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Is Facebook an overlooked client communication tool?

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This is a feature I wrote for Cofunds Perspectives Magazine which poses the question 'Why don't more independent financial advisers maintain contact with clients through Facebook?'. Cofunds is a web-based investment platform provider for the UK financial planning market; Perspectives is its offline magazine for users.

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Is Facebook an overlooked client communication tool?

  1. 1. Expert view your clients are more likely to use Facebook each week making the than read the Sunday money sections connection Ian Thomas questions whether client base, which is – for now at least – free of charge. connect and stay connected. But why would clients connect? Because you have something in common with each other – your client’s financial plan. What’s more, you have experience, expertise and information that Facebook is an overlooked is both useful and interesting for your clients. If client communication tool 1 Facebook vs supplements Your clients are more likely to use Facebook each week than read the Sunday money sections. you publish content on your Facebook fan page – like presentations or PDFs – you are able to continually demonstrate it. I reckon my old school friends are just like the Let’s suppose you have 100 clients. Based on Of course, maintaining connections also average IFA’s client bank. There are a lot of them, published circulation figures, 21 of them may means that you won’t lose contact with clients; I only manage to stay in regular touch with a read the Sunday newspaper money sections each you won’t lose their postal or email addresses, few and – until recently – the time and effort week, but 39 of them will visit their Facebook nor will your clients forget your web address and required to stay in touch with the rest was just account at least once a week. contact information. too great to practically contemplate. That’s according to data gathered for the Rekindled connections However, over the past two years, I have Government’s 2009 Digital Britain report, which said that 40 per cent1 of the UK population have Facebook accounts. Other studies support the 3 tRaFFic FoR youR content Your website content stands more chance of being read, viewed or listened to through effortlessly rekindled connections with almost figures claiming that 39 per cent of 16 to 65-year- a Facebook fan page. Unless it is designed 230 former friends and colleagues, simply by olds in the UK maintain a social web account. to deliver client services – or is at least as signing up to Facebook and LinkedIn. Either way, at least 19 million2 consumers in interesting as Facebook – it’s unlikely you can Now, I promise I’m not going to waste your Britain have an account with Facebook. rely on regular traffic to your site. But Facebook time banging on about how Twitter, Facebook, has the ability to generate traffic to your content LinkedIn and YouTube are the best things since sliced bread. But I will suggest three reasons why IFAs 2 Fan pages = FRee connections The real power of Facebook is the way it allows you to establish and maintain 24 hours a day. So, instead of regarding your website as an online destination for information about your should not overlook Facebook fan pages as one connections with clients who already have a business, think of it as a means of distributing of the most practical means of staying connected Facebook account. So it offers a cost-free, that content elsewhere on the web. with potentially a substantial chunk of your effort-free way for both you and your clients to By connecting your website or blog’s content to a Facebook fan page, for instance, you can share business news and views in at least two UsefUl and free socIal Web Tools places at once, as well as link to content like presentations, video and audio that is published TWITTer – poster child of 2009; you can video from YouTube and publish presentations/ elsewhere on the web. post short messages for others to see and PDFs for public or selective sharing comment on 24/7, and ‘follow’ people’s YoUTUbe and VImeo – ideal for sharing discussions; connects you super efficiently video/animation; more likely to be used by Ian Thomas is Director of with minimum technology IFAs as a source of content for linking to from Communications at MrM lInkedIn – designed with professional your website/blog or other social network, connections in mind; powerful tool for eg Facebook WanT To knoW more? promoting events such as seminars or WordPress, PosTeroUs, TUmblr – topical discussions with people sharing To join the conversation, search ‘The Social publish free blogs quickly and easily; Posterous common interests Web and IFAs’ fan page on www.facebook.com and Tumblr are updated by email, Wordpress or follow Ian on www.twitter.com/mrianthomas slIdeshare – unsung hero of social also has extensive ‘plug-ins’ and ‘widgets’ for networks, fast becoming a richer means of publishing simultaneously on all your social 1. Source: http: www.culture.gov.uk/images/publications/bmrb_ internetcontent_amongadults.pdf sharing ideas and information; you can embed web accounts. 2. Extrapolated from source data at: www.wolframalpha.com/ input/?i=UK+adult+population spring 2010 Perspectives 11

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