Twitter Prospecting for Advisors

May 5, 2015

I’m currently attending SEI’s national Strategic Advisor Council client conference in Arizona and teaching advisors all about using social media for branding and prospecting at our Social Media Lounge. For the most part, advisors “get” LinkedIn and most have a profile, some also have a Facebook account; however, they have the most questions about Twitter. What is it? How are other people using it? I’m not sure if it’s the weird terminology (“Tweet”) but many advisors just don’t get it.

That’s why I’m sharing today’s blog post by Brian Hart of Flackable with you below. Take a look and share your questions in the comments BrianHartsection below.

A sophisticated Twitter strategy can be a game changer when it comes to generating new business. There’s no question that financial advisors are experiencing an increasingly competitive business environment. Changes to regulations, evolving technologies and the emergence of robo-advisors have rocked the status quo, and these transformations highlight the importance of staying ahead of the pack. By adding Twitter to a prospecting toolbox, advisors can open a new sales pipeline that, if done correctly, may yield lasting results.

The Opportunity

Twitter is one of the best digital channels for facilitating subtle familiarity with potential clients and other key audiences. However, it is largely untapped as a prospecting platform for financial advisors.

An act as simple as following another user is a form of communication, and that’s an important concept to understand. That user will typically receive a notification that you followed them, and sometimes they will even return the favor by following you back. As basic as that exchange sounds, it instantly creates the foundation for familiarity. This reduces the chances of future interactions on Twitter or beyond from being deemed “cold.”

Building a Foundation for Success

A meaningful Twitter presence begins with the profile. Whether it is a company account or a personal account, make sure that the profile is attractive, professional and complete. It should have a photo, banner, complete bio (use as many characters as possible, Twitter allows up to 160), location and website link. The bio should let other users know who you are, and it should mention the primary topics you will tweet about.

The next step is establishing two-way communication. You will have little success if you only promote your brand and its services. The account should participate in industry conversations and initiate interactions with other users. Engagement will remain stagnant if it’s not mutual, not to mention that a static account makes the brand appear dull and disconnected from its audience.

Pinpointing Prospects

Twitter’s list feature serves as a terrific prospecting tool. While users can spend hours compiling a lengthy list of potential customers, I recommend searching through existing public lists compiled by other users.

For example, if one of my financial advisor clients were looking to expand their corporate retirement practice in New England, I would help them find existing lists comprised of CEOs, CFOs and other decision makers in the region.

Another savvy way to find prospective clients is by viewing and engaging the followers of your competitors.

Developing Relationships

As mentioned earlier, strategically following other users is often the first step toward developing a relationship. The users you follow should receive a notification that you followed them, thus initiating communication.

Favorites and retweets are a similar way to subtly communicate on Twitter without sending a text-based message. Most users, especially those with modest followings, truly appreciate knowing that their tweets are being read and shared. The favorite button serves as a public display of your endorsement while notifying the user of your engagement. Similarly, retweet button can also serve as a kind gesture by amplifying the visibility of a user’s tweet.

The most direct form of engagement on Twitter is mentioning a user. Thanking a user for following, politely introducing yourself or commenting on a tweet are easy ways to further elevate a relationship.

Converting Leads

The key to social selling is to take the online relationship to a more personal level, which is most often a telephone call or a face-to-face meeting. The mistake many advisors on Twitter make is that they try to begin the sales process online. That approach is inappropriate and aggressive, and can jeopardize any trust, credibility or rapport that’s been established.

Your goal on Twitter should never be to close a sale. It should be to get that person on the phone. That’s a very important concept to grasp, and it also applies to most other social networks. The phone call, on the other hand, is where the real sales process begins. From there you can go right into your elevator pitch and normal sales routine.

Measuring Effectiveness

You can measure the number of engagements, audience reached, etc., but the figure that will have the most direct impact on your bottom line will be the number of Twitter relationships that were elevated to a more personal level. This is often a phone call or face-to-face meeting. Even email can be considered a slightly more personal exchange than the initial interactions on Twitter.

There’s no other way around it. If you aren’t connecting with your digital audiences on a more personal level, you are opting out of a potentially powerful sales pipeline.

Final Tips

You will likely see more success utilizing both a company account and a personal account or group of personal accounts. The company account is a terrific branding tool, but at the end of the day people want to do business with people. This is especially true when it comes to the financial services industry, where trust is often what directs the decision making of clients and prospects. Therefore, the face or faces of a brand should have an active and accessible presence on Twitter. That’s where you’re likely to get the best leads.

It’s 2015. If you aren’t on Twitter by now, I can assure you that your early adopter competitors are. They’re likely engaging a fresh generation of customers who don’t respond to the tired prospecting tactics of yesterday. If you don’t have the knowledge or time to launch the strategies discussed, consider enlisting the help of a social media strategist in your industry to help modernize your prospecting approach.
Brian Hart is the founder and president of Flackable, LLC, a national public relations agency supporting the communications needs of registered investment advisors (RIAs) and other forward-thinking financial services firms. To learn more about Flackable, please visit Follow Brian on Twitter @BrianHartPR

The opinions and views expressed herein by Brian Hart of Flackable, LLC. SEI bears no responsibility for their accuracy. Flackable, LLC is not affiliated with SEI or its subsidiaries.

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Amy Sitnick

Amy Sitnick

Amy Sitnick is the social media contributor for Practically Speaking and also serves as a senior marketing manager for the SEI Advisor Network.

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