Let’s talk about religion, politics, sex…and social media marketing
Many years ago, an email about a college final project was being sent around. The professor’s instructions were to write a short story about religion, politics, sex and intrigue. The best answer was: “My God,” said the Queen, “I’m pregnant! I wonder who the father is?”
If the Queen were running a business, how would this news be treated in today’s hyper-connected, digital-first world? If you worked for her, how would you handle the message and turn this news into an opportunity?
The Queen’s story came to mind recently as I was thinking about my own conversion to a social media devotee. I now humbly submit that we should treat social media with as much conviction as religion. I am a complete convert – a convert from thinking that social media was largely worthless drivel to now believing that businesses may not survive without it.
I am 53 years young, a managing partner and portfolio manager at a $3.5 billion AUA/AUM investment advisory firm. I am proudly old school and conservative, and I definitely don’t like to spend money unless there is a positive risk/reward potential. My tech world revolves around Intel, Microsoft and Cisco—not Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. And previously, I believed social media was for the kids, marketing was for massive retail brands like Coke, McDonald’s and Ford, and heaven forbid we waste money on advertising.
If this is your mindset today, you are missing out on one of the greatest opportunities of our time. It does not matter if you are a Boomer, Gen X, Gen Y or a Millennial. It does not matter what you think or like. Marketing, specifically marketing through social media is happening … and it works.
But it takes commitment, and to be successful you need a plan and a partner who knows what to do. Successful sales support and sales generation comes from sustained efforts in outreach, education and problem-solving. Nothing will replace the hard work of the sales consultants.
It’s marketing’s place to get your sales team a few steps closer to the goal line. If their prospects have been given an invitation to connect online with two or three people from your firm; if they have been emailed your latest white paper; if they have been offered your blog or monthly newsletter; or if they’ve seen your ad on an industry news website, doesn’t that go a long way in warming them up? If nothing else, those prospects will know your firm’s name when you call or email to make a personal introduction.
Facebook and Snapchat may not be the right fit for reaching our targeted audience, but LinkedIn has been perfect for us. (And it’s free! You can pay for premium options, of course, but getting started will cost you nothing.) Sending and getting an invite via LinkedIn leads to very positive and interactive outreach. The same goes for sharing a blog post or electronic newsletter—they are free distribution arms that, if done well, will educate your clients and prospects alike. Plus, it only costs the time to produce the content, something your firm should be doing anyway!
And if you’re a skeptic, like I was, trust me when I say, “It works!” Our new marketing efforts have turned on new sources of leads and some of these leads have turned into clients. The new revenue has paid for the ads and our staff’s time to create and distribute them.
Best of all, we’re feeling how momentum begets momentum. Interested prospects are visiting our website and spending time to learn about us. They’re calling for more information. Our sales team is good, and after they convert these prospects to clients, those new clients are starting to refer others.
One last word. Find and hire either in-house or an outsourced marketing team. Then, do what Steve Jobs suggested:
“It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do: we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.” – Steve Jobs.
David Haviland is a Managing Partner and Portfolio Manager at Beaumont Capital Management, and has three decades of experience in the financial industry. Dave is also responsible for Chairing the BCM Investment Committee, strategy creation, generating thought leadership and ongoing business development.