The lines between our online and offline worlds are becoming more blurred every day.  Social media is no longer its own separate entity sitting in left field; it’s woven into our everyday culture. Using social media to engage with clients, prospects and COIs might be a differentiator now – but in the future it will be an expectation.   Take advantage of the current novelty associated with social media and set yourself apart by “wowing” your key relationships. 

Here are three specific ways you can do so:

 

1. Turn Facebook Intelligence into Surprise and Delight Gifts

The fastest growing demographic on Facebook is the 55 to 64 year old segment.  Your clients are using Facebook more than ever! In addition, Facebook is the home of major life events.  Your clients are posting about weddings, grandchildren, vacations, and more. Use this intelligence to come up with small thoughtful gifts.

An advisor we work with noticed that his client posted a picture of herself with a celebrity she adored on Facebook.  He took the photo, had his assistant Photoshopped the picture onto the cover of a People magazine, framed it, and gave it to her at their next review meeting.  The client was jumping out of her seat with excitement.  Another advisor regularly takes pictures his clients post on Facebook of their grandchildren and puts them on coffee mugs. He gives his clients the mugs during review meetings. The clients love showing these mugs off to their friends and family.  It’s so simple and powerful.

In order to gather and use this intelligence you will need to be connected to clients on Facebook.  To make this simple, create a custom Facebook newsfeed for clients by creating a custom list. This will help shield you from the Facebook noise and zero in on the posts of your most important relationships.

 

2. Give LinkedIn Introductions to Client’s Children

Many of your clients have children graduating college, and some may be floundering to find a job.  If you are like most advisors who use LinkedIn, you probably have a robust network. Why not leverage your network to help your client’s children, endear yourself to your clients, and build the foundation for your relationship with the next generation? 

One advisor offers to meet with children of clients who have graduated college (or are close to doing so).  During this meeting, she peruses her LinkedIn network and identifies professionals she will introduce to the job-seeking graduate.  This can often be done over a quick lunch with an iPad.

 

3. Convert Your Online Conversation Offline

Showing your clients you are listening to their updates is a big deal. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, make an effort to engage with their posts, then take this information, and weave it into your next real-world conversation.  For example, if your client posted on Facebook about not feeling well, comment on Facebook that you hope they get well soon.  Then, the next time you see them in person, ask them if they are feeling better.  It’s that simple.   That said, use this sparingly.  It will lose impact if you engage with them too often and can quickly change the client’s perspective of you from thoughtful to overzealous.  A good rule of thumb would be to engage with their social media posts once or twice a month.

These are just a few ideas to get your creative social media wheels turning.  It’s all about making your key relationships feel valued with all the technological tools at your fingertips.  Focus on the people, not the technology. 

 

 

Stephen Boswell and Kevin Nichols are thought-leaders with The Oechsli Institute, a firm that specializes in research and training for the financial services industry. @StephenBoswell @KevinANichols www.oechsli.com