In the world of social media, there is nothing more compelling than a client endorsing your brand.
Social media ‘endorsers’ are seen to give all their friends, families and colleagues trusted advice that is far more credible than any source of advertising.
In addition to promoting your business or brand, they can defend it too against any negative messaging in the countless small interactions that determine a brand’s health and eventually it’s wealth
A ‘Brucie Bonus’ is that they can also come up with some great ideas for product and service improvements, like our community members often do for us, and importantly they do it all for free as they value what you do for them.
It’s no wonder, then, that just about every forward thinking business is looking for those oh-so valuable assets- the endorsers.
Of course at the forefront of this drive for brand enhancement and enrichment are the big corporates, all designing and constructing very focused social media programs to find, activate and maintain that vital business asset, the client.
And understandably, their efforts are focused on making evangelists out of their customers, widely and expertly considered to be the most authentic and valuable brand spokespeople that only good service and positive experience can buy.
Businesses will seek to cultivate opportunity in the news media, education and other fields. But while the very big brand ‘beasts’ spend fortunes, is this really necessary or indeed possible for small businesses.
For smaller businesses, and given the impact of the brave new RDR world upon financial adviser businesses, the need to create, project and grow your brand has never been more important.
This need not cost much at all as what is often needed for smaller business brand awareness creation, especially for those businesses dealing in intellectual, intangible and sometimes considered dull service deliveries, is a spark, an idea and a low cost way of shouting about it. That is the beauty of social media today as that is exactly what it can do with a little planning and importantly at low cost.
So, engaging with your clients via what is seen to be an important medium for them today, will frequently be via Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.
If you look back to the heyday of direct sales in financial services, getting a new client was often achieved by way of a referral from a golf club, school, church or similar social grouping opportunity and then asking that new client to refer more friends, family and colleagues.
Social media today is simply the new, prospecting “Generation Game, but a quicker more efficient way of doing the exactly the same thing, brought up to date in fact via your website, mobile devices and social media.
While we should be aware that it is not without some challenges, widespread client and even employee endorsers are the surest, cheapest way to scale up your businesses social media reach and as a result your business.
The late Steve Jobs said, “Technology is nothing. What’s important is that you have a faith in people, that they’re basically good and smart, and if you give them tools, they’ll do wonderful things with them”.
Your clients and prospective clients can, if you can embrace them via community communication technology, do wonderful things for you and your business.
The more your ‘brand’ is looked at by way of your website, or searched for on the Internet, the higher your brand will climb on the search engine rankings.
The result being that if your business brand search results appear within your geographical location on page one or two, you are more likely to get that telephone call or e mail than your lesser ranked, un-social media engaged competitor.
Within your business remember that each employee can be the first link in a long chain of intimate, person-to-person experience shares. By increasing the number of starting points for ‘social sharing’, your business greatly improves its chances of achieving marketing success.
Although many advertisers have sought the support of highly connected “influencers” to initiate even viral marketing campaigns, research indicates that the most likely path to virality is a “big seed” strategy. In this approach, viral ideas are seeded by a large selection of first-generation endorsers and sharers, instead of a relatively small handful of highly- connected people.
Therefore although this is demonstrably successful on a large scale, it can also be successful in a scaled down way within your own smaller adviser business universe