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10 Tips for Doing Business Virtually

We are adjusting to a remote world of work, and while it may not last forever, the way we work will take a different shape in the years ahead. Now more than ever, it’s important to become social-media savvy and digitally dexterous. Here are some tips to get retirement plan advisors started.

1.    Define your value proposition. Determine what you stand for and how your practice is authentically different. Your content should consistently reinforce this ethos throughout all of your communications, from your email signature to your LinkedIn profile. For more insight here, read our article How to Create a Value Proposition That Delivers.

2.     Evolve your communication strategy. In today’s remote world, social media and video are critical communication channels and should be integrated into your messaging mix. A great place to start is LinkedIn, given its professional focus. Be brave in the face of new platforms. Right now, everyone is learning together — the faster you become fluent, the better.

3.    Set up or refine your LinkedIn profile. Consider this your new first impression. Make sure you have a professional photo, detailed descriptions of your work experience, education and skills, and a link to your website. These details make your profile more easily searchable, and they enhance your credibility. For more insight here, read our article Social Media Success: A Quick Guide to Amplifying Your DC Practice.

4.    Start slow. Set goals. Commit to consistency. To get started, go slowly, be consistent and set goals. Committing even five minutes a day to LinkedIn will pay dividends. Define tactical and strategic metrics for success; for example, commit to a specific number of posts per month, say three to four to get started, and measure according to your desired outcome. For instance:

  • If you want to raise brand awareness, focus on how your content is being interacted with — and by whom.
  • If you are looking to build relationships, focus on the number of new contacts you obtain.
  • If your objective is to generate more targeted interactions, focus on the number of direct messages that you send and receive.

5.    Curate and create consistent content. Use your value proposition (see No. 1) as your messaging mission, and always track back to its core tenets. To strengthen your story, collect credible articles for reposting and explore developing your own content. Consider whether what you are posting is most relevant to your target audience, and balance selling with support. To do this, position yourself as a value-added resource offering information and expertise, not simply products.

6.     Measure your efforts. Learn about the days, times and types of content that receive the most engagement. Use Google Analytics to track referrals from social media to your site. When you find out what’s driving traffic to your site, do more of it.

7.      Consider the company you keep. Accept requests only from people you know, trust or consider credible. Be aware that the people you connect with inform LinkedIn’s site algorithm and affect future recommendations. For example, if you connect with an individual in the engineering sector, expect an increase in recommendations to connect with engineering professionals. With this insight, you can more strategically develop your connections. In addition, join and participate in groups and consider setting up a private group where you can cultivate the conversation and highlight your areas of expertise. Consider your value proposition (see No. 1) and your key content (see No. 5) to inspire relevant and productive conversations among new and tenured relationships.

8.       Embrace video. Video-chat apps, webinar platforms and virtual conferences have replaced physical events in the near term and will most likely make up a bigger part of interactions going forward. Now is the time to get comfortable with video. Find a clean, quiet space in your home. Experiment with lighting and camera angles to ensure a clear picture. Present yourself as you would in person — and go for it. As with any new skill, practice makes perfect.

9.       Find the balance between flexibility and focus. The video medium can be distracting, both in working out new features and in calibrating yourself to a new communications format. In addition, people are preoccupied these days, and meetings can easily get off track. Some tangents are productive, breaking down the cubicle walls and building better relationships. Others are not. Find the balance, keep sight of your meeting objective and pivot the agenda accordingly.

10.     Webinars are simply another form of content. Features within webinars — from live polls to real-time Q&As to embedded content links — create opportunities for people to engage. Each engagement offers insights, including what people are interested in and who is most interested. These details can be added to client relationship management (CRM) tools to enhance your understanding of your relationships, tailor your message and manage your pipeline.

As discussed in The Next Generation of Retirement Plan Advisors article, advisors’ success depends on their commitment to continuous learning — a concept that extends beyond product and regulatory details to communication practices. What you do in today’s volatile environment will affect your business in the future, so consider how you can best present yourself using new mediums.

Our spring webinar, “Doing Business Virtually,” featuring speakers from LinkedIn and On24, as well as our head of practice management, Brie Williams, also explored these themes. Click here to watch the replay.

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