Sunday, September 06, 2009

Top 3 questions & answers about social media and wealth But who knows tomorrow?

Every time we talk to clients and colleagues about social media we're asked, almost invariably, a standard battery of questions. Here are the questions, their answers today, and some thoughts about what those answers will be in the future.

Before I get into the Q & A here's the summary: you already know your business and its messages – social media is just about ensuring you're heard in a new space.

What our clients are finding is this: with just a little help it CAN be done, it will soon HAVE to be part of business as usual and their colleagues often pick it up FASTER than they expect.

Question 1: Does this whole social media thing really matter for those of us in financial services/wealth management/the investment industry and our clients?

Answer: Hmmm. Yes. A lot. Already. And way more in 3, 6 and 12 months.

In the future? I'd guess that in two years you'll look back and rue it if you didn't commit now to 'owning the ink' in your space. Why? Let's see...

Question 2: Why does social media matter?

Answer: The short answer is that social media can't be controlled by brands the way current marcomms can be. And yet it is far more influential. A bit like public relations and media. Media has its own agenda and it's not your marketing agenda - imagine that on speed. Imagine every client prospect who touches your business having an opinion online. Now that's why social media matters. And why online PR is a critical capability to be built now, not later.

Joe Pulizzi of junta42 gave a guest spot to Kenneth Weiss last week. Ken's blog called Your content, Their Content & The Brand (and his new book Slightware) is just one of many eloquent arguments about why, in future, social media will matter more than almost any current form of marketing communication.

Question 3: What should we do?

Answer: Ideally, develop a full social media strategy with a progressive rollout over time. It's not expensive, it's building capability you'll need in future and it will help protect your reputation now. It may help you right now with web traffic and your conventional PR.

If not a full strategy, then at least watch the online conversations about your brand, services or spokespeople.

And protect your reputation by owning your own brand in the major social media forums.

The last thing you want is someone out there doing the equivalent of tweeting in your name before you even know twitter exists.

So start following before it's too late!

PS Check out these two blogs relevant to financial services and social media:
1. David Meerman Scott's blog DMS is the online PR guru. My colleague Jo Cross attended his one day conference in Melbourne recently and came away will a gold mine of notes. Email me for the notes.
2. Visible Banking. It's a blog on social media for financial services. Some good tips.

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