A (Winning) Case for Branding – Not Selling – Yourself on Social

Oct 13, 2016


At the Wealthmanagment.com 2016 Industry Awards two weeks ago, SEI was a finalist in 3 categories:

  • Thought Leadership
  • TAMPs (for ProcessWise, our integrated workflow program)
  • Social Media Leadership

If you follow SEI Advisor Network on Twitter or Facebook, you probably saw our happy faces (and well-dressed rest of us) as we accepted the Social Media Leadership award for Practically Speaking. It was great to be recognized for our work and the trophy is nice. (Believe me, it never left my hands that night, nor will it leave my desk. Ever. So stop asking, Raef.)

With over 100 awards that night, no one gave any type of thank you or acceptance speech. Not that I was planning on a long one, but there was a point or two that I did want to make about social media.

Advisors should care

Most of the conversations I have with advisors revolve around growing their practices. We often discuss traditional marketing, but I always bring the conversation to social media – where it is immediately dismissed. Most say that social is only for younger advisors, or their clients don’t look at Twitter or Facebook. Many say they have a LinkedIn profile and a firm website, but that is about it. They ask for proof that the time they spend on social media will result in new clients.

They’re missing the point. Social media is a platform that allows you to brand yourself, not sell yourself. Content marketing via social focuses on creating relevant and useful information that is valuable to your audience (this assumes you know your audience) and positions you as an expert – or at least a qualified resource in your field. Social creates awareness, it doesn’t sell you – it introduces you and your firm, as well as how you think. Think of social as your new business card.

Social isn’t about selling, it’s about introducing yourself. Case in point: Click To Tweet

Case in point

Practically Speaking started over 5 years ago, with me writing twice a week. We’ve grown by adding Raef Lee, John Frownfelter and Missy Pohlig as regular contributors, as well as using Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook sites to promote the content. As we’ve grown, we have gotten more notice from outside organizations. We regularly appear high in search engine results, built relationships with the media, get quoted and interviewed, and spoken at industry events. Our goal, when we started, was to build awareness, share useful content and best practices and build a brand for ourselves. I should note that our brand is not about us, but about advisor practice management and the best practices of advisors around the country. We don’t “sell” SEI, but we sure do make it easy for our salespeople to get introductions and meet new advisors.

Commit to it

Social is not something you can “wing” or do when you have a few minutes. You have to commit to it, make it a part of your day/week. Building a brand takes time – and lots of content. But before you start posting, have a plan:

  • Who do you want to target?
  • What is the impression you want to make with that target?
  • Where will you send the reader for additional content or information – and is it consistent with your social messaging?

Your prospects are Googling your name right now (after being referred by a friend). What are they seeing? What content are you sharing? How are you being perceived? Are you an expert in their situation or a generalist who has that static website? What does your content look like – and what does it say about you?

And now to the speech…raefmissyjohn

I would like to thank WealthManagment.com and the esteemed judges for the award, as well as my co-bloggers Raef, John and Missy. In addition, Diane our editor, Kendra in Legal, Heather who “owns” social, Jessica for the imagery , Bruce and Abbey for the videos… <music crescendos, drowning me out>.

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John Anderson

John Anderson

John Anderson is the creator and lead author of Practically Speaking blog and Managing Director of Practice Management Solutions for the SEI Advisor Network.

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