Posts

Social media and digital marketing for investment managers

Darien Gould did a great job hosting my webinar on investment blogging for the Third Party Marketing Association last summer. I was intrigued by the statistics she found on social media marketing by investment management firms, so I asked her to blog about the topic. The guest post below is the result.

I’m particularly taken with Darien’s point that social media and digital marketing can help small firms compete against larger firms. In the world of financial blogging, I’ve noticed how smaller firms can show more personality than their larger peers. Smaller firms are also often nimbler in dealing with compliance.

Darien and I would love to hear if these statistics and suggestions match up with your experience in this arena.

Can social media and digital marketing be effective for investment manager marketing?

By Darien Gould

 

Digital marketing and social media were hot topics at the eWomen Network entrepreneur conference I attended last summer. But as a marketing consultant I have heard investment managers express a lot of resistance to social media. They typically use digital media only as an electronic substitute for paper marketing materials, and web pages are often only brochures about the firm. This made me wonder, can social media and digital marketing be effective for investment manager marketing?

After the conference, I did a quick survey of information online. I found that the answer is yes! Social media and digital marketing can really benefit investment managers—and give smaller firms an edge over their competitors.

Reports from Peregrine Communications and Greenwich Associates show that institutional investors and consultants increasingly use digital and social content to research and track managers. If you’re not active in these arenas, you’re hurting your visibility.

Statistics from Peregrine Communications

Here are highlights from Peregrine’s 2018 Connected Content, as reported in Peregrine’s BEST PRACTICE: Hidden Habits of the Best Asset Management Communicators:

  • Seasonality: Traffic from institutional investors to investment manager websites was seasonal. Compared with the average number of visits, manager websites enjoyed more than 26% more visits between August and October, and 29% more visits between December and February. Digital content on a website increases prospects’ interest in the company, and can lead to repeat visits. This makes it important to refresh your content more frequently during these five months.
  • Effectiveness: Thought leadership and demonstrations of firm strengths can differentiate firms in the increasingly competitive fight for investor interest. The firms getting the most attention from prospect searches use client-centric terms like “solutions,” “services,” or “clients.” If you’re an investment manager, does your content focus on solving your clients’ problems?
  • Social media: More than two thirds of institutional investors use LinkedIn for research. However, one in five asset managers has no presence on social media at all. This reinforces my suggestion that you can use social media and digital marketing to differentiate your firm from your competitors’ firms.

Statistics from Greenwich Associates

Greenwich Associates’ study, Investing in the Digital Age, yielded insights into the use of social media in the investment process and its impact on investment decisions:

  • 63% of institutional investors now consume social media while less than half consume finance-specific publications.
  • 58% of respondents use social media to seek support or service from their asset manager.
  • LinkedIn is the most thought-of provider of personalized market information.

Step up to digital and social media marketing!

My conclusions? Compliance and legal concerns don’t have to exclude all social media marketing. Reinforcing your firm’s brand and demonstrating your firm’s strengths through thought leadership don’t require discussion of performance or specific stock selections. And the same digital marketing that can interest prospects in your firm are also effective for highlighting your value to current clients.

These new marketing techniques level the playing field and allow even the smallest manager to compete for the attention of prospects against even the biggest investment firms.

I am curious, is your firm using digital marketing? What social media platforms do you use?

Learn more

You can follow my postings about investment marketing on Twitter at @DG_Analytics and on LinkedIn at  linkedin.com/in/dganalytics. While you’re on Twitter, also check out postings from @PeregrineComms and @GreenwichAssociates.

 

Narrower is better for social sharing

If you’re a regular reader of this blog—or if you’ve read Financial Bloggingyou know that I’m a big fan of tightly defining your target audience when you sell your services. That’s also important when you want people to share your content, according to Jonah Berger in Contagious: Why Things Catch On.

Berger says:

You might think that content that has a broader audience is more likely to be shared…. In fact, narrower content may actually be more likely to be shared because it reminds people of a specific friend or family member and makes them feel compelled to pass it along.

So, you get a double benefit when you write great narrowly targeted content.

  1. You engage your readers more deeply, increasing the likelihood that they’ll become clients.
  2. You boost the likelihood that readers will share what you write.

Try it.

Should you read Contagious?

Contagious is an interesting read. It won’t give you many practical tips to make your content go viral. But it’ll deepen your understanding of the broader forces that make content catch on.

The book will reinforce your awareness of phenomena such as the power of emotions and stories to influence your readers.

Disclosure:  If you click on an Amazon link in this post and then buy something, I will receive a small commission. I only link to books in which I find some value for my blog’s readers.

Hey, loser, quit @ naming people to promote yourself

I enjoy exchanging tweets with people. I’ve made friends and learned things from these exchanges. But I get annoyed when people repeatedly tweet at me only to promote themselves and content that they’ve written.

Here’s an example of what I dislike:

Hey @susanweiner, read our great blog post at http://…

Their using my Twitter name—my @name, @susanweiner—forces their tweet to my attention. I hate this. Well, I’m exaggerating a bit, but I think you’ll know what I mean if you spend a lot of time on Twitter. When I look at these people’s Twitter timelines, they are filled with promotional tweets that differ only in the person whose Twitter name is mentioned.

I can forgive—and perhaps even enjoy—a one-time promotional tweet directed to @susanweiner. Perhaps there’s a link with some great content that’s perfect for me. But repeated tweets of the same self-promotional content that’s irrelevant to me? No, thanks.

This doesn’t mean that I’m against using Twitter to promote yourself. I do it all the time. However, I recommend that you tread lightly in @naming specific people if you’re not sure they’ll welcome your attention.

Thank you for @naming me in other cases

After I published this rant, I realized that I might scare those of you who use other people’s Twitter names in a good way.

Let me clarify. It is perfectly fine—and even desirable—for you to use a person’s Twitter name when you share something they’ve written or shared. It’s polite to give credit to people. I appreciate the many courteous people who do this for me.

Note: This post was updated and expanded on Oct. 30, 2015.

Top posts from second quarter 2014

Did you miss something? Below you’ll find a list of my most popular blog posts from last quarter, as measured by Google Analytics.

Posts with a personal story often do well, as with my #1 post about my bad experience with LinkedIn, and my #10 confessions post. I noticed that my e-newsletter with the “Ouch, LinkedIn” subject line also pulled more readers than usual. Some titles and subject lines are more powerful than others.

The #2 post surprised me. I didn’t think this post would do as well as it did. I think the practicality of the “20 topics for your financial blog” appealed to many.

Posts featuring outside experts did well. They’re highlighted with red text below.

  1. Ouch, LinkedIn, why did you do that to me?
  2. 20 topics for your financial blog
  3. Top problems in asset management firms’ blog posts
  4. Blogging Q&A with advisor Lazetta Rainey Braxton
  5. Blogging Q&A with advisor Richard Rosso
  6. How to live-tweet a financial conference
  7. Three Decisions You Need to Make Before Setting Up Your New Blog <–Guest post by Elizabeth Kricfalusi
  8. Key Steps in Writing a Research Report <–Guest post by Tom Brakke
  9. Simple language helps your readers, even when they understand technical terms
  10. Confessions of a lousy writer—and 6 tips for you

 

Content marketing: Why the heck am I doing this?

I don’t need a blog or social media to earn my living as a financial writer. Heck, I don’t even need a website. I have friends who earn nice incomes through one-on-one networking and other traditional marketing. I see how I could have achieved something similar. Yet, here I am, spending hours on unpaid content marketing that won’t lead directly to work. This includes a blog, social media outposts (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ profile and Google+ page), mini e-books, and my book, Financial Blogging: How to Write Powerful Posts That Attract Clients.

Sometimes I wonder why I subject myself to the endless “to do” list that this marketing imposes. There are several reasons.

1. Self-expression that influences people

Writing helps me to process information. I can figure out what I think through the process of writing. This is particularly true of pieces like “Q&A format for articles: Good or bad?” which I wrote to figure out why I dislike Q&As.

However, I wouldn’t write as much as I do if I lacked an audience. I’m pleased that my readers enjoy my writing and say that I help them to improve their writing and marketing. True confession: this boosts my ego. However, I also like to think that I’m contributing to raising the quality of financial communications. I was especially pleased when one person said, “I hope this goes viral,” after reading my guest post, “Seven Ways to Talk Your Financial Execs Out of Jargon and Bad Writing,” which appeared on the MarketingProfs blog.

2. “Water cooler”

As a solopreneur, I don’t have many conversations during a typical business day. Comments on my blog posts and other social media exchanges fill a gap. As an introverted writer, I’m more comfortable mulling over my responses and typing them out instead of talking.

It’s surprising how much of a connection I can feel as a result of online exchanges. There are folks whom I think of as friends whom I have never met in person.

3. Business development

Blogging and social media haven’t delivered tons of business to me. I’ve picked up a few clients here and there.

However, the role of social media is increasing. One new client found me after I retweeted his company’s Twitter feed. He then started following my blog. Although I met another new client at a conference, I discovered that he already knew me through my newsletter and social media activity. Both individuals quickly became clients after we started discussing specific projects. I believe they were pre-sold on me, thanks to my content that they’d discovered online.

Even if clients find me through traditional networking, my blog and social media activity help me. I believe that most prospects will do an online Google search on Susan Weinersearch for my name before hiring me. They’ll find plenty of content as a result of that search.

In addition, I believe that my blog and social media play a greater role in selling Financial Blogging: How to Write Powerful Posts That Attract Clients, when compared with their role in reeling in corporate clients for white papers and articles.

What does this mean for you?

I see two lessons for you:

  • You don’t need to pick up clients directly from blogging or social media for those activities to be worthwhile.
  • You shouldn’t discount the role of social media in sealing a sale, even if prospects find you using other means.

What do you think? Do you agree with my conclusions? I’m interested in your thoughts.

Storify as a tool for online resource lists

Sometimes you want to share a list of resources with links and colorful thumbnails. If you don’t want to spend a lot of time on your list, Storify can help. For instructions on how to create a Storify story, read through the guided tour.

Advantage 1: Spend less time creating clickable links

Normally I create a clickable link on my blog by typing or copy-pasting the content’s title, opening the link box, and then copy-pasting the website address. With Storify, I simply copy-paste the website address into a box on my computer screen. Storify automatically generates a thumbnail image that serves as your clickable link.

This feature isn’t limited to online articles or websites. It also applies to tweets, YouTube videos, and more. When you insert the URL of a tweet, Storify displays an image of the tweet. Later on, when you publish your story, the site will ask if you’d like to notify the authors of the tweets that you’ve quoted.

Advantage 2: Save time sourcing images

Storify automatically generates thumbnails, as I mentioned above. Without this feature, you’d need to do one of the following.

  1. Find an image from an independent source to illustrate your piece. You’d need to pay for the image or identify it in the manner requested by its creator, or possibly do both things.
  2. Create an image from the content you’re quoting. For example, you can create and use a screenshot of a tweet without violating copyright. Copyright may become an issue when you capture images that you don’t own. So far Storify hasn’t run into major issues on this count.
  3. Go without any image knowing that this makes your content less likely to catch readers.

Advantage 3: You don’t need a blog or website

Your story will exist on Storify.com, so it’s no problem if you don’t have a blog or website.

Of course, hosting by Storify is a negative, too. Even if your story attracts many viewers, it won’t boost your website or blog’s ranking by search engines. This drawback is why I’m using Storify only for quickly compiled list posts. You can view my Storify stories, including my popular piece on “Ready-to-use content for financial advisors.”

If Storify intrigues you, but you need to draw people to your blog, consider using the Storify widget for WordPress. I’ve read mixed reviews of the widget, so please let me know how it works for you. I have not used it myself.

Have you used Storify?

If you have used Storify, please comment or share a link to your story below. Here’s an example of how the CFA Institute uses Storify for conference coverage.

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.

4 Twitter #FF tips from my personal experience

Thanks to everyone who has favored me with a #FollowFriday (#ff for short), I’ve
learned a few things about how to do it right. If you’d like to use the #ff hashtag to show respect or gratitude to others, consider these tips.

1. Keep your #ff tweets short

Your #ff tweets will get retweeted if you limit them to 120 characters or fewer. It’s common for some #ff honorees to thank the folks who honor them by retweeting. But a retweet might add 19 characters or spaces, as with the following text: Thx! RT @tweetname

2. Say why you like the folks you favor with #FF

“Add value with context,” as savvy user Mike Langford suggests. Some folks do this by highlighting one person per #FF tweet, with an explanation of why that person is worth following. Tip #3 offers another approach to this challenge. I know I’m more likely to click and follow if you give me a reason.

UPDATE on July 28, 2014: I’ve discovered that Commun.it suggests names for you to #ff.

3. Consider grouping your #ff names by type

If your FollowFriday goal is to help others discover the folks whom you honor, then go beyond a simple list of names. Mention a profession–such as advisors or writers–or a characteristic–such as great content for investors. This takes time, but it also boosts the likelihood that your Twitter followers will click to learn more about these individuals or firms.

If this sounds like too much work, consider picking one Twitter account every week. Use the extra space to highlight why that Twitter account is worth following.

4. It’s okay to skip FollowFriday

FollowFriday suits the Twitter personality of some folks, but not others. It’s okay not to participate in it.

It’s rare for me to originate #ff tweets. I figure that I show my respect for other folks on Twitter by retweeting their content and engaging with them.

What’s YOUR approach to FollowFriday?

I’m curious about your approach to FollowFriday. Has it helped you deepen your relationships with others on Twitter, win new business, or gain other benefits? I’d like to hear from you.

 

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.

Happy Thanksgiving! I’m thankful for…

Dear readers, Happy Thanksgiving! I hope that you have a wonderful holiday.

I’m thankful for you, my readers. You’ve inspired my writing with your ideas, your responses to my “Reader Challenges” and polls, and your questions. You’ve supported me from the very beginning, signing up to receive my e-newsletter that eventually grew into my blog and social media presence. Some of you have taken my blogging class, attended my presentations, hired me as a writer or editor, recommended me to colleagues or on LinkedIn, or shared my work online.

I’m also grateful for social media. LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook have made it easier for me to reach and chat with you. An introvert like me couldn’t have touched as many people in the days before social media.

I appreciate your support. Thank you!