We’ve all heard the social media advice: Post often. Post regularly. Be engaging. These can be tough practices to follow, especially if you’re a marketer managing multiple priorities and platforms or lack the resources to create original posts on a regular basis.
There are many methods by which you can curate your social media feeds. One formula is known as the rule of thirds, and it provides an important formula that allows you to balance your time between creating content about your business and engaging with your community. The rule generally states that one-third of your content should focus on promoting business, one-third on sharing other posts and one-third on interacting with others.
So, to commemorate Social Media Day (June 30), here’s our take on the rule and some helpful tips to consider when pulling together your editorial calendar.
1/3: Promote business, but keep it real
Talking about your products, market opportunities or strategy often comes easiest. It can also become the part that fails to inspire and engage, particularly if it consists of repetitive, one-way conversations.
TIP: Boast about business, personally: When sharing company successes, don’t forget to profile the human side of your business by telling stories about staff achievements and milestones, new personnel or your involvement in the community. Promote culture while inviting dialogue. Showcase your thought leadership and financial expertise thoughtfully and creatively, including through short quotes and videos. Remember to keep content focused on client needs.
1/3: Share other posts, with a broad lens
Curating third-party content is essential because it helps you to build community and engagement. It also shows you’re in touch with your industry and issues beyond your brand.
TIP: Use sources you support: When sharing industry-related posts, news or events, make sure you’re using content from brands you feel align well with your own. Sharing surveys or reports on financial trends or developments relevant to your clients is a great way to engage in meaningful conversations. When reposting, it’s good practice to tag the owner or provide attribution in a caption. And when sharing original content (photos/videos) created by someone else, be sure to obtain permission and to provide the creator with credit.
1/3: Reach out and interact
The final rule of thirds is about being as social as possible. In fact, it intersects all parts of your curation plan because every post is a chance to interact and foster further peer-to-peer engagement.
TIP: Work the room often: One of the simplest ways to connect with your followers on social media is to like and share their posts and respond when they reach out to you. Talking directly to followers, answering their questions and saying thank you allows you to expand your reach in new and exciting ways.
While we believe the rule of thirds is a great guide, these tips aren’t written in stone. Every business is different. You’ll benefit from a little tinkering and looking back at your analytics to see what worked best – ultimately helping you develop a content calendar that consistently engages and inspires.
Looking to boost your social media profile? Ext. can help you develop a targeted social media strategy and content plan to enhance your presence. Contact us today at 1.844.243.1830 or email@example.com.
More consumers than ever are discovering brands, making purchases, and conducting banking and other financial services transactions online. It’s a trend that’s expected to continue. Statista reports global e-commerce sales are projected to reach US$5.4 trillion by the end of 2022 (up from US$4.28 trillion in 2020). So how can financial services marketers benefit from this move to digital?
Here are four strategies that can help you build more effective online marketing campaigns:
1. Ride a trending topic to help boost SEO
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of increasing traffic to a website by strategically posting online content featuring keywords people are likely to be using in their searches. Keywords that are trending based on seasonality or timely news can be particularly effective.
In the lead-up to Valentine’s Day, for example, consider ways you can tie your offering to the occasion. If you’re a financial services provider, you might playfully post an article suggesting the most romantic gift you could give your significant other is a contribution to their retirement plan. The key is to make a compelling connection with text that isn’t misleading.
Looking for some big-picture trending topics to leverage in 2022? Check out themes CNET is predicting will shape 2022.
2. Provide interactive content
The Content Marketing Institute says 81% of the marketers surveyed for its Interactive Content report agreed that interactive content “grabs attention more effectively than static content” and 79% believe it “can have reusable value, resulting in repeat visitors and multiple exposures.”
Interactivity can make your content stand out and be more engaging. For example, posting an online mortgage calculator might help draw traffic to an online lender. Providing readers with a life-stage questionnaire or the option of selecting their life situation (e.g., owning a home, renting a home, employed, self-employed) might be an effective way for an insurance company to steer visitors to the appropriate products to meet their needs.
3. Engage with social
An incredible 4.55 billion people (more than half the world’s population) use social media, according to the Digital 2021 October Global Statshot Report. If you want to be where your audience is, you can’t ignore social – both organic and paid (see below).
Social media marketing leverages social media channels to promote your brand or service. Done effectively, it can increase brand awareness, drive leads and sales, and help you build ongoing relationships with your clients and prospects.
To create an effective social media strategy, Hootsuite recommends learning everything you can about your audience and your competition, creating a social media content calendar and tracking the performance of your posts so you can adjust your strategy to improve results.
4. Consider pay-per-click marketing
Pay-per-click (PPC) marketing involves paying to target specific audience groups with your messaging based on selected keywords. The cost is determined by the amount you bid and how much competition there is for that same space from other advertisers. You can pay to activate your content on social channels or at the top of search engines.
With PPC, you only pay when someone clicks on your link, so there’s no charge for all those who view your ad but aren’t motivated to follow through. You can also set a limit on how much you wish to spend, so you won’t become a victim of too much success! To learn more, read Four ways to get the most out of your pay-per-click strategy.
Looking for support with your online marketing? Ext. has the expertise you need. Contact us today at 1.844.243.1830 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Marketing campaigns are no longer considered complete without a social media strategy. That’s because social media marketing works. According to a 2021 report from GWI, social media ads helped 28% of internet users discover new products and nearly half of internet users (49%) are likely to buy from brands they see advertising on social media. It can also help strengthen and maintain relationships with clients and prospects.
A challenge for marketers is that social media strategies are constantly evolving. Each year, new trends emerge that provide fresh opportunities to connect with clients. Here are three trends we’ll be following in 2022.
1. Social audio
Tweets are to blogs what social audio is to podcasts. In other words, social audio is the interactive, real-time, short-form version of podcasts. While there are differences across platforms, in general, social audio allows listeners to tune in to online conversations and actively participate in them.
Social audio took off in 2021 during the pandemic, as people spending more time on their screens found easy-to-digest sound bites they could both hear and respond to. Platforms currently dominating social audio include Clubhouse, Twitter Spaces and Facebook’s Live Audio Rooms – but analysts predict many more will emerge in the future. These platforms have the potential to allow companies to connect with audiences in a direct and intimate way through the spoken word.
Financial services marketers interested in getting in on the game may want to start identifying subject matter experts who are comfortable engaging in authentic conversations. They could provide tips on saving for retirement or children’s education, or discuss topics such as debt management or the value an advisor can provide. In general, social audio is about the human and real rather than the polished and perfect.
Beyond education, financial services companies can explore social audio opportunities to network, listen, raise brand awareness and leverage influencers.
2. Social commerce
Currently, most social media marketing links consumers back to a company’s website to make a purchase. Social commerce allows people to buy goods and services within the social media site itself, allowing them to move from discovery to purchase within one platform. But whether or not you sell products directly through e-commerce, it’s possible to take advantage of the growing popularity of social commerce to engage with clients and prospects.
Social commerce provides an opportunity to start conversations that could lead to offline purchases. A financial services company, for example, could post relevant livestreams regarding wealth building.
Social commerce is a rising trend, with a 2021 report by Sprout Social predicting that 87% of enterprises currently selling on social media expect to sell through social commerce within three years. Platforms include Shops on Facebook and Instagram and Twitter’s Shop Module (currently in development).
According to Smart Insights, people on social media are rarely there primarily to buy something and are more likely to make a smaller, less expensive purchase rather than a larger purchase. Also, keep in mind that the device consumers are using matters, too – Broadband Search reports that 80% of social media browsing happens on a smartphone.
3. The metaverse
Facebook staked its claim on the metaverse in 2021 when it introduced Meta as its overarching brand, but the concept has been attracting interest for years.
An article on USA Today describes the metaverse as “an online virtual world which incorporates augmented reality, virtual reality, 3D holographic avatars, video and other means of communication.”
Its “hyper-real alternative world” opens the door to many innovative marketing strategies that will enable e-commerce to become a more immersive experience. It will allow consumers to visit stores virtually, where they can try on clothes and test-drive cars. For financial services companies, it can mean the ability to offer financial planning meetings where advisors can virtually walk clients through interactive charts and three-dimensional visuals.
The pandemic has brought about a dramatic increase in online shopping and virtual client meetings – a change that is likely here to stay. So, while the metaverse might still be a work in progress, it is allowing forward-thinking marketers to start dreaming of innovative new ways to connect with audiences. At the speed technology is evolving, a mainstream metaverse isn’t far away.
Looking for social media marketing support? Ext. has the expertise you need. Contact us today at 1.844.243.1830 or email@example.com.
We are living in unprecedented times. And investors need guidance from their advisors more than ever before. The value of advice is clear – and a great path to adding more value is through your social media accounts.
Here are eight tips for using social media to inform and help your clients:
1. Limit your opinions about COVID-19
Leave the health policies and science to the experts. Your thoughts on this pandemic might end up being wrong – and could make your clients more anxious in the process.
2. Focus on long-term trends
Rather than focusing too much on short-term market events, try to steer your clients’ attention to their longer-term financial goals, such as retirement and education savings.
3. Use LinkedIn as intended
LinkedIn was created to help advance peoples’ careers. During the COVID-19 pandemic – which has become an era of high unemployment – you might want to share interesting tips and articles about job hunting in the current work-from-home reality.
4. Share with a strategy
Here at ext., we recommend resharing content that has been written by your centres of influence. This is a win-win because you are sharing trustworthy content (we do, however, recommend you review anything you share regardless). And if your clients engage with this content, you can make an introduction, which will strengthen your network and reputation.
5. Connect, connect, connect
Now is the time to connect with as many of your clients and peers as possible on social media. While this should be part of every advisor’s growth strategy, now is a good time to offer to help clients and prospect any way you can.
6. Focus your efforts
If you have been struggling to find success on a social media platform, this is a good time to decide if it is even worth the effort. For example, if Facebook is a dud for your business development while LinkedIn is showing potential, consider doubling down on your LinkedIn networking efforts.
7. Vet your sources
As a corollary to #4 above, be sure you are sharing content from trusted sources. By only sharing high-quality content, you will become a trusted source for informed content.
8. Offer to answer financial questions
There are many investors out there who aren’t getting the advice they need or the attention they deserve. Use this to your advantage by offering to answer questions via direct message or inviting these individuals to leave comments to your post. You can also offer to set up calls or answer questions over email.
A final thought. Periods of great adversity also tend to be times of great opportunity – and we are here to help you succeed.
Contact us today at 1.844.243.1830 or firstname.lastname@example.org for any of your marketing questions.
LinkedIn is one of the best social media sites for advisors. Here’s how to make the most out of LinkedIn’s search capabilities and your profile.
Build a robust profile
We’re not talking about hobbies here. We’re talking about your headline, your summary and your experience.
Use keywords that relate directly to your experience and talents, and be sincere. To build your authority, it helps to get a few recommendations as well.
Expand your network, quickly
This is easy and fun. LinkedIn’s algorithm for finding your contacts is pretty good, but there are other ways to grow your network.
Try searching by company. You’ll be surprised to see all the people you may have forgotten to reach out to! Search by your old university as well. Make sure to write a brief personal message when connecting with these individuals, instead of simply using the pre-filled copy.
Follow companies, join groups
You can start with Ext. Marketing Inc. Our followers access informative blog posts, as well as interesting articles about marketing and financial services industry trends.
You should also follow your company and its competitors.
Be selective when you’re joining groups. Choose a few groups that are specific to your job and interests. Get a feel for these groups. Get involved if you have the time. And if you don’t like any of these groups, “unfollow” them and try another. You can join up to 50 groups.
Share ideas and articles
If you find an interesting article, click that “Share on LinkedIn” button and share your thoughts and opinions.
When it comes to sharing your ideas on LinkedIn, make sure you keep them professional. Go ahead and post things that are a little outside your wheelhouse (e.g., if you’re in financial services marketing, why not link to another industry’s creative ideas?).
Social media or content questions? Contact us today at 416.925.1700 or email@example.com.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: blogging is one of the greatest opportunities to engage with your clients and prospects.
To help you get started, or to help you stay on the right track, we’ve put together a list of blogging fundamentals.
Get the right writers on board
The best writer may not be who you think it is. And people with a lot of customer contact are often the best sources for blog topics. When putting your content team together, it helps to think outside the box.
Customers come first
Ask yourself: What advice can we provide? How are people using our products? The best posts often solve your clients’ problems.
Always look on the bright side of life
Given the changes that are happening in the financial services industry, it can be tempting to get critical. But there’s no place for snarky remarks, attacks or cheap shots in business blogging. Online readers can cut and paste – or take screen shots – and post them to social networks.
SEO is not your primary concern
Google is always changing its algorithms to be more social. That is, shareability is becoming fundamental to online success while keywords are becoming less important. Keep this in mind when creating your editorial calendar.
Find more readers
People often shy away from promoting things that aren’t perfect … especially if they think it might hurt the business. That won’t work with blogging. You need to promote your blog to get new readers. Social media and email are good promotion tools to consider.
Write a strong call to action
With a call to action, you’re driving your readers to engage with your company. A call to action can be as simple as including a link to another page on your website, a request to contact you with any questions or an invitation to connect on LinkedIn.
Blogging is long term
Blogging is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s like climbing up a mountain, not skiing down it. You need to stay dedicated, even when you’re struggling. And, as you build up content, you’ll see more successes.
Every blog post is another opportunity to engage a client or prospect. If you post once a month, you’ll get 12 opportunities to share your message every year. If you post every week, you’re in the 50s. It won’t take long to find your company’s sweet spot.
Limit analysis, for now
Page views, bounce rates and pages-per-visit are all good to know. But they aren’t necessary. The same is true for keywords, unique visitors and loyalty. Be honest with yourself: if you think learning about all of this will sully your blogging adventure, don’t bother with it until you’re ready.
Get blogging advice
If you’re tight on time or resources, think about working with a blogging consultant who understands the needs of your business. A blogging pro will help you build a strategy around your resources, goals and brand.
Do you want more blogging ideas? Contact us today at 416.925.1700 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Getting a company’s blog up and running is an exciting challenge – it’s one of the greatest opportunities to engage with clients and prospects.
Here are 10 things to always keep in mind during the early days of your company’s blog.
Get the right writers on board
People with a lot of customer contact are great sources for helpful blog topics. Out of that group, find the strongest writer – that may not be who you expected – and let them solve problems with well-written posts. That said, the more writers you have writing, the more content you have being generated.
Customers come first, not your company
People may not be that interested in the day-to-day of your business. Ask yourself: What advice can we provide? How are people using our products? The best posts generally solve customer problems.
Don’t worry too much about SEO
As Google changes its algorithms to be more “social,” keywords are becoming less and less important than whether or not the content is being shared. Keep this in mind when creating your editorial calendar.
Market your blog
Businesses tend to shy away from promoting something that may not be perfect, especially if someone thinks it might hurt the business. That said, if you don’t promote your blog, no one will know about it and you’ll be wasting valuable resources. Avoid the soft-launch approach. Be proud of your blog!
Always include a call to action
Hopefully your company is blogging to increase business, not just to be trendy. With a call to action, you’re driving your readers to engage with your company. A call to action can be as simple as including a link to another page on your website or a request to contact you with any questions (via phone or email).
Expect weak results in the short term
Many famous bloggers have called blogging a marathon, not a sprint. So stay dedicated and positive when you’re starting out. As you build up content, you’ll see more success.
Consider a blogging consultant
Think about partnering with a corporate blogging consultant who understands the needs of your business, and who will help you build a blogging strategy around your resources, brand and long-term goals.
Every blog post is another opportunity to engage a client or prospect. If you post once a week, you’ll get about 50 opportunities to share your message. If you post every business day, you’re in the mid-200s. Your company’s sweet spot is likely somewhere in the middle.
Decide how much you want to know
Are you interested in the terms “page views,” “bounce rates” and “pages per visit?” Do “keywords,” “unique visitors” and “loyalty” sound like things you want to spend time thinking about? Be honest.
There’s no place for snarky remarks, attacks or cheap shots in business blogging. Online readers can cut and paste – or take screen shots – and post them to social networks.
It’s time to start blogging, so keep these 10 tips in mind and enjoy yourself!
Contact us today if you want help getting your company’s blog started or if you’re looking for content ideas. You can reach us at 416.925.1700 or email@example.com.
Starting a blog is a great way to reach out to your clients and prospects, and the folks at Ext. Marketing Inc. are asked all the time for tips on the appropriate first steps for getting started.
We tell people that starting a blog can be broken down into the following three steps:
1. Choose your web hosting domain and platform
Most people know about GoDaddy, but there are many different online companies that sell urls and provide web hosting. With a little research, you can find one that fits your blogging needs and your budget.
You should also decide what blogging platform best suits your needs. Many people choose WordPress because it’s user friendly and cost effective.
Tip: Ask around. One of your coworkers or friends may have already started a blog. See if they’re happy with their blogging platform and find out how much it’s costing them.
2. Build an editorial calendar
Once you have your url and platform set up, you should create an editorial calendar that outlines the theme(s) of your blog, the topics you want to cover in your articles and the frequency with which you plan to post your articles.
This exercise will help you avoid those last-minute rushes for blog content. It will also ensure you post articles in regular intervals. People tend to follow blogs more closely when they have an idea about when new content is going to be posted.
Regularly posting new content keeps your site fresh and your readers interested, as well as increasing the chances that your blog will pop up in relevant Google searches.
Tip: Go back to your past presentations, white papers, etc. as sources of content – or inspiration – when putting together your editorial calendar.
3. Choose your team
You’ll want to discuss your blog with as many people as possible in your office (unless you’re a lone wolf). Creating content for your blog is easier when there are others contributing to it as well.
Don’t worry if some of your contributors are new to writing. Just have someone with writing/editing experience review all articles for grammar and to provide valuable feedback before they are posted.
Tip: Get outside help. Speak to your centres of influence to see if anyone is interested in providing occasional articles. They get to raise their profile and you can actually build stronger relationships through this type of content sharing.
Please remember that blogs don’t usually result in an immediate uptick in sales and it takes a while to build a following. Your best approach is to ensure everything you write is informative, timely and actionable.