How to Leverage Online Platforms to Build Your Reputation
Enough has been written about the importance of having a website; although I did meet a financial adviser who didn’t have one last week – he will soon! While your website is an essential element of your online marketing strategy and reputation building, it doesn’t stop there.
Research conducted by SRSCC reveals that your existing clients aren’t visiting your website; they see no need.
Who is then?
But how did they land on your website?
Did they do a random Google search or, were they told about you by their family/friends?
80% of the time it’ll be the latter.
The point is, your existing clients aren’t looking at your website every day but, they are looking at other online platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn and to some degree Twitter. So how do you leverage those online platforms to build your reputation and increase word of mouth introductions?
Please don’t discount the role of your website. If it is designed, managed and used effectively, it will be the hub of all your marketing. If you are using social media to educate and inform others of the value you provide, your articles/posts should be hosted on your blog/web page which allows viewers to read your content but also browse through your website and learn even more about the outcomes they can expect and the value you provide.
An active website will:
- Demonstrates expertise/value
- Start to build relationships
- Educate the viewer about the outcomes they can expect
- Show why you can be trusted
- Lowers the risk of them taking the next step
- Invites them to contact you for more information
To achieve all of the above, it is recommended that:
- The website is mobile responsive
- Engaging and fresh images are used on every web page
- Relevant and quick to read content is uploaded on a regular basis
- Each web page tells the viewer what to do next. For example, call, email, etc.,
- There is evidence that the business can help people just like them. Make sure you have the social proof [testimonials]
- Make sure the contact details are clearly visible – most will view the website on a mobile device – make it easy for them
- Show your brand and personality – have a short video introducing the business – make it in the context of them not all about you
Efficient use of social platforms can very easily promote your online reputation. Word of warning, though, don’t post and ignore. If you post content and ignore comments and likes, you may negatively impact your reputation. Social means conversing with others. Don’t be scared off by social media either. I recently spoke to a financial adviser who told me the reason he doesn’t use Facebook is because he had heard about all the negative comments you can receive.
Firstly, most people don’t want to be seen making negative comments online because it makes them look bad. Secondly, where are all the negative comments? Thirdly, if you do receive a negative comment, you can just remove it [if you wish].
Communicating via email is still an excellent option.
Because most of us read our emails! Yes, there is a lot of scam stuff going around, but if a client sees one of your emails, chances are they will open it. If they can open the email and share the content easily from their system, it increases the chance of your information reaching, even more, people.
As a financial adviser, your reputation is critical; it’s how you attract and retain clients.
Why People Believe What You Tell Them
At some point in our lives, we’ve all been told “you won’t be able to achieve…” something by a teacher, boss or even a parent. For many, this type of discouraging mentoring propels them to do just that thing. However, for other this can prevent the very learning, practice and dedication needed to achieve whatever that “something” is.
Remember this rule; your team will believe you.
It’s entirely possible that some of your team are driven by the idea of achieving that unattainable goal or proving you wrong. The risk of using this strategy is too great. I was once told by a hiring manager that they “couldn’t see me managing people”. If I had even the slightest hesitation, based on that comment, my career would have stalled. I fought the subconscious effect of this comment and pushed through it. I was aware that this comment could subconsciously hold me back. It’s not safe to assume those on your team can do the same. When my manager attempted to give me “advice”, their intention might have been good. I don’t honestly know. It’s possible that this manager didn’t see the qualities they thought a good manager had. It’s possible they also didn’t see the ability to improve my skills either. Regardless of the intention, this advice could have stopped my pursuit towards a leadership role right there. At the time, I had just read Malcolm Gladwell’s book Blink and was introduced to the idea of priming.
Priming refers to subtle triggers that influence our behavior without our awareness of it happening.
An example that Gladwell uses is in Spain, where authorities introduced classical music on the subway and after doing so, watched vandalism and littering drastically decrease. I was determined not to let priming effect my behavior. I would in fact begin to do the exact opposite of what priming does. I would change my behavior to act more like a leader. I slowly began to change the way I dressed, moving towards more professional choices at work. I began reading leadership books, blogs and listening to podcasts.
Always assume you are priming your team members.
No matter what your thoughts are on a team member’s future career aspirations or goals, don’t shoot them down. As leaders, simply decide that every team member should be given the benefit of the doubt. That way you won’t negatively prime them. For example, that team member that applies for the open management position. Who does it benefit if you tell them they “aren’t management material”. Maybe you, the next time a role opens, won’t have to deal with the discussion again. Does it truly benefit you? The demotivation, the priming has taken place. Why would that team member attempt to work harder, learn more or stick around?
Priming doesn’t only happen with major life changing or career changing situations.
Priming can also happen when a team member presents a new idea or concept. If a team member comes to you with a horrible idea and you immediately respond with “that won’t work”, you’ve primed them. Some people are more resilient than others, some believe they are more resilient than they are. Regardless, it’s not about your opinion on the idea, if it truly won’t work then it won’t work. The objective is to change how you respond to avoid negative priming. The over used term, “it’s not what you say it’s how you say it” is accurate. Instead of saying it “won’t work” ask for more details, or explain the history or approach you’ve tried before. Avoid jumping to the conclusion or verbalizing it. “I’d love to see you in a management role in the future, we’ll build a plan and I’ll help you get there” for the management material example. For that “off the wall” idea that won’t work, “here’s what I’ve tried before, do you think your approach would have a different result”? Have a conversation, after all…..
“People will forget what you said. They will forget what you did but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou
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