Should you give your advice away for free?

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Social media is a mind-boggling challenge for some advisers, but as president and founder of PR consultancy i-Impact Group Claudio Pannunzio explains, it may just be worth your time putting a little bit of free advice out there.

The most important thing in social media is don’t just be dry and cold – posting only articles. Of course you want to post something that speaks of your expertise. But you have to give actionable ideas – something that your readers, your followers and evangelists cannot follow anywhere else.

Every now and then, as the old saying goes, you’ve got to give to get. Give away a little free advice. Don’t worry if they don’t turn into clients tomorrow – it will come back to you with interest. It’s a long-term investment.

But also make sure that you’re social. Don’t be afraid to show what your interests are in life.

Hub and spoke

When you engage in social media, you have to follow the so-called ‘hub and spoke’ system. In other words, you do your social media, but you have to make sure that every single interaction in social media ends up bringing someone to your website.

So, if you are on LinkedIn, maximise your profile and have your website in place and connect. There are codes that your website designer can lift from LinkedIn, and from Facebook and Twitter, that can embed into your website.

Creating evangelists

The scope of social media is mainly to bring traffic to your website, and to create what I call ‘evangelists’.

A lot of advisers make the mistake of thinking ‘I have a presence in social media – every now and then I post something and I’m done’. No, you create your brand evangelists. Without that, social media doesn’t work.

To have a successful social media plan, first of all create a media policy. In the first instance, you should know how many people will go into posting, what they can post and what they cannot post. Have a compliance system in place.

Then go at least once or twice a day. If possible, make sure that you are consistent and repeat at the same times. I’ll give you an example. The most important times during the day in the US are the hours between 7am and 9am, and 3pm to 5pm Eastern Time. That’s when the majority of people are on social media.

So be consistent, and the people who are reading will start to get used to that and wait for you at that time to post something.