It is easy to take for granted how new, to all of us, this whole social media thing is. Most financial services professionals only became aware of Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter within the last few years. Even those of us who made the social plunge early (I joined LinkedIn in January of 2004 and Twitter in October of 2007) have only been using the tools for less than a decade. So, it is no wonder that the process of using these social networking tools for business can seem overwhelming at the start.
In the early days of my role as Socialware’s Social Business Strategist I have noticed what I would describe as a gap between understanding intellectually, at least at a high level, that there is business value in using social media and a full on conviction that these tools are powerful and arguably indispensable to the modern financial professional’s business. In doing some brainstorming with Stacy Yamaoka and Carolyn Pawelek, of our Customer Success team, about the user path to social media adoption I came up with what I believe is a simple process to close this gap.
The process builds on an idea Stacy had for a simple checklist of tasks that users at financial firms could use to get up and running. In her role as Implementation Manager she uses a checklist at the company level for our customers. It seemed only logical to use a similar checklist at the user level. But, as I thought about it more the checklist’s linear “get it done” approach wasn’t really going to go very far in getting the financial professional to success with social. We needed a to create an easy to understand framework for ongoing activity designed to produce profitable business results.
Introducing the Social Business Activity Cycle
The Social Business Activity Cycle is a simple, five step process for managing relationships with clients, prospects and referral partners. With this process, users can easily get started and quickly move into realizing real business value from online social networking. The efficiency of the system ensures that users won’t get bogged down in minutia or be overwhelmed or frustrated. In financial services time really is money and what we have created with the Social Business Activity Cycle is a way to realize positive ROI via a straight forward daily process.
Below is an outline of the Social Business Activity Cycle. You can also download a PDF to use at your desk or share with your colleagues by clicking here.
The goal of using social networks for business is to:
- Enhance the profitability of existing client relationships by retaining clients longer and increasing share of wallet per client.
- Win new clients by staying engaged with prospects and referral partners.
- Connect with your existing network via LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
- Start with your existing contact management system (such as Outlook) as a source for emails.
- Categorize your connections with the list tools in Facebook and Twitter. Use tags or folders (premium feature) on LinkedIn.
- Lists should include: Clients, Prospects, Referral Partners, News & Information Sources, Friends, Family and Colleagues
- People share what is important to them via social networks.
- Listen for major life events that may indicate a need for your services.
- Listen for opportunities to stay connected and know your network more intimately.
- Listen for opportunities to solve problems via your referral network and beyond.
- Listen for opportunities to amplify what others share.
- Comment on items that peak your interest.
- Respond to requests for help.
- Amplify/forward along the content shared by your clients, prospects and referral partners.
- Share news stories that you find interesting.
- Share content that your clients, prospects and referral partners may find useful.
- What are you up to today?
- What did you do yesterday?
- What are you excited about?
- The cycle comes full circle.
- You will be constantly adding new connections.
Make the social business activity cycle part of your daily routine for optimal results.