I hear all the time “my company won’t allow me to use social media.” It is typically the financial industry – financial advisors, insurance agents and such. And I can understand. Each of those industries is highly regulated and the least misstatement by a representative can mean a lawsuit for the company. It’s not the representative that’s on the hook, although the repercussions would ultimately fall back to them.
But with social media being such an important element in marketing today, how can one afford to ignore it? The answer lies in personal branding. With personal branding you build the image around you, not your company. If you’re an employee, do you really want to promote your company, and in essence, the other salespeople competing for the same prospects as you are? Of course not. You can’t speak for the ethics, the work integrity, and the dedication of anyone else but you.
Prospective customers and clients choose a financial professional because of the person, not the company. You might have the greatest product on the planet; it’s head and shoulders above the nearest competitor. But if you don’t connect with me, if I don’t trust you, don’t have any rapport with you, I’m not buying from you. We do business with people not companies.
And for that reason, the logical marketing strategy is to brand you. Prove to me your expertise. Show me what you can do for me as an advisor. Build that connection and there’s a good chance we’ll do business together.
So how do you do that if your company won’t allow you to use social media or other forms of online marketing? You do that by providing information, tips, breaking news, and the latest trends in your industry without mentioning your company or any of your company products by name. Like most professionals, you have a continual stream of information flowing through your inbox everyday. When you see something that I might be interested in, share it. When you hear a question for the third time from a prospective client, share that. There is a good chance others are thinking the same question.
One more reason why personal branding is essential. You might be totally satisfied with your present company, but what happens if new management comes in that you don’t see eye to eye with and you decide to part company? If you have actively built your brand, you can make a change and not skip a beat. But if you’ve been branding the company, all your efforts will have been wasted and you will have to start from scratch.
After all, your personal brand is all you have. Start building and cultivating it today and you will reap the benefits tomorrow.
Gary Wagnon is the 10th Degree Traffic Generator for 800biz Online Marketing Solutions. Using a combination of action centered web site design and the latest search engine optimization (SEO) techniques, combines with efficient and effective use of social media, 800biz creates an online presence that helps it’s clients stand out above the competitors and drive more traffic through the door.