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Do We Need a Social Media Manager?
By now, establishing a social and digital media presence and campaign has transformed from a question of “Should I?” into “How do I?” But as we've learned, implementing one of these plans requires knowledge of not only the variety of social media platforms and how to use them, but also how best to leverage these sites to achieve your desired results. Marketing is crucial to any organization, whether it be a single independent advisor, a large asset management firm, or even an association, and social marketing has become something your consumers (both investors and advisors alike) have come to expect. If you don't have a social or digital media presence, your competitors likely do – and you risk losing market share.
Asset management firms typically have an easier row to hoe, since they often have a much larger marketing budget, but individual advisors must also invest in marketing. At this point, many of you may be asking, “But isn't the beauty of social media marketing based on the logic that it's more or less free?”
While the simple answer is yes – many powerful social media avenues can be capitalized upon for nary a cent – it doesn't take into account all the man- hours required to make it successful. Let's explore some ways you can determine if hiring a social media manager is best, or if you're better off to manage it yourself.
SO WHAT DOES A SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER DO?
You may be surprised at just how many hats an ace social media manager wears, especially one working in the financial services industry. In addition to monitoring and supervising your everyday social media activities, they're responsible for managing your client relationships and your brand. Sometimes, depending on the nature of your business, these efforts get support from others within the company, such as those working in traditional client servicing. And of course, you can also design this position to fulfill any of your industry- or goal-specific needs.
Primary responsibilities of a social media manager include:
■ Creating content – Just as with any form of marketing, the quality of content determines its success. But in addition to creating original content, your social media manager must also be able to adapt, vary, and repurpose content for certain networks or platforms, such as taking one posting concept and then applying it to other major social networking platforms, including the ability to take a complex concept and whittle it down to a 140-character tweet. This person should also have the skills to create images to complement posts.
■ Spreading the news – In this industry, relevant news stories are constantly breaking, so your social media manager must be able to sort through it all to identify the pieces most salient to your audience and then create content around it. In addition to regularly taking the industry pulse and reacting to changes in social networks, your social media manager should also have PR experience so they can introduce you to editors and media outlets looking for experts on certain topics, both of which should ultimately lead to an expanded reach.
■ Analyzing marketing efforts – A good social media manager will be able to provide you with detailed analytics on your social media endeavors, such as supported customer cases, leads cultivated and generated, and your overall reach. They should also actively test new content or campaign strategies, analyze the data, and then take action based on what they've learned.
■ Facilitating the growth of your community – Simply having followers or fans does not a community make. Real communities interact with and engage each other, so your social media manager should be able to ask questions and plant discussions to encourage this kind of interaction, as well as monitor the community for spammers. This skill can prove tremendously powerful, as a recent MSI study revealed that increased community engagement can lead to as much as a 25 percent spike in revenue.
■ Performing customer service – The person who fills your social media manager role will represent your firm to everyone from potential clients, customers, or recruits, to fans and media representatives. Consequently, they'll likely be deluged with questions and comments regarding everything from your company's services and products to its culture and ideals, so they need to be able to deal with a variety of personalities and communicate well with people in different buying stages, such as researchers, prospects and clients.
■ Managing and funneling leads – In addition to launching content and campaigns aimed at lead generation, social media managers must also be able to engage with potential clients or recruits directly and identify which require further cultivation to deliver them the appropriate content. They must also be able to articulate the benefits of your services or products with ease.
■ Cognizant about compliance – It's not enough in the financial space to know the nuts and bolts of social media. A social media manager also needs a deep understanding of the regulatory rules as they apply to the particular sector of their business, be it brokerage, registered investment advisor (RIA), or financial advisor in the retail-banking sector. Regulation has been a constant in the industry for decades, and key agencies have been issuing guidance about social media use in recent years. A social media manager must know these rules cold.
All of these qualities are ideal in a social media manager, considering that more than half of businesses report acquiring a customer from Facebook, 40 percent acquired clients through LinkedIn, and more than 35 percent have gotten clients from Twitter.
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