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Category: Digital · 6 min read

Thriving in the Digital Age, Part 5: Harness the Power of Social Media

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on August 1, 2019

author profile photo

on August 1, 2019

Four professionals on their mobile devices

Is your business on social media? If not, it probably should be, because that’s where your customers are. Today, there are 2.77 billion social media users worldwide.1 So, why not meet them where they’re at? 

New data from Hootsuite found that the average time people in the U.S. spend on social media every day is two hours and four minutes.2 That’s a lot of time for your followers to see your social posts. 

I’ll give you another reason to be on social media: A survey by Putnam Investments found that 92% of financial professionals that use social media said they gained new clients through social networking.3 That shows that it can literally pay to be active on social media.  

To build your social pages and gain your own clients through what you post, let’s take a more in-depth look at what it means to be active on social media. 

A survey by Putnam Investments found that 92% of financial professionals that use social media said they gained new clients through social networking.3 That shows that it can literally pay to be active on social media.  

The Different Channels 

But where should you start? You have a lot of options, maybe even more than you knew. For now, we’re going to focus on three of the main ones to get you started: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. 

Facebook 

Facebook is the juggernaut of social media. Launched in 2004, it was one of the first social platforms to really take off. Facebook remains the platform with the largest reach: 69% of Americans use Facebook, and 81% of Americans ages 30 to 59 and 67% of Americans over the age of 60 are on Facebook.4,5 This is where you're going to find a wealth of potential clients that are nearing or are at retirement age.  

Twitter 

Twitter is where the millennial demographic hangs out. Nearly a quarter of all Americans are here, concentrated pretty heavily on a younger demographic.4 So, this is the platform for foundation laying—getting your brand in the minds of an audience who don’t need you now, but may need you in the not-so-distant future. Which isn't to say there aren't retirement age people here—39% of people ages 30 to 59 and 16% of people over the age of 60 are on Twitter.5  

LinkedIn 

LinkedIn is the niche platform, specifically targeted to professionals. About a quarter of Americans use the platform, and 21% of people ages 30 to 59 are there.4,5 Those that do use LinkedIn are overwhelmingly college educated: 50% of Americans with a college degree use LinkedIn and have a comparatively high-income. Data shows that 60% of LinkedIn users earn more than $100,000 a year.6,7 And that makes sense, because this is where people go to network, to find new jobs, to see who in their network is changing jobs, and to prospect. But while they're there, people also take the time to learn. This is where actionable information shines. It's the platform for thought leadership and more technical educational content. 

Remember, each channel has a different focus, so avoid the temptation to share the exact same post across every channel. For instance, Facebook is where friends and family connect, Twitter is where opinions are shared, and LinkedIn is where professionals network. The tone you use and what you post may vary, based on the channel and your audience. 

  

How to Generate Content 

Now that you know where to post, let’s talk about what to post. Again, you have a lot of options here, but being active on social media and posting content regularly isn’t as challenging as you may think.  

There are three main ways you can generate content:  

  1. You can post things YOU create: Presentations, videos, white papers, and pictures. 
  2. You can SHARE things from out in the world: News articles, reports, videos, that kind of thing. 
  3. You can RETWEET or RESHARE interesting content others have posted on social sites or news sites. 

No matter what kind of content you post, throughout it all you should make sure that you’re staying true and consistent with your messaging and hitting home what makes you different. And, because we’re in the financial services industry, it’s important that you keep it compliant, too. 

Also, the quality of your social media posts matters more than how often you post. It doesn’t have to be every day or every other day. What matters more is having something valuable to say. Instead of more content, work on generating great content.  

 

Gauge Your Growth 

No doubt, as you get your social media pages going, you’ll probably ask yourself, “how am I doing?” Well, there are several ways to gauge that. The obvious one is to look at your followers and see if your audience is growing.  

But, beyond that, you should be looking for these three things:  

  1. Impressions: Did I get a lot of eyeballs on my post? The more channels, shares, and engagement you have equals more eyeballs. 
  2. Clicks: Did people click through to open and read it or view it? 
  3. Engagement: How many people interacted with the post? 

You’ll start to learn over time what normal looks like for you. Then you’ll know when you really hit a home run. When that happens, look at what worked and try more of the same. 

 

A Summary on the Digital Age 

The past few weeks, we’ve talked about and proved that your brand is valuable and it’s what sets you apart and explains why you’re unique. It’s your company’s identity and your reputation, so treat it that way. Protect it, take care of it, put time into it, put the things we talked about into practice, and I believe you’ll see the benefits that a strong brand can have in this digital age.

This statistic sums it all up: A consistent brand message across all channels can increase revenue by up to 23 percent.8 You see, the state of your brand is tied with the state of your company. A healthy, consistent brand equals a healthy company.

It’s your company’s identity and your reputation, so treat it that way.

To thrive in this digital age, you need a strong brand that shows off your differences, what you offer, and your unique voice. And, through all that, is executed with consistency and excellence across everything you do and say, including social media.

Ultimately, this digital age is here and it’s happening, whether we want it to or not, but now you’re ready for it.  

 

Sources: 

1. Statista. “Number of social media users worldwide from 2010 to 2021 (in billions).” https://www.statista.com/statistics/278414/number-of-worldwide-social-network-users/ 

2. Hootsuite. “The Global State of Digital in 2019 Report—USA Report.” Page 32. 2019. https://hootsuite.com/pages/digital-in-2019 

3. Putnam Investments. “Putnam Social Advisor Survey.” 2018. https://www.putnam.com/advisor/business-building/social-media/

4. Statista. “Percentage of adults in the United States who use selected social networks as of February 2019.” https://www.statista.com/statistics/246230/share-of-us-internet-users-who-use-selected-social-networks/ 

5. Statista. “Reach of selected social networks in the United States as of February 2017, by age group.” https://www.statista.com/statistics/305245/us-social-network-penetration-age-group/ 

6. Smith, Aaron and Monica Anderson. “Social Media Use in 2018.” Pew Research Center. Mar. 1, 2018. https://www.pewinternet.org/2018/03/01/social-media-use-in-2018/ 

7. Statista. ”Percentage of U.S. internet users who use LinkedIn as of January 2018, by annual household income (in U.S. dollars).” https://www.statista.com/statistics/246176/share-of-us-internet-users-who-use-linkedin-by-household-income/  

8. Shaoolian, Gabriel. “10 Marketing, Web Design & Branding Statistics To Help You Prioritize Business Growth Initiatives.” Aug. 10, 2018. https://www.forbes.com/sites/gabrielshaoolian/2018/08/10/10-marketing-web-design-branding-statistics-to-help-you-prioritize-business-growth-initiatives/#27ca4449d708 

#19-0397-072220 

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Written By

Mark Williams

President and CEO

Mark Williams is the President/CEO of Brokers International. Over his more than 25 years of financial services experience, Mark has been both a producing independent agent in the field and a home office leader consulting to agencies and field marketing organizations. Currently, Mark is focused on the future of the insurance industry, from the disruptions of InsurTech and robo-advisors to the changing demographics and needs of customers. He also is an avid mentor, helping financial professionals navigate the industry.

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