By KOBUS KLEYN
Each week MDRT and AdvisorNews bring readers advice on topics encompassing the financial services industry including case studies, practice management, tips for success and much more.
There is nothing as powerful as a personal brand because the customer buys you before anything else. With social media, it’s now even easier to build a strong brand that creates and sustains a competitive presence in your field.
Build A “Me, Inc.” Brand
Before you can promote your personal brand, you need to establish it. Your primary brand should be “Me, Inc.” The product provider you affiliate with should be secondary and only play a supporting role. Me, Inc. stems from the ways you differentiate yourself from your competitors as well as how you structure your value propositions. How you decide to communicate these attributes via social media platforms will be key.
Use social media to build your brand’s personality and authority, promoting your expertise and thought leadership as often and authentically as possible. The “me” in Me, Inc. refers to the unique way in which you personally manage your practice, professional status and sales regime. Ensure the information you share is relevant, pertinent advice to establish yourself as an industry leader.
Establish A Strategy
While social media is a great tool, its immediacy and pervasiveness means if you make a misstep it can be catastrophic. Hiring a social media coach is a great way for you to ensure you do not harm your personal brand accidentally. You will also see a great ROI from your investment.
As for which social media sites to use, evaluate the content you have and your overall objectives. I use LinkedIn as my primary platform and incorporate Twitter and Instagram on the side. LinkedIn can serve as a CV, website and personal blog without over-using the platform. Establishing a successful LinkedIn presence for your personal brand is a long-term process, completely different than other social sites and much harder. First, learn the vast functionality of LinkedIn through tutorials and webinars. Don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations from your peers, colleagues and social media coach. You also need to be strategic about your connections. Look to connect with those in your preferred niche markets rather than casting a wide net to everyone.
Once established, amplify your online presence through SEO. The goal is to ensure your name and website appear immediately in the top 10 search results when prospects and clients Google your name.
Be A Disruptor, Not Disrupted
It’s a well-known fact that if you are not disrupting your industry, you will be disrupted by someone who is. During a focus session with MDRT I realized that if I did not establish a social media strategy I would not only fall behind, but it would take me years to catch up with my peers. I also realized that I would be doing both my clients and prospects an injustice if I failed to get my personal brand online. If you do not already have a social media presence or brand, start now. Neither of these can happen overnight if you want them to serve your practice well.
If you take the necessary care with your social media branding, it will enhance self-awareness, help you reach your objectives and make you more visible within the financial advice profession and marketplace. Establishing a personal brand on social media will also help you better retain your clients, which in turn will provide you sustainability and security. Those of us who embrace and enhance our personal brands on social media will become the leaders within our profession.
Kobus Kleyn, CFP, is a seven-year Top of The Table MDRT member and Director at Kainos Financial Services, a Liberty Advice partner. Kobus is author of three books, including Passion for the Profession- Mastering the 9 P’s to Professionalism. Password for download is Passionbookfromkobus (case sensitive). He is the current Vice-Chair of the Financial Planning Institute of Southern Africa Client Engagement Committee and Chair of The FIA RDR Intermediary Workgroup, The Liberty Financial Advisor Ethics Committee. He serves as MDRT Director PGA Main Platform and FPI Annual Convention Committee.