When I was working at HSBC, there was - understandably- a reputational risk worry about social media.
Anything that you wanted to post on LinkedIn (Twitter was not allowed, nor was Facebook for business) had to get compliance sign off.
Compliance sign-off took two or three days, by which time, your “hot off the press news” is now the metaphoric fish and chip newspaper.
In July 2011 I became self employed and wanted to find different ways to reach out to businesses and their owners, because this was the area I worked in for 18 years.
LinkedIn was, and is, a great way for me to connect with such people, as well as fellow financial advisers, product providers, financial journalists, etc, and by combining this with Twitter, I have made professional business connections, which produces collaborative working as well as bringing in new business.
In 2014, I became more aware of the impact of video, so I started to look at YouTube, especially as I realised my own children had moved away from Facebook and have their own YouTube channel.
At the same time, I was invited to do a monthly money programme on my local radio station, which they offered to put on a USB stick for me. With this, I began uploading my recordings (after converting them) to video and then set up my own channel.
The radio show covers most topics, but I only go into generic terms, never making any recommendations. The host is an accountant and we have some in-depth discussions on air and invite people to email the show if they want more information.
As well as the recordings, I have done a couple of videos, basically announcing me and who I am and how I can help.
Again, no product or area push, just me talking to a camera, perched on the edge of a desk or in a hotel room in one video, explaining how I can help business owners plan and protect.
So far, there has been 200 hits on my channel, by no means stratospheric, but two clients have come from it and one of those was an accountant, who now introduces me to his clients.
I have 1,300 Twitter followers and 750 connections on LinkedIn, who are regularly emailed or directly messaged and invited for a ‘hangout’, which is a group discussion like Skype, with up to nine people all on screen at once.
After all, if you have made the connection or got the following, why not use it?
I offer to explain various topics in greater detail, or explain a pension statement they have.
The beauty of Google Hangouts for example, is that a person can scan over a document while we are talking and I can talk through each section, without referring to any personal values.
As part of my marketing mix, I do value social media. It is quick, simple and very cost effective and by typing a hashtag plus a key word (for example, #autoenrolment) you can see all messages about that subject and join in the discussion.