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Developing your brand online

If you haven’t already established a presence online or created a social media profile, now is the time to do so.

The foundations of the risk advice industry have been given a substantial shake – we’ve heard commentary from all quarters in regards to their position and what you should be doing next.

But, with all the events going on in the industry, a question remains: Has being branded a ‘risk adviser’ become an uncomfortable label to carry? Is it now your enemy?

Setting the current crisis or opportunity aside – everyone is already talking about this to you – take a step back and look at your personal brand.

Accepting that, as a profession, we believe all Australians should have access to quality and trusted advice, how does the average consumer understand the difference between a specialist adviser and one that is all encompassing?

Ultimately, your clients only understand their need. They simply turn to the closest relationship they have for the solution, and no doubt you want that to be you.

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Having attended the Adviser Innovation conference in Sydney, I was prompted to look at just how many advisers are using technology and engaging in the digital landscape, to protect their brand and change perceptions.  

In the most recent release from the Australian Bureau of Statistics on its survey of IT Use and Innovation in Australian Business 1, participants were asked whether they had a social media presence as at 30 June 2014. This survey highlighted that one in three Australian businesses are now active on social media. Although, most importantly, of the financial services and insurance businesses surveyed 60.9 per cent had a web presence and 31.1 per cent had social media profiles. However, I would suggest that this figure has increased sharply over the past 12 months.

From my experience, there are more and more conversations and connections occurring on digital media, but how many are actually using this opportunity to leverage their personal brand and debunk the myths around what it means to be a risk adviser. 

Generational shift continues to drive interaction via technology and it is fundamental to the protection of your profile and reputation that you take the leap of faith and engage via social media as we are dealing with a market place that is more tech-savvy and empowered than ever before.

Previously, you have been engaging the baby boomer market for some time. Then Gen X started seeking you out for advice but as they become more aligned with Gen Y, they now want you to join them in the digital landscape. Using the same techniques you’ve always used to communicate will see you no longer engaging in the way your future clients want to interact with you.

Clients do not define you by the advice you provide (risk advice or any other), they define you by the relationship you hold with them. So if you haven’t already established your social media profile, it is time to claim your spot. 

Become a social media advocate and project who you are and put your profile to work for you.

Get your online personality by:

  • Having a well-crafted LinkedIn profile reflecting who you are and why you do what you do. Aim for all-star status.
  • Ensuring your website reflects your social media presence; that is if you are on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook create the links to them on your website.
  • Email signatures need to include your social icons as an incentive to interact with you on each social platform.
  • Engage – take the time to interact with your peers, search out your clients and invite them to converse with you.
  • Start small and build gradually, create a plan to make it work.
  • If you don’t feel confident ask for help!

Remember, the path to beginning your relationship with a new client is about that person knowing why you do what you do, liking who you are and trusting in what you do for them.

By leveraging your personal brand, you get to stand for who you are and protect your online personality – no longer will your brand be your enemy.

 


Jenny Pearse is a business and marketing consultant and managing director of Jenesis

1) Reference: Australian Bureau of Statistics – Summary of IT Use and Innovation in Australian Business 2013-2014 Social Media Presence released 18/06/2015

 

Developing your brand online
Jenny Pearse
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