Why Most Financial Professionals Simply Don’t Get It When it Comes to Social Networking

Four Key Reasons Most Financial Professionals Don’t “Get It” When It Comes To Social Networking

Most of the Financial Professionals I have talked to seem to be saying the same thing: “I really don’t get this social networking thing”. Well if you don’t get it, my strong suggestion is…YOU BETTER GET IT!

Why? Because there are two things we know to be true:

1. PEOPLE TALK

2. WE KNOW EXACTLY WHERE THEY ARE TALKING THESE DAYS

All you have to do is take a look at these eye-opening growth statistics and you can clearly see why this new opportunity for your business simply cannot be overlooked or ignored:

Facebook has over 300 Million users, and about 600,000 join every day
50% of Facebook users are online every single day
The two fastest growing segments are people ages 35 to 55 and women ages 50 and older
LinkedIn, MySpace, and Twitter have over 150 Million users
Twitter’s growth rate is currently over 750%

IT JUST MAKES SENSE:

If you take a look at the business relationships you treasure the most, they mainly consist of your family, friends, loved ones, co-workers and many other people who directly or indirectly support the growth of your business. The truth is that one of the key ingredients to a successful business is the ability to build and maintain high-quality, meaningful, and credible relationships with their clients and within their community. I’m sure this sounds familiar, because THIS IS THE ESSENCE OF SOCIAL NETWORKING!

WHAT’S IN IT FOR YOU AND YOUR BUSINESS?

If used properly, social networking becomes an excellent supplemental marketing strategy, serving as the perfect complement to your existing business plan. The reason why is because it is an extremely low-cost way to expose yourself and your business to the most popular places on the Internet, which directly connects you to the various communities, organizations, and groups that you care about.

From what I can conclude, there are essentially five key benefits:

1. Increase your business exposure and visibility

2. Improve your reputation and credibility

3. Increase brand identity and recognition

4. Enhance awareness of your products or services

5. Provide the opportunity to build a network of people and see this network exponentially growth…because PEOPLE TALK are constantly hearing from and talking about YOU

NOW FOR THE BAD NEWS:

Many studies, including ones in which I have personally conducted, prove that most financial professionals simply don’t have what they need to be truly successful in Social Networking, and I have broken all of these details that should hopefully help each of us:

FOUR KEY REASONS MOST FINANCIAL PROFESSIONALS MAY NEVER REALLY “GET IT”

1. DESIRE:

Most financial professionals enjoy doing key things in their spare time that they are passionate about, such as their careers, hobbies, family, faith, sports, traveling, or whatever makes them genuinely happy.
Surveys show that Social Networking is at the bottom of this list of passions.
Most professionals today lack the time, skills, and most importantly, the inclination (or that “burning desire”) to build, cultivate, and maintain a successful social network…particularly on an ongoing basis. In other words, this is not something most financial professionals “choose to do”, but rather they feel like the “have to do it”.
Every Social Network expert will tell you that success is largely driven in social networking through your ability to constantly offer new, valuable, and useful information and ideas. In fact, this is by far, their biggest challenge in working with their clients, since most don’t have enough content and materials to continuously educate your social networks.
The reality is that most financial professionals are not gifted or skilled writers or editors, not only for their own industry, but particularly in designing pieces that fit well within the guidelines and purposes of social networks
Also, most financial professionals are not familiar with exactly what to write about, what topics to write about, how often to write about new topics, and how often to submit this information to these networks.

2. TECHNOLOGY:

Studies prove that most professionals who are 40 years old or older are at a big disadvantage, mainly because we didn’t grow up in the “computer era”. Therefore, we were never afforded the luxury of growing up in their early years to capitalize on the advent of the Internet and the every-growing capabilities of computers and technology.
The reason this makes this particularly challenging for most financial professionals is because most social experts will tell you Social Networking requires at least 10-15 hours of work each week, along with the aforementioned high level of computer and Internet skills.
Purchasing and maintaining all of this technology and computer equipment can be very expensive, as it almost always includes things like training, software, security, database backup, tech support, etc.
There is a never-ending need and requirement to ensure you are constantly staying updated on the newest and most innovative state-of-the-art technologies, which can also add to additional time, expenses, and training.
These social networks are growing exponentially in size and complexity. In fact, today there are over 70 Social Networking websites. This poses two big challenges: 1. It makes it much more difficult to keep up with all of the latest technologies associated with each social network, like blogging, tweeting, uploading, scanning, managing databases, navigating software, keyword tagging, search engine optimization, filtering spam and viruses, and much more. 2. It becomes vitally important that you know which of these Social Networks are worthwhile for you and your business, and which ones are not a good fit. This is an extremely important, and yet often overlooked, point about the number of social networks you belong to.
Many financial professional think they need to be involved in “as many of these networks as possible so they can get the most exposure” when it fact, the reality is the most important focus should be on the quality of these social networks…and NOT the quantity”!

3. INTEGRATION:

If you can believe this, even though most of us have heard of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and maybe a few others, there are approximately 70 different Social Networking websites today…and growing by leaps and bounds!
The good news is that this has brought about many new strategies and cutting-edge technologies that are specifically designed to help integrate and coordinate these social networks…which essentially allows them all to be able to “talk to each other”, and share information. This is being made available because it helps to minimize your efforts to send a message out to multiple networks, and also attempts to eliminate mass-duplication of content.
The bad news is that, with the exception of a tiny minority, most financial professionals are simply not interested (or capable) of investing the time, training, resources, to keep pace with all these new tools.
The other harsh reality is that most financial professionals simply don’t have the time, desire, and/or the quick and easy access to keep up with all of these new tools that can help them coordinate their efforts among this wide range of social networks.
One thing we know for sure is that one of the most critical ingredients to Social Networking success is making sure each of your multiple networks are working in harmony together, saying the same message at the same time. Given the current and future levels of growth in these networks and technology, this dramatically decreases the probability that financial professionals are likely to create the best possible results from these social networks unless they are all simultaneously working together.

4. TIME

The truth is Financial Professionals are not any different from other professionals. They too have a huge struggle to find that “perfect” balance between their everyday life events such as their career, marriage, friends, social events, kids and their multiple events, health and fitness, hobbies, sports, email, etc.
Today’s difficult economic environment has clearly played a big factor in making it even more challenging for Financial Professionals to find that “proper” balance in our lives between family, work, and other “life events”. These restrictions even further limit our ability to set aside a few hours each day to work on these social networks.
The harsh reality is that Social Networking requires a serious and dedicated effort and many hours of your personal time every day as a result of these sophisticated networks, technologies, and constant communication with a large number of changing people.
Among some of the extremely time-consuming Social Networking tasks are: regularly writing emails/blogs/tweets/updates, constantly creating target marketing campaigns, joining a large number of groups and networks, contributing regular and valuable information to these groups and networks, learning how to adapt to unique groups of people, regularly researching and provide new and current content, closely monitoring and managing an increasing group of friends or followers, working in harmony with the many different social networks, keeping up-to-date with the newest and most innovative technologies, etc.

IS EVERY FINANCIAL PROFESSIONAL DOOMED FOR SOCIAL NETWORKING FAILURE?

Of course not! However, unless you are one of the rare few financial professionals with an extensive background in technology, a vast array, access, and the ability to keep updated with the newest and most innovative technology tools and resources, an extensive understanding of all these 70+ social networks, and which one is right for you, a large amount of free time, and a burning passion to become a social networking expert, your best bet is to choose one of two routes:

1. Set your expectations low, work at often as you can, and just have fun.

2. An alternative is to seek the help of the wide array of social networking companies who can help do the large majority of this for you. This frees up much of your time, gives you the ability to maximize your results and efficiencies, and can also dramatically expand your social network and business opportunities.

What Every Financial Institution Should Know About Social Networking

The aim of any business is to be successful and profitable throughout the lifetime of the organization. The evolution of communication technology in recent years has helped make this possible by improving a business’s ability to network with its existing and potential customers. What once required face-to-face conversations and the physical exchange of contact information can now be done in an entirely virtual environment with just a click of a button.

Advances in communication technology, such as texting, blogging, emailing, media sharing and gaming, have created new social norms and revolutionized the way people communicate. It is no wonder, then, that the financial services industry is beginning to use various forms of Computer Mediated Communication (CMC) to enhance customer service and improve current products and services. The most popular form of CMC are social networking websites such as Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and LinkedIn, which are used primarily to maintain or build connections among users.

Social networking sites represent a large market with tremendous growth potential that can be easily targeted by financial institutions if they know how to use these sites to their advantage. Like many organizations that have already experienced the benefits of using social networking sites to enhance their business, financial institutions are beginning to understand and embrace the power of social networking as it relates to their day-to-day business activities as well. Whether educating customers on new services, boosting customer confidence, increasing sales outreach or personally connecting with their customers to meet their banking needs – social networking is a vital communication tool that financial institutions can utilize in many of their customer business interactions.

Understanding Social Networking
Social networking is a form of collaboration and networking where individuals develop groups and associations, often forming a virtual community. While social networking is possible in a face-to-face setting, such as on a college campus, it is most often seen online in a CMC environment. The size and popularity of the “communities” created by MySpace and Facebook and other social networking websites have experienced substantial growth as more and more people invite their acquaintances, co-workers, friends and family members into these virtual communities.

The traditional roles of the sender and receiver involve delivering messages in a clear and concise way and providing feedback to achieve agreement of a particular subject. Social networking uses these same basic building blocks but accomplishes the end results in a slightly different way. The cues that help facilitate understanding in a face-to-face environment (e.g., intonation of voice, body language, facial expressions, physical distance, etc.) are often removed in a social networking environment. Though some websites offer an audio visual element, social networking is largely text-based, relying on “digital gestures” to demonstrate emotions and add emphasis to a message, such as:

• Forwarding.

3 Success Secrets on How to Manage Social Networks Effectively

The discussion whether or not to use Social Media Marketing has died down. By now, the business community agrees that social networking is a must for every business. But using online networks is not an easy and fast fix, like thought before. In fact, a recent study has found that people who use social networking successfully spend an average of 6.5 hours a week on it. That is a long time in order to be successful. Now the issue is to find a way to manage the networks better in order to recoup some of the time. Let me introduce you to 3 secrets on how to manage your networks effectively. You will be more successful and save more time on top of it.

The first success secret is to link your social networks effectively.

It will not be beneficial for you to link all of your networks to each other. The result will be that you have a lot of double (or even triple) content in each of your networks. You really want to have each piece of content only one time in each network. For you to achieve this goal, you have to think carefully about how to link your online networks. Consider as well in which network you are more present and in which not. Another important point to consider is the question if all your posts fit in each network? You might have a more personable approach in Facebook and Twitter, but a more businesslike approach in LinkedIn. I link my Facebook Fanpage to Twitter, Twitter to LinkedIn and my Blog to my Facebook Fanpage. It works well for me because I am mostly in my Facebook Fanpage. This way, I do not have any double posts, but everything I put into my Facebook Fanpage will be distributed to all my social networks. But just like I said before, consider your particular strategy first before you link your social networks. After you have linked your social networks effectively, you should use a social networking management tool.

The second success secret is to use a social networking management tool like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck.

The main reason why you need a social networking management tool is to save time. You do not have to sign in and out of each network every time you want to check your messages or you want to post something. Instead, you just sign in to you management tool and you can do everything right from that platform. That alone is a huge time saver. In Hootsuite, for example, you can put your Twitter account, your Facebook profile and your Facebook Fanpage in different tabs. You simply switch from tab to tab to see what is going on in your network. You can also post status updates in all your social networks you have registered with Hootsuite. But be careful with that – you do not want to have double content in your networks. Remember how you have your networks linked together before you post. Just try it out and you will be amazed how easy managing your networks can be. Now, off to the third secret.

The third success secret is to use automation without losing authenticity.

Social networking can only be effective if you are authentic. That is a fact. Now, you could argue that automation is not authentic and goes against this very important fact. The solution is that it depends on how much and what you automate. Spending 6.5 hours a week in order to be successful in Social Media is nearly one complete workday of the week. That is a lot of time to use for effective social networking. In order to manage your time better, you don’t have another choice but to automate certain steps of your online networking. Some of the tasks in online networking lend themselves perfectly for automation, like sending DMs (direct messages) to new followers on Twitter. Additionally, you can schedule just a couple of Tweets a week to go out automatically. As long as you still go and check your Twitter account in person and answer your DMs, you are still authentic. Another area that lends itself for automation is to send out your blog post to all of your social networks. You should not automate more than 20 % of your social networking. If it is more than that, authenticity is just not there anymore.

Radio Think Tank Talk – Social Networks Warping Society, A Revaluation of Importance

Well here we are on this 24th day of October 2012, and we ought to ponder for a minute how much our society has changed in this last decade. In many regards it hasn’t necessarily been for the better, and I’d like to cite the example of online social networking, as it seems to have invaded our Internet lives to a large degree, often making a mockery out of the important issues and the challenges of our time. The social networks have caused the over throw of governments, de-stabilized civilization, and changed the outcomes of elections. Our elections in the United States included.

Still, is it a net negative or have these social networks actually brought us closer together in other ways thus, it is a net positive? You see, the reality is there is always good and bad in any new technology – social networks included. Today on this program I will argue that social networks are a big problem for human societies, and if this continues in the current direction we will pay a dear price for it in the future. Currently, we are watching productivity drop as employees are too busy text messaging friends and playing on Facebook while at work to be of any real value to a company’s bottom line.

The billions of hours wasted each quarter are hurting companies’ profits and revenue, it also causes challenges with workflow, customer service, and mistakes. We are killing people on the road as users attempt to access their social networking sites, send tweets, or text messages while driving. Indeed, as a bicyclist, I am afraid to ride anymore – too many close calls, and it seems those text messages are more important to people than my life or even their own safety. In fact, I saw a bumper sticker the other day, it read; “Honk if you love Jesus, Text if you want to meet him,” and that about sums of that problem in a nut shell doesn’t it?

Indeed, I can remember when I received my first text message, I thought it was rude, as I’d sent detailed instructions and explanations to a fellow associate, and he sent me back a one-sentence email, I hadn’t realized it was a text message sent from his mobile phone to my email address. I was so turned off I cancelled my deal, and called another associate. Only later did I realize that he was just texting me with his new technology – still, the shallowness of his comment was the deal breaker, so I moved on.

It amazes me sometimes the number of people who wish to state their opinions about things they know nothing about. They critique, chastise, and show their ignorance at every turn. They mistake comments made by achieved persons to mean something else because their attention span is so low. Further, any attempt to correct them is just “pearls to swine” as they don’t get it or even care to understand. You see, they are so interested in notoriety and self-validation, that they work so very hard to promote the most socially responsible and politically correct argument, even if it is untrue or a white wash of reality.

One of the biggest and scariest things I’ve seen is how people who’ve done nothing in the world ever in their lives are busy trying to gain friends and figure that once they get a lot of friends on their social networking page, they have arrived. The problem is very few of those people are actually friends, and some of them are not even real. It becomes even worse as they run around complimenting people hoping to get more friends and followers, and follow others in order to hope to get a reciprocal friend, or join someone else’s circle of influence. The whole thing has now become a big, fake, sick joke.

Still, these folks feel they are now something special with lots of pictures of so-called friends and followers, but to what avail? Some who have attained thousands of friends by hook or crook have worked very hard to get folks to “friend” them back by use of false praise. Indeed, they assume everyone needs pre-validation. They read one book such as “how to win friends and influence people” or take one psychology class in college and assume they can complement their way into someone else’s life. What they don’t understand is the really achieved people don’t care what anyone else thinks, actually any sort of trite compliment is a turn-off, and it’s immediately seen for what it is and what it is worth; nothing.

That is not to say that there isn’t money in social networking, so these players of the game, are not worth nothing as all that data is certainly worth something, and it could be a big revenue machine in the future, so let’s discuss the business model and the challenges moving forward shall we?

There was a recent interesting article in the summer of 2012 which noted that over 10% of all the Facebook accounts were fake – wow, so they don’t really have a billion users as they announced in mid-October of 2012, they only have 900,000 and yes, while that is still quite a few, it also means that potentially 10% of anyone’s listed online “friends” are non-existent, they are not real. Not that anyone who “friends” you on a social network is really your friend anyway – see that point. Please read Bloomberg BusinessWeek article; “The Making of a Billion” by Ashlee Vance (October, 2012).

Importance of Social Networks for Businesses

Introduction:
Companies after ever increasing the speed of utilization of internet and social networks by individuals decided to use social networks to become more and more popular in terms of their banding strategies, positioning, marketing activities, customers services and feedbacks, implementation of e-CRM and alike. People use social networks in order to communicate, share their ideas, and use the flow of information and other means of publishing information about themselves.

Although since 1990s, utilization of internet, many social networks and internet tools had emerged, it was not popular. Recently, through the development of social network in friendly atmosphere and with less complexity in terms of functioning for individuals, this service (social network service) has become part of people’s lives.

In terms of clarification of analysis on customer satisfaction, customer retention, and customer relationship management and customer feedbacks, social networks play a pivotal role. As a result companies have tried to utilize Social network services in order to better serve customers and obtain other various objectives. Most companies recognized that social network sites (SNSs) like Napster, Facebook, and Twitter and so on are the best places to them in order to highlight their brand image through which they can increase their market share, and sustainability.

What is a Social Network?
It is considered as a platform through which social relations will be built among people and information sharing will be facilitated. Through social networks sites personal information and relationships can be shared and users can stay in touch.

Most of SNSs provide a personal page for posting, ability to search for friends and other issues like updating profile and personal data and have the ability to restrict and/or conceal the mentioned information by page owner from the eyes of public or specific people.

These Online facilities (SNSs) have improved the movements of individuals on online tasks, especially in the mentioned social networks for the purpose of maintaining friendships regardless of distance (geographical limitation). Not only that but also it enables people to find better jobs and partners.

Regarding the acceptance of these sites by people, companies have become interested to get involved in this process through which they can sell their products and services and better serve customer ‘s needs and wants and through analysis of consumer buying patterns and their feedbacks they can fine tune their decision making process as well as their strategies.

Below information reveals the fact that how rapidly number of social networks increase since 1997.

1997: SixDegrees.com

1998: —

1999: Asian Avenue, Live Journal, Black Planet

2000: LunarStorm (SNS relaunch), Migente

2001: Cyworld, Ryze

2002: Fotolog, Friendster, SkyBlog

2003: CouchSurfing, LinkedIn, MySpace, HI5, Tribe.net,

2004: Orkut, Dogster, Flicker, Facebook (Harward only), Mixi, Piczo, Hyves, Catster

2005: YouTube, Zanga, Yahoo.360, Facebook (Highschool networks), Bebo, Ning, Asian Avenue & BlackPlanet (relaunched)

2006 till now: QQ, Windows Live Space, Facebook (Corporate Networks), Twitter, MyChurch, and then Facebook (Everyone)

Many companies during previous decade as a result of increasing the use of these networks have decided to penetrate into SNSs in order to find the relevant information of people, elicit information and analyze them in order to make appropriate decision based on market moves; not only in terms of customers but also in terms of competitors and rules and regulations. They aim at finding useful information in order to do external (Scanning, monitoring, forecasting, assessing), and industry analysis (5 forces of porter) as well as competitor analysis.

Usefulness of Social Networks:

Considering SNSs as a marketing tool, they help companies to interact with customers and create online communities and pages,

Updating latest activity of companies, advertisements and providing customers with applications necessary or useful in order to increase the traffic of their page, blog or community,

Facilitate the process of being aware of the company, and promote ideas, products and services,

Skipping search engine optimizations rankings,

It helps to get feedback from customers and to better implement the concept o electronic customer relationship management (e-CRM) and to classify valuable customers in order to serve them with value creating activities,

Focus on market, global reach, limitless number of customers who can be served, to better segment the market and customers,

Enables different model of advertising such word of mouth, suggestions for specific group or niche and so on.

Fastest way to get information and finding opportunities,

Social Networking Sites and E-commerce Businesses:
Although other methods of communication exist, they are to some extent different comparing to SNSs. Social network is a place in which individuals become fan of a page, they see each other and based on their mutual interest they become capable of interacting with each other and make a community on their own.

The mentioned issue is the result of shifting the power through utilization of SNSs from company to consumers. More social networks get popular, the tougher is the implementation of business based on traditional procedures therefore; companies must consider market moves in this case. Besides, by digging up the information available on these networks identification of valuable customers would be easier and a business can serve its valuable customers much better in this regard.

Regarding the accessibility of individuals to internet, companies moved from Brick and Mortar to Click and Mortar or to virtual one which resulted in operational efficiency improvement as well as generating revenue.

As companies are moving toward the above mentioned issue (adaptation of EC), they utilize several strategies to achieve success. They used various strategies in business and corporate level to reduce costs of transaction, reducing delivery time, to better serve the customers and to better manage them, and to better inform them about the current activities performing by the business especially for service companies. Accordingly, due to massive passion of individuals in case of using social networks like Facebook, twitter and so on, companies decided to reduce the gap between themselves and consumers by following consumers passion therefore, they started to make use of social networks and possibly other web 2.0 applications on extend their businesses.

In this era, almost all companies have websites and among them, some have social network to better communicate with customers which is linked to a website by the use of social plugins. Consequently, it is highly suggested to businesses that if they are not being first mover in Social networks, at least do never miss the chance of being late mover.