Yes, you read that correctly. And no, it’s not a typo. You see, I’m getting all active (rather than passive) with my use of verbs which is just what the future leaders within the financial services market space are also doing in respect to their understanding and use of social media in their business operations.
“Yeah yeah.” I can almost hear you muttering cynically. “Social Media is something the trendsetters of Silicon Roundabout do. It doesn’t really have a place in the ‘serious’ world of finance, does it!?”
The answer is “Yes!” and more than you know…
Let’s look at it another way. Your impression of Social Media may well be based on your knowledge of Facebook and its compatriots and no serious company in their right mind would run the risk of potentially ‘cheapening’ their status by appearing in those circles!? In some ways there may be some weight in that, however, what do these channels ultimately have in common? I’ll tell you…they get people talking!
They facilitate communication. It doesn’t matter whether you are learning that your neighbour has a new puppy or that they like chocolate ice-cream; you are still LEARNING ABOUT THEM and I don’t think anyone can argue against the notion that knowing your client better is always going to help you do business with them.
I’m going to use an analogy that is well-known within the consultancy world – If you were a doctor, you wouldn’t prescribe medicine for a patient until you knew what was wrong with them, would you? But once you know what they need, you can then offer an appropriate solution.
Well, finding out what they need, want, whatever is the first-step (do you see where I’m going, with this?). If, you had a mechanism to learn about your prospective customer, you would want to make use of it, wouldn’t you? Well, that mechanism (amongst others) is Social Media.
Okay, taking this a step further – what do you do once you have all that valuable intelligence? The smart thing to do would be to record it somewhere that facilitated putting it to best use…hmm, a CRM solution perhaps?
I recently attended a seminar hosted by a world renowned sales and technology speaker, Frank Furness (www.frankfurness.com) and what made it such a breath of fresh air was that he was able to communicate how he (wearing multiple hats as an independent financial advisor, technology specialist, amongst others) has been able to harness the power of social media and use it to forge high-level business relationships that have proved rewarding both strategically and financially.
Granted, not everyone is going to become a social media guru but if you take one thing away from this piece, I hope it’s the acknowledgement that there should be a place for social media in your business strategy and that there are tools such as CRM that will help you move it from a ‘nice to have’ to an ‘absolute necessity’.