8.5 MIN READ
When you first launched your RIA, chances are you jumped to create social media accounts—Facebook, LinkedIn, maybe an Instagram. And, of course, Twitter. Twitter is one of the most popular social channels and currently ranks as one of the leading social networks worldwide based on active users.
But are you really an active user, or did you, like so many others, create your profile and then...nothing. When it comes to social media, the “if you build it, they will come” mentality won’t work. You can’t just create a profile and assume the rest is history. Social media is all about engagement, and that engagement is two-sided and continuous.
If you're struggling to engage on Twitter, fear not. This post will walk you through how to breathe life back into your Twitter account so you can reach more prospects and generate more buzz around your business.
Step 1: Pinpoint The Problem
Twitter is not the issue.
When things don’t go our way in marketing, our minds tend to quickly blame the thing we’re using. “Twitter doesn’t work.” But this is an emotional reaction. Logic and data show that Twitter is a legitimate platform for digital marketing, specifically when it comes to connecting with people. It might not work for your individual circumstances, but Twitter itself is not the problem; it’s a valuable marketing tool.
Millions of financial planning prospects are on Twitter. 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. use Twitter, and 41% of U.S. Twitter users report an income above $75,000. Moreover, people find Twitter to be a natural place to learn about and take action with companies (54% of surveyed users report taking action after seeing a brand mentioned in Tweets).
Once we acknowledge that we might be emotionally reacting to our stagnant Twitter page, we are better able to look at the situation logically and, ideally, strategically. Your first task is to pinpoint what the current problem is. Here are some common things I hear from RIAs I work with at XY Planning Network:
1. “Well, I’m just not really using it.”This is an easy one. It’s no surprise that your Twitter page is dying if you created it and then never really used it. There’s a lot of room for improvement here, because the baseline is almost zero.
Analogy: You got dressed and drove to someone’s party, but never went inside.
2. “I have no followers.”This is a common complaint I hear from financial planning firms who’ve tried their hand at Twitter. This is a firm that’s been tweeting, but doesn’t have much in the way of a followership (let’s say <100). For this, we need to understand that “no followers” is actually a symptom of some other problem. If this is your main problem, please pay extra attention to Step 3 in this blog post. Usually, the actual problem causing “no followers” is either a lack of awareness, or a lack of interest in your current Tweets (if the latter, go to section C below). First things first, in order to get followers, you need to know your Twitter audience then make them aware you’re on Twitter.
Analogy: You set up a fun party, but forgot to invite anyone.
3. “I get zero engagement.”Let’s say you are actively Tweeting and have some followers, but that’s when it comes to engagement, you're batting zero. Very little engagement on Twitter is, again, a symptom that needs to be properly traced back to the actual cause. Sometimes, low engagement can happen if your followers are rarely on the platform. You can rule this out by checking if your tweets are being seen. More often, however, low engagement is due to a low interest in what you’re Tweeting about. We can improve this interest level in an organized, strategic way. More on how later. For now, realize the “zero engagement” issue is actually a “low interest in what I’ve been Tweeting” issue.
Analogy: People came to your party, but had a lame time because you only talked about your firms’ blog posts.
4. “I haven’t gotten any prospects from Twitter yet.”I sympathize with this one. It can be frustrating to feel like so much is going well with your Twitter, but it’s still not driving prospects. The good news here is Twitter doesn’t actually have the pressure of driving prospects. Most commonly for financial planning firms, Twitter has the responsibility of driving website visitors, and then it’s your website’s job to convert that interested eye (who came from Twitter) into a prospect call. Read that again. Twitter is one step in their experience. I’m not saying that it’s impossible for a Twitter follower to send you a message saying, “I want to meet with you now,” but I am saying it’s rarely that outcome, and there’s more at play with your marketing funnel. The problem here is improper KPI focus.
Analogy: People came to your party, had a great time, and want to hang out again. They just haven’t given you a matching BFF friendship bracelet yet.
Step 2: Get Focused on the Next Step
Once you’ve pinpointed the actual problem of your RIA’s stagnant Twitter page, it’s time to get organized and focus on the appropriate next steps. To continue with the most common problems I hear from advisory firms:
- For “I’m not really using Twitter,” the next thing to focus on is starting to use it.
- For “I have no followers,” the next thing to focus on is awareness activities.
- For “I get zero engagement,” the next thing to focus on is changing the types of things you post about.
- For “I haven’t gotten any prospects,” the next thing to focus on is understanding how Twitter fits into your audience’s experience.
I'll talk through each of these priorities below. For now, jot down what you’ll be focused on.
If you’re sensing that your Twitter page has an issue that’s not listed as an example in this blog post, I invite you to start a conversation about it in the Marketing section of XYPN’s members-only forums and tag me (@Carolyn_Dalle-Molle) so your peers and I can support you through this process in the best way we can!
Step 3: Quick Sanity Check!
Before we move on, it’s time to do a quick sanity check.
While I opened this blog post with an argument that there’s value in being on Twitter, I also wholeheartedly believe that this marketing medium is neither required nor a fit for every firm. If either you or your audience despises Twitter, then proceeding through with the rest of this improvement process may not be the best use of your time.
Take a moment to think through:
- Is Twitter a good choice of platform for my specific audience?
- What audience am I expecting to connect with via Twitter? Prospects? Peers? Members of the media?
- Is Twitter a good choice of platform for me?*
*For XYPN members who want my help critiquing whether Twitter is a good platform for your firm, please watch Part 1 and Part 2 of my Social Media Strategy & Execution Webinar Series (available exclusively to XYPN members).
If you clear this sanity check, believing there’s an audience for you on Twitter, and your firm wants to continue trying it, move on to Step 4.
Step 4: Research Tips about Your Priority
At this point, you’ve properly identified the current problem with your stagnant Twitter page, focused on the next priority of what to do, and confirmed that Twitter is a valid choice for your firm. Next, it’s time to level up your knowledge, and research some tips about your priority.
There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. The internet offers a bounty of advice and guidance from credible sources that can save you months of time trying to figure things out on your own. Again, to continue with the examples in this blog post, I’ll share a few resources for:
- Starting to use Twitter - Research some “beginner tips” to supercharge your understanding of the platform. Here's an example list.
- Need to generate awareness - Google around for tips on how to get more followers. Exclusive to XYPN members: Use the same strategies I suggest for generating awareness of your firm and apply them to driving traffic to your Twitter page.
- Changing the types of things you post about - Experiment with new topic ideas your prospects would actually care about and/or try content types you haven’t dabbled with before. Exclusive to XYPN members: Watch Part 3 of the Social Media Strategy & Execution Webinar Series for my coaching on what to post.
- Understanding how Twitter fits into your audience’s experience - Outline one or two specific paths for prospects that involve your Twitter page. This exercise will help inform the true purpose and KPI’s of your time on Twitter. (Exclusive to XYPN members: Click here and watch the webinar titled “Workshop: Evaluate Your Social Media ROI.”)
Step 5: Commit to a Baseline of Activity
You’ve made amazing progress! At this point, you’re clear about what to focus on, and equipped with expert guidance. Now it’s time to commit to a plan.
Take 10 minutes to write down a baseline activity you will commit to. For instance:
- Starting to use Twitter - “I will commit to spending 15 minutes on Twitter every morning, and 15 minutes after lunch on Monday-Thursday. During this time, I will Tweet at least once, and reply to at least 5 Tweets from my target audience. Each Monday, I will spend my morning time reviewing the beginner tips list, and choosing one to implement this week.”
- Need to generate awareness - “I will commit to a Twitter Growth Hour every Tuesday morning. During this hour, I will execute at least one effort from Carolyn’s list that will help drive more exposure for my Twitter page. For the last 10 minutes of that hour, I will decide what I’ll focus on for the following week’s Twitter Growth Hour so I just show up and be focused on the task at hand.”
- Changing the types of things you post about - “On the last Monday of every month, I will have a 90-minute session to plan my Twitter content strategy for the upcoming month. I will try adding a new type of content every month in order to see what my audience is most engaged with. At the start of this 90-minute session, I will review the performance of my previous months’ experiments, summarize lessons in my document, and then choose a new theme for the following month. I will set at least 2 experiments to execute, and block additional time in my calendar as needed.”
- Understanding how Twitter fits into your audience’s experience - ““On the first Monday of every month, I will review the marketing funnel metrics and Twitter KPIs from the previous month. I will take this time to check how many people did ‘the next step’ I want them to do, and what types of Twitter content was the most effective in encouraging that behavior. I will also use this time to come up with new ideas for what to do this month in order to create a positive experience for my followers, and encourage them to ‘do the next thing’ to engage with the firm.”
Next, block time in your calendar (or the calendar of a marketing staff member) to ensure the baseline activity gets done. Seriously, open your calendar right now and create a recurring event. Protect that time. If something else needs to bump it, then move the item to another spot in your day.
Commit to that schedule for a certain timeline. For instance, if you decide to spend 15 minutes on Twitter every morning, and 15 minutes after lunch on Monday-Thursday, that’s great. You also need to decide how long you’ll run with this baseline activity before reevaluating. I suggest 3-6 months. After the timeline is up, schedule a meeting with yourself to evaluate the action plan and strategy.
At this point, if you think your Twitter dream is too big to execute, scale back. What we envision as ideal isn’t always realistic. Done is better than perfect, so scale back your idea in order to ensure you actually do the things you want!
Step 6: Experiment to Improve
Experimentation is always the final step in any marketing execution plan. You can (and should!) experiment with your marketing until you no longer want to grow.
Maybe a year or two from now, you’ll have mastered your baseline of activity on Twitter, and feel excited to experiment to find the next best thing. At that point, check out my list of Experiments to Try When Marketing Your RIA. Ideas #3-9 can be used on Twitter.
Want to chat about this topic, or have an idea for my next blog post? Let's connect... on Twitter 😉.
About the Author
Carolyn Dalle-Molle is a professional marketer with several years of experience helping small businesses reach their growth goals. Her approach to marketing is both creative and analytical; helping people achieve a creative flow that’s unique and exciting, while using tracking and metrics to learn what actually works for their business. Based in Boston, she's honored to work with XY Planning Network from coast to coast. Outside of work, she enjoys volunteering with elderly, making videos, and traveling with her friends and family.