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Boost Twitter exposure from your blog

I want to shake some financial bloggers and yell, “Why are you giving up Twitter exposure from your blog?”

That’s the reaction I have every time I click a “tweet this” link on a blog post and the auto-generated tweet fails to state the blogger’s Twitter name. That’s an example of “What NOT to do.” If someone visits your website and shares your blog post using this kind of auto-generated tweet, you’re not maximizing your benefit from their generosity.

Sure, your blog post will get some exposure from an auto-generated tweet that consists simply of TITLE plus LINK. However, the person who shares your content is unlikely to take the time to research your Twitter name and add it to the auto-generated tweet. As a result, you’re missing an opportunity to get Twitter exposure for your name and to pick up Twitter followers.

It’s true that a tweet reader could click through to your blog and then look around to find your Twitter name. But it’s not likely. In fact, the tweet reader who doesn’t navigate to your post may instead associate your blog post topic with the person who tweeted your link—instead of you. That’s a shame if you’re trying to build visibility for your investment, wealth management, or financial planning firm.

Boost your Twitter exposure by doing this

Here’s an example of what your auto-generated tweet should look like (yellow highlighting added by me):

Tweet that boosts Twitter exposure

My key point? The auto-generated tweet includes @susanweiner, my Twitter name. You can include your Twitter name automatically in tweets generated using your blog’s social sharing plug-in. That’s what I had my web guy set up. This expands my Twitter exposure without my doing any extra work.

Someone who sees “via @susanweiner” may click on my Twitter name to follow me. Even if they don’t take that action, my name may subtly register in their head so they start to recognize me as an expert on financial blogging.

If you’re a financial advisor who blogs about topics that interest potential clients, please make it as easy as possible for them to follow you on Twitter. More Twitter exposure boosts that likelihood that someday a prospect will contact you to learn more about your services. That’s what you want, right?

Check your sharing plug-in’s capability. Act now and enjoy better social media shares for years to come.

Our LinkedIn connection isn’t an invitation to spam

I don’t like it when anybody adds me to an ongoing e-newsletter distribution list without asking my permission—or at least warning me that my signing up for their freebie will add me to that list. If you’re doing that, please reconsider.

The newest variation on this may be people who add their new LinkedIn connections to email lists without permission. If you do this, you’re sending me spam. Please stop.

I’m thinking about this because of a recent experience. I felt fine when I received one email communication from a new LinkedIn connection with the subject line, “Thank you for connecting on LinkedIn.” I admired my connection for making the time to follow up. I was impressed that he took the time to create an attractively formatted email, including photographs, using an e-mail newsletter program. I even forwarded the email to a friend whom I thought might learn from how the man promoted his book in his email. This kind of email is fine with me, if it happens one time only. Indeed, I welcome genuine, personalized messages from people with whom I connect.

However, I felt angry when the connection repeated the same email one month later. I realized that he had added me to a newsletter list without my permission. I think this bothered me more than the average involuntary newsletter subscription because the sender reused the email he’d sent one month earlier. A message with new content might have shown more respect for my time.

By the way, if you add me to my newsletter without my permission, I may not unsubscribe, but I will implement an email rule that sends your message to a “Newsletter” folder. Your message never hits my main inbox.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Reader challenge: What mistakes did this social media newbie make?

“I tried social media for more than a year, but I didn’t get any results. So I quit.” This is what one advisor told me when we chatted at a conference. The advisor said he had robust content, including a blog. Also, after listening to the FPA Experience panel, he wondered if he should shift from tweeting financial content to tweeting his dining choices and yoga classes.

What do YOU think?

I realize you lack sufficient details to analyze this advisor’s situation — me too, I don’t even know his first name — but if you spend much time on social media, you probably know the kind of mistakes that advisors make.

What would you suggest this advisor try before abandoning social media forever?

Is Google+ worth the effort?

I didn’t understand the appeal of Google+, which is why I decided to read Guy Kawasaki’s What the Plus! Google+ for the Rest of Us.

In his chapter on “Why I love Google+,” Kawasaki says, “Google+ has powerful and sophisticated features that the competition doesn’t, and Google+ does things in ways that make more sense to me.”

Here’s my take on the case for Google+ based on Kawasaki’s chart comparing features of Google+, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Google+

That’s not enough to get me excited about Google+. I have an account so I can keep learning. After all, I hated Twitter the first few weeks I used it. Now I’d hate to live without it.

If you’d like to learn about using Google+ effectively, the rest of Kawasaki’s book offers tips that would probably help if I took the time to apply them.

More reasons to consider Google+

I’ve started to like Google+ a bit better since I originally drafted this blog post in November 2012.  Three things stand out for me.

  1. Google+ Communities make it easier for me to engage with others.
  2. Google Authorship can help me rank better in online searches. Michael Kitces convinced me of this with his communications, including “Why Every Financial Planner With A Blog Needs a Google+ Page, Now.”
  3. Google+ has yielded more helpful comments than other social media on some questions I’ve posted.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from McGraw-Hill in return for agreeing to write about it.

Outlook Social Connector: A cool email helper

Outlook Social Connector

You can see multiple categories of information using Outlook Social Connector

Better email communication results from a better understanding of the person with whom you’re exchanging messages. It’s hard to keep all of the relevant information in your head, or even to collect it in one place. This is why I like Outlook Social Connector, which I learned about in consultant Bill Winterberg’s presentation on “Transformative Technology You Can Implement Today” at FPA Experience 2012. While Winterberg highlighted the tool as an aggregator of social media activity, I especially like its email function.

Email history display

When I write anything more than a simple email, it helps to see an overview of my recent emails with the recipient. Sure, I can get that by doing a search, but Outlook Social Connector automatically presents that information to me.

Eyeballing this history may remind me of something that will strengthen my email. Another tab shows me attachments we’ve traded recently, which is handy if I want to confirm that I’ve sent the latest draft or invoice.

Social media information

I’ve connected Social Media Connector to my LinkedIn account. When I click on an email, I see my contact’s LinkedIn

  • Photo
  • Recent activity (New connections)
  • Status updates

This helps me to personalize emails to the recipient. For example, I may comment on a blog post link posted by the recipient.

Facebook is also an option

Outlook Social Connector connects to more than just LinkedIn. The most noteworthy other option is Facebook. I wish they’d add Twitter. However, LinkedIn, in my opinion, is the most helpful option for business.

If you’re using Outlook Social Connector, I’d love to hear how it has helped your emails, client relationships, or marketing.

Social media as practiced by Brittney Castro, Cathy Curtis, and Jeff Rose

Kitces tweet re FPA social media panelFinancial advisors can win new clients from social media. Here are some of the highlights of what I heard from Brittney Castro, Cathy Curtis, and Jeff Rose in a social media panel moderated by Michael Kitces at FPA Experience in San Antonio in October 2012.

Start conversations with prospects

Social media is an inexpensive marketing tool that allows you to connect with people whom you might never have met otherwise. Ideally it means you go to where your niche market is, start a conversation, and hear what your prospects want to learn about, as Castro suggested. Your ideal social media platform will be a function of what you and your target audience prefer.

Castro, Curtis, and Rose say you don’t need to spend tons of time on social media. However, they enjoy social media, so they invest heavily in it. Curtis said she spends 10%-15% of her work hours on social media, but that doesn’t include her time during the rest of the week. Castro said “I love marketing,” so she spends 40%-50% of her time on it, plus she goes out to network face-to-face and tweets about it. Rose spends 20-30 hours a week on marketing, including social media, newsletter, and blog. “It’s almost like a second job,” he said.

Social media and blogs work well together

Blogs work well as a destination to which you send your social media friends. Rose contrasted a static website with a blog. The website says “This is my firm and this is how great I am,” while a blog shows who you are, your personality, and your knowledge. It also offers a community for interactions. Plus, the blog is where Rose captures people as leads.

Don’t drive prospects to a web page where there’s no activity, said Rose,”It’s like the Twilight Zone.” However, a Facebook page might offer enough interaction, he added.

Financial advisors are winning new clients

Curtis, Rose, and Castro have all won clients through social media and online searches. The social media and search are related because social media activity boosts your visibility in online searches. Curtis gets more new clients through online searches than referrals. Prospects often say something like “I love your website. I found you on Google.”

Rose’s client with the most assets also found him online, through a search for “certified financial planner Illinois.” At that point he’d been active in social media for six months without any direct financial benefits. You can’t expect immediate results from social media.

Twitter has also paid off for Curtis, who has built a community of women through tweets. “Almost every one of them has asked me to become their advisor,” she said.

Some people with money look for advisors on the internet. One such client pulls in $1 million a year in income. However, these wealthy clients may be on the younger side. Castro works with women in their thirties and forties who are accumulators.

Social media’s 80-20 rule

Castro’s final tip was to spend at least 80% of your social media activity “providing value.” Twenty percent or less should be promoting yourself or your services. “The less you talk about what you do, the better it is,” Castro said.

Curtis agreed with Castro’s closing tips, mentioning that her social media activity focuses more on food than finance. “Don’t be afraid to be who you are. People hire people they like,” Curtis said.

Rose said, “So many advisor bios look alike. Social media helps you to show your personality.”

Moderator Michael Kitces said, “The leads we get off social media are the warmest leads we get because they know us.” That’s a particularly intriguing comment.

What about YOU?

How is social media working for you? Also, do you have any advice for the advisor who told me that he tried social media for 18 months with no results? Please leave comments.

Poll: Which social media tools are helping you win new business?

Almost 20% of advisors have gained a new client from social media, despite the limited social media involvement of many advisors, according to a press release from SEI, “SEI Survey: Advisors Start to Realize the Business Benefits of Social Media.

LinkedIn and Twitter have both contributed directly to my winning new clients. My active participation in LinkedIn Groups has brought me new connections and kept me visible until they had a project that required my help. Twitter has helped to a lesser extent.

What about YOUR new business from social media?

I’m curious about you. Which of the social media have YOU found most helpful? Please vote on the poll in the right-hand column of this blog. If you have time to elaborate on your answer in the comments section below, that would also be great.

Here are your poll choices:

  • Facebook
  • GooglePlus
  • LinkedIn
  • Pinterest
  • Twitter
  • [Other option that you specify]