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These days, your social media presence is more than an opportunity – it’s a mandate.

Thanks to today’s social networking platforms and the plethora of digital assets that can be produced with little effort, financial advisors now have the opportunity to connect with current and potential clients in ways that weren’t possible prior to the advent of websites, blogs, YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

BUILDING TRUST

Believe it or not, people trust business leaders more when they have an active social media presence. Research conducted by GroSocial shows that 82% of consumers trust a brand more when its senior leadership are active on social media.

According to the Edelman Trust Barometer, building trust requires a demonstration of clear personal values and societal benefits, and also that companies behave with integrity and engage with clients and stakeholders.

“It is vital to communicate across all platforms and in every priority area – operations, purpose, products and services, engagement and integrity,” says Deidre Campbell, Edelman’s global sector chair.

Eighty-three percent of those we surveyed told us that ‘keeps my family safe’ was an essential attribute [of a financial company] – but only 56% thought the financial services industry was performing well on this measure,” Campbell adds.

REINVENTING MODERN LEADERSHIP

These changes can’t be ignored by firm leaders. “This is an ideal time for the reinvention of modern leadership,” says Ann Charles, founder and CEO of Brandfog, a company that promotes social media leadership branding for C-Suite executives.

“The role of the CEO has evolved to become more visible, social, connected and accessible than ever before. The competitive environment has likewise been transformed, and customers, investors and stakeholders expect to have access to the insights and vision of brand leaders on a continuous basis. C-Suite executives who ignore this trend do so at their own peril.”

Modern leadership — which today entails having a strong online presence — in our industry is exemplified by Mark Tibergien of Pershing, Mark Casady of LPL, Michael Kitces of Pinnacle, Joe Duran of United Capital, Sheryl Garrett of the Garrett Planning Network, Nathan Bachrach of Simply Money, Cheryl Holland of Abacus Planning Group, Gordon Bernhardt of Bernhardt Wealth, and many more.

“We are witnessing a fundamental shift in the culture of leadership, brought upon by social media, but sustained by the strategic inventiveness of smart CEOs,” Charles explains.

“While social media is new, the nexus between communication and leadership is not. Many of the world’s greatest leaders — from Winston Churchill to Martin Luther King, Jr. to Steve Jobs — have been highly skilled communicators. Social media, in all its forms, empowers CEOs to improve their communications skills, deepen their connections with people inside and outside the company, and emerge as more effective leaders,” Charles says.

Excellent article on human element of the digital age and how leadership needs to adept and reinvent itself.