6-Step Social Media Strategy for Asset Managers
Reaching any audience and making a connection requires human interaction. Like a dinner party, a cocktail party or a chat over coffee, social media is essentially just another way to start a dialogue with a specific audience.
FIRST, a few reasons WHY you should take advantage of social media:
Consistent communication over time builds relationships. The more you're talking, engaging and offering useful insights, the more likely you are to make connections and foster relationships with individuals who could become your future clients.
Accredited investors ARE looking for you online. If you have something to say, they want to know what you think and why you have that particular view. Why? Because what you say, your opinions, your view on things is a reflection of your values and on a deeper level, your clients want to make sure your values align with theirs.
To establish trust, you need to demonstrate your expertise - social media gives you a platform for doing that. If you can offer something useful and interesting on a regular basis, people tend to take notice. If they appreciate what you have to offer, then you start to build trust, an essential component of any business relationship.
Social media saves time and money. Years ago, only larger asset managers could afford to gain recognition through traditional PR methods - a spot on CNBC, press releases, interviews with reporters from big name financial media outlets. Today, social media is PR, except faster and much less expensive. Social media provides a 'David and Goliath' opportunity of scale. Whether an asset manager is globally recognized or virtually unknown, social media provides an equal opportunity for identity exposure and awareness.
Asset managers CAN use social media. Compliance used to be the main barrier to using social media, but an increasing number of firms are learning how to expand their online communication strategy. Compliance concerns can be managed by using internal processes, even software, to address filing and archiving requirements.
6-Step Social Media Strategy for Asset Managers
1) Get to know your prospective clients and the current issues they care most about.
- Look up the LinkedIn profile of institutional investors you are targeting, and I mean the actual individuals, not their organization. Most hold the title 'Chief Investment Officer'. See what groups or other people they follow.
- Pay attention to issues affecting them. Follow the 'Investors' section of Institutional Investor (http://www.institutionalinvestor.com/Investors.html) and other similar online news sites with headlines and content geared toward institutional investors.
2) Become a 'thought-leader'. Engage thoughtful conversation on issues that are important to investors. You've already established yourself as a leader in your investment strategy area, so becoming a 'thought-leader' is just another incarnation of you demonstrating your expertise. Take a queue from portfolio managers who contribute to SeekingAlpha. Here's an example: https://seekingalpha.com/article/4083761-uncomfortably-numb
3) Commit to generating a regular communication. Develop a sustainable strategy - whether it's a monthly blog, video update, podcast or 'tweet' schedule - decide what you can share on a regular basis. This is NOT where your talk about your investment program or provide monthly performance commentary. Rather, this is where you provide your viewpoint or your research on issues that matter to accredited investors. Establish a process for generating the ideas you'll discuss. Even if you post once a month, over time you'll develop a stream of communication (much the same way you build a performance track record) that helps investors get to know you.
4. Engage in social media channels most appropriate for asset managers. Once you've developed a process for developing a regular communication, and you have 'content' ready for public consumption, then you're ready to take advantage of social media channels to distribute your message:
- LinkedIn - Build your personal profile, your firm's profile. This is the equivalent to your online CV and it’s perfect for showing off your experience and accomplishments. LinkedIn 'Groups' are a great place to share your newest blog posts, if they are relevant.
- Twitter - Here's where you 'tweet' the 'short-version' of your own helpful information, specifically in 140 characters or less, or 'retweet' someone else's useful tidbit.
- Online news-media sites for hedge funds, private equity and institutional investors - Comment on someone else's post or post your own content to sites like SeekingAlpha.com, finalternatives.com or hedgeco.net. Connect with editors of online hedge fund news outlets and offer regular content via print, video or podcast.
5.) Have a compliance review process and keep a record of every 'online' communication. Regulators essentially say that social media is just another form of communication and should be treated as such. In other words, the same way you would put any printed materials for clients or prospective investors through a compliance review process, do the same for your 'electronic' communications. Consider tools like https://socialware.com/ or https://hearsaysystems.com/
6) Be consistent. If you only do one thing, be it a monthly blog post, a podcast or a weekly 'tweet', do it regularly. Just as you would in trading, develop a process and follow it. Once you create your communication tactic, develop a schedule you can stick to. Your followers will count on it.