When I stood up in Canberra a couple of weeks ago to deliver the keynote for the last day of the Hillross Financial Services annual conference 2012 I was a tad nervous. Not shaking nervous, but neither just the usual pre-presentation edginess I usually feel on the basis that I want to make sure I’m focused on my presentation being as helpful as possible.
The topic for my keynote was Practical Social Media Strategy and the bit of extra nervousness I put down to my being aware that some of the audience might see the whole idea of social media engagement as just one more reason to feel pressured, rather than representing a great opportunity for business growth.
And from talking to some of the participants beforehand, as well as my own reading about the current state of play in the financial services industry, I understood quite clearly how some could very reasonably hold that point of view.
It was not my goal or intention to try and convince the sceptics – and I said so: I was focuse primarily on helping those who were keen to get moving with social media and if some of those were being held back by concerns I could address effectively, I wanted to be sure I did my best on that score.
Because just as we know it’s not easy being green I had become very aware in my research for this keynote that it is definitely not easy being a financial adviser in 2012.
As well as the usual day to day pressures of running a business, there is a lot of relatively new pressure on people in the financial advising/wealth management/financial planning sector. It appears some of that comes from public disillusionment triggered or exacerbated by GFC fallout and some from the reality or threat of more stringent government regulation of the industry. There may well be other factors.
I wrote about this in an earlier post just before I gave the keynote in Canberra – see Social Media Not an Easy Call for Financial Advisors
So while my presentation highlighted the benefits social media engagement could bring to the businesses of conference participants, it also gave attention to a range of challenges facing anyone who wanted to train their attention and energies on becoming effective players in the world of social business, challenges which apply not just in financial advisory businesses but in a whole range of professional services businesses.
Tying all that together, the presentation was focused on providing a simple but powerful three-point takeaway:
- social media provides an opportunity to get the edge on your competition
- there is risk and it can be managed
- each business needs a social media strategy aligned to its broader business strategy
The slide deck is here at Slideshare.
In future posts I will be going into more detail on specific items, such as the benefits of engaging with social media, the disincentives to doing so, issues of reputation management and other risk management aspects.
As mentioned in my previous post on this topic, I’m still keen to gather case studies of businesses in the financial services sector using social media effectively. So if you know of any I trust you will share, either by way of a comment here or via my Contact page.
Image credit: the very talented Simon Hewson