In 1931, Albert Einstein famously penned, “The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious.” Fast forward to the digital age, and this sentiment resonates deeply with our interaction with social media platforms. Social media possesses a magical allure – an enigmatic realm of wonder, a captivating escape from reality and a conduit for connection. Yet, within this captivating realm, financial advisors often grapple with a curious conundrum: the struggle to effectively harness the potential of social media and online communication.
In the 1960s, Arthur C Clarke articulated that “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”.
Today, the technology underpinning social media has progressed to a stage where it seamlessly intertwines with the notion of magic itself. We find ourselves captivated by the intricate hidden workings of algorithms, akin to the mystique of a magician’s sleight of hand. These platforms evoke a sense of empowerment, spark nostalgia for childhood memories and seduce our attention with a constant stream of content. The challenge lies in the need for a comprehensive strategy – both for the consumption and creation of content. We need a blueprint that brings boundaries and balance to the enchanting world of social media.
In the decade that I’ve been helping financial advisors craft, recraft and carry out their digital communication strategies, I’ve relied on what I refer to as the three Cs of successful online communication: Content, Connection and Community – the glimmering stars of a conversational communication strategy designed to align with the fundamental questions of who, what and why. Content is often the blinding light of an online strategy, and it’s where most financial advisors focus all of their energy. Content simply for the sake of content only creates more clutter in our communication environments. This is where the struggle becomes real, but it’s not without a solution. We only need to dig a little deeper into our strategic intent.
Our content needs to be directed to creating connections that transcend transactional interactions. Maya Angelou once said that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. This doesn’t mean that we don’t really need to say anything specific; it means that our content needs to reach deeper than just the transaction. It needs to reach the hearts and minds in ways that spark change. We need to reflect on connection.
Connection is the second C — a bridge that links advisors with their audience on a personal level. The power of connection extends beyond likes and shares; it delves into resonating with the lives, aspirations and challenges of the reader. Establishing these deeper connections fosters a sense of relevance and relatability, turning online interactions into valuable conversations that resonate at a life level. It’s about understanding that social media is more than a virtual billboard; it’s a vibrant avenue for forging meaningful relationships based on shared experiences and genuine understanding.
This culminates in the third C: Community. Engaging with the right people is as critical as refining your value proposition and articulating your message. If you address the wrong audience, your content and value proposition might flounder for traction – and this becomes another reason why financial planners struggle with social media. Among the financial advisors I collaborate with, many have only connected with colleagues on LinkedIn, family on Facebook or their kids on Instagram. As soon as they strategically build a community of current clients and potential prospects, they engage more and struggle less.
When we put these three Cs together, we find that we can be strategically conversational and not default to coming across as being transactional. Almost three decades ago (1996), Bill Gates said that content would be the new king in our digital communication era, and for a fleeting moment – he was right. But I believe that Conversation is the new king.
Amidst the sea of content, it’s the conversations sparked that carry the real momentum for change. This shift from content-centric to conversation-driven strategies is where the magic happens. The core principle of social media – that which birthed its existence – is reconnecting individuals digitally, fostering meaningful discussions with friends, family, colleagues and like-minded individuals. It’s about restoring the power of conversation in an era overshadowed by relentless ads vying for our precious attention.
The journey begins by revisiting the core goal of social media: facilitating genuine connections. It’s about transcending the clutter and the noise to rediscover the joy of connecting.
While platforms are flooded with ads striving for our attention, our greatest asset is indeed our attention. We need to shift this asset from mindless scrolling to purposeful engagements that foster lasting relationships.
The rekindling of social media’s magic lies in sparking conversations of meaning. The Three Cs – Content, Connection and Community – converge to drive Conversations that matter. As financial advisors, it’s imperative to embrace this holistic approach and weave the threads of enchantment, strategy and connection into a seamless, sustainable digital presence.
In the grand illusion of social media, let us not merely be dazzled by its allure. Instead, let us empower ourselves to use it as a catalyst for genuine connections, enlightening discussions and a realm where magic is the bridge between purpose and possibility.
With the three Cs as our foundation, we can navigate this enchanting realm with clarity, forging authentic connections that illuminate the path toward meaningful engagement in the digital age.