Social media has become a regular feature in most of our day-to-day lives, and I’m not just talking about lovesick teenagers and middle-aged people trying to “reconnect” with an old school friend. In recent years, social networking sites have become a key feature in business development, helping make new contacts and keep yourself, and your clients, up to date with the latest news and views from inside your professional sphere.
The world of social networking is of course dominated by a giant F and a cute blue bird, but allow me to introduce you to another online networking site – say hello to… the forum. Forums are in fact the oldest form of online networking, but have recently been overshadowed by people updating a personal status or uploading an image their shambolic attempt at home baking.
Forums allow users to interact with each other and discuss ideas surrounding a given subject, totally reliant upon user generated content. Within these conversations, each new discussion is known as a thread and can be replied to by an infinite number of people. As such, forums will be populated by people who all have a common interest, thus creating a community of users, and deep discussions focusing on a particular subject. In contrast, Facebook and Twitter are essentially open platforms that allow people to communicate with anyone about anything. Although business ideas can sometimes feature in these news feeds, in my experience, the overwhelming majority of posts tend to surround someone’s new puppy, or an assuming YouTube video.
As with all online technology, there are of course a few of criticisms. Their designs are rarely eye-catching, and the ability to find particular threads can sometimes be quite a challenge. And in my personal opinion, the slow and under-developed software on forums is the key reason as to why its competitors have stormed ahead with user popularity.
Despite these flaws, I would argue that the forum could still be a useful tool for our financial advisers. You can debate, engage in and share tips on a range of pertinent topics and investment themes. There’s also no need to plod through lengthy articles to find that one useful snippet of information. You can find a particular topic, or (if you’re brave enough), start a new thread yourself.
The best advice any financial adviser will receive is likely to come from a fellow practitioner. The discussions on forums will enable you view this advice in abundance, swap ideas, experiences, and marketing practices, and so do better business in the long run. Additionally, forums are a great networking tool, allowing advisers to keep in touch with existing clients, and meet prospective new ones.
Get online today and see how the forum can help your business.