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Should Financial Advisors Use Facebook and Twitter?

Wow. I just read that Facebook.com just surpassed Google.com for traffic. Amazingly, 7.07% of all US web traffic goes to Facebook.com which is a bit more than the 7.03% which goes to Google’s home page.

Facebook becomes bigger hit than Google

By Chris Nuttall and David Gelles in San Francisco

Published: March 16 2010 13:15 | Last updated: March 17 2010 00:10

Social networking website Facebook has capped a year of phenomenal growth by overtaking Google’s popularity among US internet users, with industry data showing it has scored more visits on its home page than the search engine.

In a sign that the web is becoming more sociable than searchable, research firm Hitwise said that the two sites accounted for 14 per cent of all US internet visits last week. Facebook’s home page recorded 7.07 per cent of traffic and Google’s 7.03 per cent.

It is the first time that Facebook.com has enjoyed a weekly lead over Google.com. The lead may be slim, but it has become inevitable as Facebook’s popularity has grown rapidly from just over 2 per cent of visits a year ago. Heather Dougherty of Hitwise said that Facebook had “reached an important milestone” with the weekly figures.

Facebook’s membership has more than doubled in the past year, passing the 200m mark last April and 400m in February.

“The true value of Facebook and social networks is just becoming clear to marketers,” said Augie Ray, analyst at Forrester Research.

Read the rest of the article

The ABC’s of Social Networking

You may be like me a couple years ago when I asked my 15-year old daughter to help me set up a Facebook account. What did it mean to “write on someone’s wall”? I had no idea.

I set up a Facebook page mainly to keep up on my daughters’ social activities. And soon old high school classmates would find me and we’d exchange some mail. The idea was to keep up with your “Friends” by reading what they’re up to and leaving status updates on what you’re up to. I could update my Facebook page now with something like “I am explaining what Facebook is all about to a bunch of financial advisors” but that would be a bit lame. I recommend you ask your own son or daughter so I won’t try to do it here.

Ditto for Twitter. Twitter is “micro-blogging” because you’re limited to 140 characters per entry. Not words and not letters so you need to be really concise. This paragraph is 203 characters by the way.

LinkedIn.com is like Facebook for business owners and professionals. Unlike Twitter and Facebook, LinkedIn charges a monthly fee to get full functionality.

Should Advisors Care?

Yes and no. You need to stay in touch with your clients and “social networking” sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn will be used by more and more of your clients. Over time, your prospective clients will find you on these sites and check  you out. And your clients will want to keep in touch with you and what’s going on.

Yet don’t think you need to spend a lot of time here. You’re probably busy enough as it is. Plus your compliance department might give you a big thumbs down. So should you do anything?

Yes. I strongly recommend that you grab your profile names NOW so you’ll have them later.

Think back to that modern marketing miracle: the 800 number. Customers could call companies without making a long distance phone call or calling collect. Whole advertising campaigns promoted vanity 800 numbers like 1-800-FLOWERS. Imagine snagging 1-800-PLANNER back in 1964 when AT&T created the idea…it would have cost you a fortune if you could have gotten it. Not to mention you were 6 years old at the time.

Thankfully you can reserve your profile names now and use them more later. Here are my profile pages:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/richardemmons
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/richardemmons
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/richardemmons
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/richardemmons

I use Facebook the most out of these 4. Yet I just checked and discovered 28 people wished me “Happy Birthday!” a couple weeks ago. And I never commented back. I guess I had too much face time with family and friends to make time for Facebook. Oh well.

You’ll notice that I automatically “tweet” my posts on this site to Twitter. Occasionally I’ll toss in a quote or a status update.

I do a little bit with LinkedIn and am open to suggestions on how to use it. I joined several LinkedIn Groups related to estate planning and senior advisor marketing so I get some good articles. And a lot of fluff updates in my in-box.

I threw in MySpace as an example of reserving it and not using it. MySpace was passed up a long time ago by Facebook and will probably never recover. You never know and it cost me nothing to set up and nothing to maintain.

My recommendation is to click through and sign up for these services now. Get the best profile name you can get. If your name is taken, you can add “cfp” to your profile, put in an under_score or a period between your first and last names.

Future articles will explain how to use these profiles to help grow your business. For now just stake your claim and get your name!