As I continue along with my series of low-cost marketing ideas, let’s branch out and talk about online outreach.
Podcasts (audio presentations clients can download) and blogs (electronic diaries of sorts, which can be orchestrated in advance to meet corporate communication guidelines and compliance rules) are other low-cost ways to get your message out.
A podcast doesn’t have to be fancy or syndicated through iTunes or RSS feeds. For instance, I use a system called www.impact.AudioAcrobat.com, through which I can schedule and record interesting conversations and post them on my blog, www.marie-swift.blogspot.com.
To see what you can do with a blog, look at www.KidsFinanceCoach.com, by Brett Ellen, a financial advisor in Calabasas, Calif. He volunteers his time to teach kids about money, both in the classroom and online. On his blog, which works like an informal website, he posts videos and photos of himself in the classroom as well as links to fun financial sites for kids. He can reject or accept the comments, which he okays with compliance. In fact, all the posts on his blog are preapproved by compliance, just like any other webpage or marketing piece. This blog, along with his website and occasional Twitter feeds, are enhancing his positioning as an advisor who’s got something more going on than just business-it shows he’s a caring person who’s sharing his expertise. It’s also really boosting his search engine ranking. Blogger.com and WordPress.com are two low-cost and popular blogging systems.www.Twitter.com – which is essentially “micro-blogging” – is free. I have a Twitter page so if you want to see how I market and position myself and circles of friends, visit www.twitter.com/marieswift. Starting a Twitter page is quick and easy. You have to keep messages short (only 140 characters) and can pick one of their templates or brand your Twitter page with your logo and photo. Once you get set up, get in the habit of “tweeting,” maybe once or twice a day, but make your tweets valuable to the community of people that you want to connect with. Most advisors first start a blog and then use their Twitter feeds to draw attention to their blog posts or new content on their website pages.
Be sure you check with your compliance department before you start using any online social media tools. Even if they do not allow you to put out information via a blog or Twitter, you can “follow” other people to gain knowledge and keep abreast of trends, events, etc. It’s also important for financial advisors to understand what is happening in the social media space, whether or not you are going to use these new Web 2.0 tools to send out your own information.