Two years ago when we decided to take the Gaxiola Financial Group independent, I elected not to retain my license and instead focused my attention on the growing field of social media in Financial Services. My goal was to become a thought leader in the space hoping to parlay the online influence and credibility into speaking engagements and consulting gigs for financial service companies and wealth management providers.
Despite the lack of real plan to monetize my efforts, I proceed head first with a plan to build connections and add as much value as I could to the financial social media community. My blind optimism led to the establishment of rich interpersonal relationships with thought leaders in the financial services space. My background as a financial advisor and early adopter of social media tools led to an invitation to join the Advisory Board of LinkedFA. In turn, the experience and credibility gained through my growing relationships led to more contacts and connections.
In the tail end of last year, I worked closely with Stephanie Sammons at Wired Advisor and learned so much from her and from managing the LinkedIn community she developed. In the time we worked together, I learned so much about the kind of content and solutions that financial advisors are seeking and her approach as a thought leader. I am very grateful for the time we had together and am looking forward to the day where I can thank her in person.
Mindful that content was the key to adding value, earlier this year I created The Social Financial Advisor- a content curation site focused on providing links, stories, and best practices for the financial social media community. Every day, I would scour the internet and maximize my online listening tools to find, filter and share the best content I could find. The real challenge was not finding content, it was filtering the content to share the pieces that would amplify my own voice and perspective. I continued to provide this content curation for free.
In my heart of hearts I knew social media in this space would continue to grow and I wanted to be a part of it, even if it meant my opportunities for a secure paycheck or speaking gigs were limited. Pursuing the amplification of my message as a quest, I agreed to every speaking engagement and opportunity to share my thoughts on social media to mixed audiences including the local chamber and networking groups, service organizations, and non-profits. Each time I presented, I found my confidence and credibility increase. As a result I started doing more webinars and established a relationship with BrightTalk and an increased comfort in spreading the message online- even without the audience feedback I thrive on.
However, despite the feeling that I was moving forward and making an impact…it wasn’t enough.
So earlier this year, I decided that I wanted to share my message and continue the mission to evangelize the move for social media in financial services by looking for an opportunity that would allow me to amplify the message AND provide a solution to meet the need. Fortunately for me the planets aligned and as a result, I found that opportunity at Actiance in Belmont, CA.
Using all the influence I had built up over the past year and a half and calling on the generous support of the connections I had developed in that time (many of which I have never met in person). I approached the Actiance opportunity with renewed vigor and built a campaign to position myself as the best candidate for the job. Needless to say, I really wanted the opportunity to add my voice to the Actiance story.
As I prepared, I was impressed by the Socialite Engage solution that Actiance provides financial professionals and their firms. From a user perspective I found the platform easy to use and appreciated the multiple measurement tools and pre-approved content libraries provided. In short, it was a platform I could get behind.
So it was with great pleasure earlier this week when I announced my new job as the Subject Matter Expert: Social Media at Actiance. I am joining a team led by Sarah Carter and working side by side with Joanna Belbey- two professionals that I have followed online and now have the honor to work with on a daily basis. This opportunity will also mean participation in industry conferences and events, which means I’ll likely have the good fortune to meet so many other of my online connections in this space and look forward to meeting in person.
Securing this opportunity also illustrated to me how social media creates opportunity. I know that this opportunity would not have been available to me had I not taken the risk of charging forward head first and adding value before expecting a return. It was ironic, that I ended up living the very practice I have been professing- add value, and opportunity will present itself. I also know that it would not have happened without the established relationships that social media facilitated. And I know that it would not have happened had I not had the experience to connect, engage and build my online influence and relationships. For this I am grateful.
Red 7 Marketing is now shifting gears, and I plan to continue operating this page as an outlet for personal ideas and observations on the financial social media industry, and social media in general. I will continue to post content on Twitter (@VictorGaxiola) and invite you to connect with me on LinkedIn.
It had been my pleasure to write this blog and be another voice providing guidance in this growing industry. I know that someday we’ll look back and find it amusing that it took so long for social media adoption to grow in our industry. In my opinion, it’s a revolution at an evolutionary pace….however, it will happen. You might as well get on board, and hang on tight.