekdays than weekends (Source: HubSpot.)
30. Don’t use client testimonials. The testimonial rule commonly referred as to Rule 206(4)-1(a)(1) of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 also applies to social media.
31. Don’t mislead. Never post guarantees or anything that could be construed by a reader to be false or misleading.
32. Don’t direct message a new follower with a sales pitch five minutes after you they’ve followed you. Or even 10 minutes. Wait a while. Set a spell. Or don’t do it.
33. Don’t share overly personal information in a tweet or in a direct message to a follower.
34. Don’t send content that’s of no interest to your targeted clientele.
35. Don’t allow followers to comment on your posts. Compliance alert: if you have enabled the ability to write comments, a client may post an inadvertent testimonial. As Chico Marx might say, “That’s a no good.”
36. Don’t ask for unearned favors, like asking followers if the liked your latest blog post.
37. Don’t allow endorsements. FINRA may consider endorsements to be testimonials.
38. Don’t ignore the advance search function. By typing in keywords, financial advisors can potentially find prospective investors by demographics, interests, geography, and more.
39. Don’t use more then three hashtags in one tweet. Gets kind overwhelming, and your tweet may look more like gibberish than a sentence with meaning.
40. Don’t forget about mobile. Approximately 40% of all users use Twitter on their mobile device, so make sure that tweet images look good when shrunk to fit.
41. Don’t forget to use third party tools to organize campaigns. Hootsuite, Buffer, SocialOoomph and others provide ways to create an editorail calendar, publish to other social platforms simultaneously, and find likely new followers, among other features.
42. Don’t forget to say thank you. When somebody follows you, or retweets a tweet, send them a private thank you via the direct message button, or make it public and simply say thanks with a new tweet.
43. Don’t minimize the potential sales impact of Twitter. According to Putnam Investments, in their fourth annual survey of financial advisor social media use, 75% of all advisors had gained assets directly from a lead on social media. While your results will vary, of course, and past performance does not guarantee future results, the average advisor added $4.6 million in assets under management from a lead on social media.
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