IFA Life founder Philip Calvert said: “Just two years ago, most IFAs would never have contemplated using social networks as a marketing tool, but now large numbers are embracing the technology. And what’s particularly interesting, is that some of the very latest social media tools such as Twitter are now being adopted by IFAs.”
Calvert, who runs seminars for financial advisers on Internet marketing added that many IFAs were finding trading conditions exceptionally tough.
“We’ve had an usually high number of IFAs calling over the last two weeks asking for ideas on how they can use social networks to promote their services. The common theme among those making inquiries was that business was quiet.”
But new communication skills are needed to avoid making online mistakes.
IFA Life warns that many business users of social networking sites make early mistakes such as over-selling themselves. Many business people are attracted by social networks as a marketing tool because of the high numbers of people who will see them and their ability to improve search-engine rankings, but over-zealous use of these websites can be a big turn-off for other users.
Calvert said: “New users of social networking sites need to take a little time initially to hang back, learn the etiquette and avoid advertising their services too prominently.
“The trick for financial planners using these sites is not to advertise – but to add value by posting regular financial tips, hints, ideas, comments, facts, short articles and Blogs.
"The more you try to sell yourself – the less you’ll actually sell. But if you are seen as someone who is helpful, knowledgeable and a good networker – you will quickly attract people to your profile page or website.”
Calvert reports that where IFAs embrace social networking tools through a pre-planned strategy, they can see an immediate and startling improvement in their overall visibility and in search-engine positioning.
He said: “Those financial planning firms who think that social networking websites are just for kids need to think again. Twitter and Facebook are experiencing growth at a staggering rate – and it’s the business world that’s embracing it most.
“When IFAs include proven social networking tools such as LinkedIn, IFA Life, Twitter, YouTube, Ecademy, Xing and Social Median as part of their marketing plan, they’ll be amazed at the difference it can make to their businesses. If financial advisers ignore these tools, they’ll be left behind online and miss out on huge new business opportunities.”
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