LinkedIn Ninja, Crystal Thies, Gets A 4.9-Star Rating From Advisors -- Highest Rating Ever At An A4A Webinar
Monday, July 28, 2014 11:54

Tags: client acquisition | client referrals | LinkedIn | marketing | prospecting

Crystal Thies, also known as the LinkedIn Ninja, crushed it. Attendees at last Friday's Advisors4Advisors webinar gave Ms. Thies a 4.9-star rating and rave reviews for her tips about how a financial advisors should optimize their LinkedIn profile for search engines as well as how to optimize the way you use of LinkedIn to obtain new clients. 


LinkedIn is a powerful tool for finding prospective clients, but few financial advisors take advantage of its capabilities. The social networ is a “treasure map” for locating valuable prospects, according to Thies, founder and CEO of Crystal Clear Buzz LLC, and the woman with the audacity to market herself The LinkedIn Ninja, and the chops to live up to her billing.

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Thies, known as the LinkedIn Ninja, is a former financial advisor and coauthor of The Social Media Handbook for Financial Advisors: How to Use Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to Build and Grow Your Business. In a highly rated webinar for Advisors4Advisors, Thies unveiled some of the key elements of using LinkedIn strategically to locate and attract high-quality clients.

Going Deep With Advanced Search
To illustrate the depth of LinkedIn’s capabilities, Thies led webinar participants through the “advanced search” tool. This powerful tool is one of the functions that sets LinkedIn apart from other social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, she says.
For example, Thies shared a search technique she has used to locate and reach out to people who may be considering 401(k) rollovers. Click on “advanced” next to the search bar across the top of the home page, which takes you to the “Advanced People Search” page. Note that you can search among your “1st degree” contacts, “2nd degree” contacts, “groups” and/or “3rd and everyone else.” Your most valuable search results will appear among “2nd degree” connections, since these are people with whom you share a contact. When you find someone you’d like to reach out to, you can go through your shared contact for a personal introduction. Start the search by unchecking all the categories in this relationship filter except for “2nd connections,” in order to narrow your search to the most valuable results.
This is what makes LinkedIn better than other sites,” Thies said. “It’s the only social media site that allows you to search by layers of your network. No other networking site allows you to go ‘hunting’ in this manner.”
People who may be considering a rollover are usually between jobs, using LinkedIn to search for a new position. So under “keywords” you type in the following: “in transition” OR “new opportunity.” Those are two phrases often used by job seekers.
Now fill out the “location” filter, reflecting the geographic area you serve. Premium members have several other filters as well, from “seniority” to “company size.” After you click on “search,” scroll through the LinkedIn members and look for “shared connections,” then start calling your connections to request introductions to good prospects. “It comes down to leverage – which shared connection is best to contact this person and ask them to give you 10 minutes on the phone?” Thies says.
Advisors may use the same “advanced people search” process to look for small-business owners, executives at specific companies, physicians, and other prospects. In addition, you can “save” your searches and LinkedIn will update you with new results on a regular basis.
Using The Profile Page To Best Advantage
Thies offers several tips on how to fill out your profile information. “Speak to your perfect client in the first person. Answer the questions they need to have answered,” she advises.
For instance, most advisors make the mistake of simply placing their job title in the “headline” field, which appears under your name at the top of your profile page. This space should instead be used to explain what you do and what benefits you offer.
If your profile offers your photo and your name with the words “Financial Advisor,” it doesn’t differentiate you from every other advisor. Thies offered two examples of more effective headlines:
·      Joe Smith
       Wealth Advisor helping small business and real estate owners manage their finances to help enhance personal wealth.
·      Tom Jones
       Financial Planner guiding dentists, physicians and business owners to realize personal and professional financial goals.
One factor in writing your headline and other profile-page text is SEO, or search engine optimization. Choose the two or three most important search terms that your target audience might use and include those terms in the headline and other text.
“Always add the types of clients you are looking for, and be as specific as possible,” she recommends. “You can be specific without being exclusive.”
The longer “summary” section below the headline is “not your bio,” Thies says. “Talk to potential clients in the first person and use active tense. This is not about your past, or about how awesome you are – it’s about them. Talk to them and give them reasons to pay attention.”
In this webinar Thies tackles several other issues and offers solid advice, including:
·      Filling out the Experience section effectively.
·      Including videos and other marketing materials.
·      Sharing content – how often and what type.
·      “Liking” and “commenting” vs. posting.
·      Driving traffic back to your website.
·      Deciding who to accept LinkedIn invitations from.
Advisors4Advisors is proud to announce that we have formed a partnership with Crystal. She will offer social media training for financial advisors on A4A as well as Ninja-powered advisor websites with Advisor Products Inc. Check out the webinar by clicking here.
Super-High Rating And Positive Comments
Webinar viewers gave Crystal a sky-high average rating of 4.9. Here are some of their comments:
“Great presentation. Crystal had good energy and knows her material.”
“Very relevant, thank you. How do we sign up?”
“Good practical information. I picked up some good pointers that I wouldn’t have known about otherwise. Not sure I would want to have a regular monthly presentation on LinkedIn as often as is being done currently for Fritz, Bob K. or Craig Israelsen.”
“Really fantastic! How do we subscribe to her product?”
“An excellent overview of LInkedIn for RIAs.  It gave me a lot to think about.”
“Great session.”
“Best targeted presentation to date.”
“Very useful info!”
“The best Linkedin presentation I have seen. I will be watching it again.”
“The presentation is excellent!”
“Excellent overview, I will very likely consider the training program.”
“This webinar just wasn’t long enough for such great content! Looking forward to exploring further opportunities for education with A4A’s partnership with Crystal and Constant Contact.”
“Loved the explanation about the effects of commenting/liking/posting on LinkedIn.”
That really was “drinking from a firehose.”
Do I Really Have To Use LinkedIn?
Tuesday, July 22, 2014 11:51

Tags: internet marketing | LinkedIn | marketing | Social Media

I just re-read an article from Investment News posted last fall trying to refute the need for financial and investment advisors to be using social media. The author claimed that all of the hype for social media was coming from us “social media experts” (his words, not mine) essentially trying to pitch our value and services.
Of course, he failed to mention that he represents a financial advisor marketing company steeped in more traditional marketing services. And, according to his firm'sr website, they, too, offer social media marketing services. Which begs the question: If iadvisord do not need to use social media, then why is his firm offering such social media consulting services?
If they are not covinced of the need for advisors to use social marketing, why are they  taking clients’ money to consult on  it?

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There were some really good comments and not one of them agreed with the author. The comment that stood out most and that I agree with 100% is that, while social media is often presented as marketing tactics, it does represent a fundamental shift in communications with clients and prospects moving forward. That part is not going to change.
The people now control how and when they will let you communicate with them. If you want to communicate with them, you have to go where they are; they aren’t coming to you. You can choose not to meet them in the social media world, which just means that they will likely choose another advisor who will. Worse yet – and research does bear this out – if you’re not there and your clients are, then they may be leaving you to work with an advisor who they find in social media.
I know…you’re busy being a financial advisor (I’ve been there myself). You don’t have time to be a social media expert too. That’s why I really only advocate for the usage of LinkedIn for most financial advisors. Don’t get me wrong, I do believe there is a time, a place and definitely value in using the other social media channels. However, when you’re talking about limited resources (time and money) and wanting to be able to access the best possible prospect pool to increase your likelihood of a high ROI, then LinkedIn is the place to be.
1.    It has the best demographic of any of the social media. There are many different studies with varying statistics. When combined, they tell us that the average member salary is nearing six figures, 69% earn $60,000 or more, over 70% have a college education and approximately a quarter of them have a graduate degree. You’re not going to find a prospect pool like that anywhere else.
2.    You can very strategically “hunt” on LinkedIn for prospects. LinkedIn is the only social network that allows advanced searching of your network all the way out to the 3rd degree. Want to know if anyone connected to your friends on Facebook or Twitter are small business owners or c-level executives? Have fun looking at each person one at a time to figure it out. With LinkedIn, you have a sophisticated Advanced Search functionality to find the prospects you want and see how you’re connected to develop the strategy to get introduced. Oh…and because things get busy, LinkedIn will send you weekly notifications of the new prospects you should check out.
3.    The “farming” tools allow you to establish yourself as the expert and stay front of mind with your connections. That way, when the time comes that they need a financial advisor they will hopefully think of you first. Additionally, the visibility you get to the “right” people when your connections share your content is exponentially better than the visibility opportunities available in Facebook or Twitter.
In the webinar I’ll be hosting for Advisors4Advisors, I’ll be demonstrating the key tactics that you can implement immediately to start getting results with LinkedIn. Want more? Andy and I have partnered up to share a special version of my online video training program LinkedIn for Financial Advisors that you can register at special pricing to take advantage of to learn everything you need to know to leverage this tool.

It really only takes baby steps and starting with the strategies and tactics that will give you the best ROI. The webinar will give you the baby steps you need. 

And The First Advisor To Win One Of Three $300 Licenses To Camtasia Studio Video-Editing Software Is…
Saturday, June 07, 2014 18:25

Congratulations to Paul Tanner, CFA, of Granite Hill Capital Management, LLC!

Paul was the first advisor to replay a 45-minute webinar about editing videos using Camtasia Studio and to correctly answer three questions I posted a couple of days ago.
At this webinar, I give advisors tips based on my more than 500-hours of experience using Camtasia, which is the best program for advisors to use for editing presentations they record on. If you enjoys computer work, Camtasia will be a powerful way to make marketing content and educate clients and prospects 24/7 on the Web, and it will help boost your search ranking.  
We still have two more licenses of Camtasia to give away.

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·         What size is Andy’s reflective umbrella?
·         If you wanted to import slides into Camtasia, what file type does Andy suggest you use?
·         Name one of the two Camtasia transition effects Andy mentioned were his favorites.
Asking for answers to these questions ensures winners will be advisors likely to actually use the software.
Paul was really grateful and excited to win, and it's a thrill to do this for A4A members.



Win A Free License To Camtasia Studio Video-Editing Software, The Easiest Way For Advisors To Produce Videos Regularly
Wednesday, June 04, 2014 12:24

Tags: marketing

Camtasia Studio is a good software program for advisors to use to edit their own videos.

It does not have the video editing power of Final Cut Pro by Apple or Adobe Premier, which are professional video editing programs, but it is far simpler to use than Final Cut or Premier, and it is far better for editing screen-sharing sessions, which is what advisors need to do to create videos regularly.

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Recording your screen is the best way for advisors to create video content. After making videos with advisors for a few years, I can report that none of the dozens of advisors I’ve interviewed on camera are media stars. Advisors are not models, actors, or professional spokespeople. Some of you are terrible on camera.
Recording your screen to display PowerPoint slides or PDF client financial planning reports while you narrate and record the audio is the best way for advisors to use video to get in front of clients, prospects, and centers of influence. Since financial data in charts and graphics makes great visuals, adding your narration is a genuinely nice way to educate your audience on financial matters. This the best way to create your own content to improve your client relations, lead generation campaigns, email newsletters, and search engine rankings.

Since financial advisors are not making Hollywood productions with people on camera, indoor and outdoor lighting, and special audio and visual effects, you don’t need a complicated app like Premier or Final Cut. TechSmith’s Camtasia Studio is the right tool.

I’ve been using Camtasia for about 10 years and I am sad to admit I have spent more than 500 hours editing videos using the program. At a webinar, I offered tips about how advisors can use Camtasia Studio to make videos.

TechSmith appreciates the coverage I’ve given them over the years and has provided Advisors4Advisors with three licenses to Camtasia Studio that we are raffling off.  Each license normally costs $299.

To ensure we give away these licenses to advisors likely use the software, we’re raffling it off to the first three advisors who watch the webinar and email the correct answers these the following three questions to admin at
  • What size is Andy’s reflective umbrella?
  • If you wanted to import slides into Camtasia, what file type does Andy suggest you use?
  • Name one of the two Camtasia transition effects Andy mentioned were his favorites.
By the way, my presentation about how advisors can use Camtasia covers:
  • How to make videos like as good as I do
  • Step by step instructions for turning PowerPoint presentations into educational videos
  • How to add visual cues that make technical content easier to understand
  • Tips for using key features in Camtastia Studio—zooming, importing clips, transitions and more
  • What kind of computer equipment you need to make your own videos
 Go watch it and answer the questions to win a free license to this valuable video editing tool for advisors.
By the way, Fritz Meyer and I collaborate to provide RIAs with a quarterly presentation for advisors to give investors, and it is perfect this purpose. We give you 15 or 20 gorgeous looking slides and a script that you can narrate. Record your narration and give the script your personal spin to produce professional videos that make you look good (because you're off camera.) 


Keeping Clients In Up Markets
Monday, May 26, 2014 15:58

Tags: client communication | client communications | client education | client loyalty | client retention | client satisfaction | diversification | hehavioral finance

I'm frustrated. I lost three long- term clients this year. I'm not used to losing clients. They all had the same reason for leaving: they thought their 2013 returns should have been higher. 

I believe in the wisdom of diversification. I don't believe in market timing. Without a crystal ball, research has proven over and over again that sticking to a defined strategy is the way to go. 
My team works hard at maintaining efficient asset allocations to produce maximum returns based on each client's specific risk tolerance. On top of that, we do everything possible to be tax efficient, including tax loss harvesting, location optimization and tax lot identification. 
I've educated my clients, teaching them about diversification, the dangers of market timing and the value of a long term outlook. I did this in one-on-one meetings, webinars, seminars, newsletters, emails and quarterly letters. I thought they all got it. Maybe I should be happy with 99%. But I'm not. 
Why did my clients not get a 25 percent return last year? It's simple - their portfolios were diversified with bonds, international investments, real estate and commodities. 
When the market crashed in 2008, I lost a few clients. They were all fairly new clients and said the same thing, "I can't afford to lose any more." Although I wasn't happy with that, I understood. They hadn't been clients long enough to trust the strategy. What puzzles me is that the clients who recently left had been through 2008 as well as the recovery with me. 
I guess it's the old fear and greed cycle. When the market crashed, these clients lost less money than their friends. When the market had a great year, they didn't capture all of the gain. And that, I believe, was what led to their dissatisfaction. 
We can use risk tolerance questionnaires, write investment policy statements, and talk to our clients on a regular basis, but we can never truly know how any particular client will react in any given market. I'm not convinced that they even know themselves. 
So, I am left frustrated, not only because I lost clients, but because I fear for what they will do to their own financial well-being in chasing returns. 
Is there a way to prevent this? Obviously, I don't know. 

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