Welcome to episode number six of the Financial Finesse podcast. I’m Cathy Curtis, host of this podcast and owner of Curtis Financial Planning, a financial advisory firm specializing in the finances of independent women. My guest today is Courtney McQuaid. We are going to talk about social media. And specifically, those vulnerable feelings you get when you go to post something. We all experience it, but there are ways to overcome it. And Courtney is uniquely qualified to talk about this, and I’m going to take a moment to read her bio. Courtney’s a recognized social media expert and has over 20 years of experience in the financial services industry. Courtney creates and implements transformative compliant social media strategies to teach individuals and organizations how to reach their target audiences and uncover untapped opportunities through social media. She builds confidence in her clients and counsels them through the awkward and emotional vulnerabilities that can come with posting on social media with a bespoke strategy to inspire and encourage growth. Right now, Courtney is a communications manager for Integrated Partners, a 7.3 billion hybrid RIA, and a social media consultant at City Wire USA. Hi, Courtney. So happy to have you on my podcast.
Thank you. It’s great to be here.
How are you doing today? Good, good. Good. I’m excited. Let’s get into this great conversation. I love social media. And I know you do too. And I just have a couple quick start off questions and wonders. Why do you think that for some people, it seems easy to be authentic and vulnerable when they’re posting and for others, it’s just a complete struggle and they don’t even know where to begin?
That’s a great question. You know, I, I can’t actually say for sure because everybody’s different. I think for some people, it just comes naturally. Maybe they’re just more open people, and they’re comfortable with the technology and the idea of social media.
Some people I’ve met are fantastic speakers. They can get on a stage in front of hundreds of people. But then when it comes to social media, they suddenly feel a little nervous, a little awkward, a little insecure. And maybe it’s because it’s the idea of it being out there to the universe permanently. I don’t know. But every everybody’s different.
Yeah, that’s a really good point. About being out there to the universe permanently. Because it becomes a public record. When you tweet or post something on Facebook, and we know it can never go away. Right? And I also think there’s something to do with this vulnerability issue. And this fear of exposure, that you’re going to say something stupid, people are gonna laugh at you. They’re not gonna think you’re witty enough or smart enough. I think there’s a little bit of that. And it’s almost like real life. Right? We feel that way in real life, too. And, yeah, and it gets exacerbated a little bit on social media, especially if you’re always comparing yourself to somebody that you think does it better than you.
Yeah, definitely. And, you know, there’s also that feeling of oh, I feel a little narcissistic. Everybody looked at me. Why does anybody care what I have to say? You know, am I being too pushy? Yeah. And so one of the ways I try to work through that with my clients is comparing it to how it really works in real life. So for example, I had one person tell me well, that he made a post, and a lot of people were commenting on it. And he wasn’t sure if he should reply back to the comments or not. And I said, well, think of it this way. If you’re walking down the street downtown, headed to an appointment to see a client, and you see a colleague walking toward you. And he or she stopped you for a minute to say hi and say, hey, congratulations on that award. Would you just keep your mouth shut? Smile and keep walking? Right. Do you say thank you, or do you say thank you? And he said, oh, okay, I get it. I get it. So he went back to his LinkedIn post and thanked people for their Congratulations. In their comments. So social media is designed to be social. It’s just like networking in real life, but online. So trying to think of it that way I think really helps people begin to get the idea for it and the feel for it.
That’s a really good point, it becomes like a conversation then instead of a one on one, feed, it dies. And the more you think of it as a conversation, probably the more successful you’re going to be.
Absolutely, absolutely. It just takes getting some used to, you know, one of my best tips for everybody if you’re unsure about it, is just to try to make LinkedIn or whichever social media platform you feel most comfortable with. Try and make it part of your daily routine. Put in your calendar 10 minutes every day, to just simply scroll your home feed. You don’t have to do anything. Just scroll your home feed, see what other people are saying, see how other people are using it. Make sure that you are connected with your target audience. And make sure that you’re connected with some of your colleagues that might do the same work that you do. I mean, I primarily work with advisors. But this advice can port over into any industry.
Really, let me ask you a question that you brought up something really important, that target audience term. So before you start using social media, and while you’re using it, you really should have your target audience in your mind, right? Absolutely. So you’re focused. It’s not just random conversation. How do you suggest someone go about doing that and also connecting getting followers from their target audience?
Sure. Well, there’s a couple of ways to do it. First of all, you want to do your due diligence, find out where your target audience are. And sometimes it’s on more than one platform. If you are targeting small business owners, depends on what they are selling. But more often than not, they happen to be on Facebook, and probably some on LinkedIn as well. So you’d want to use a combination of LinkedIn and Facebook. Retirees or pre retirees tend to love Facebook, but then some are also on LinkedIn. So you have to just do your due diligence, find out where your target audience is, and then post content that they want to read, that they want to see. What is it that they’re wanting, you don’t want to post selling your services, why you should hire me. I mean, maybe once in a while. You want to talk about what value you offer. But I know for me when I first began working with an asset management firm back in 2012, I was so disheartened looking for social media information geared toward asset managers, I only worked with financial advisors. So back in 2012, I ran for this asset manager, I’m thinking, gosh, how can I make this unique and I was researching all over the web, it was very difficult to find something geared toward asset managers. And so finally, I came across this FinTech company called Kurtosis. I had no idea what they did, what their product was that they sold, but they gave such great information about social media marketing for asset managers. I just I lived on their blog for months. And after learning so much from their educational information, finally, I took a moment to try and figure out well, what do they do, what value do they offer? And it turns out that they offer digital Fun Fact sheets for asset managers. So I was their perfect target audience. And they drew me in with content that they knew I would want. Never once were they selling their services, they knew what me their target audience would want. Right?
Okay, that makes sense. But it also sounds kind of intimidating for someone first starting out and really not knowing what their first through 10 posts should be. So what’s your advice to that total newbie? They open well, a Twitter account, and they start wanting to post.
Well, again, it would be part of doing your research and so to even take it a step back further, you don’t want to just start posting without a plan, right? Okay, number one, build, build out your social media strategy, and doing your due diligence, finding out where your target audience is, which platforms to work on, and what content that they want is all part of building out that social media strategy. I would suggest getting together with a coworker or other people in your team, sitting down together, making a list of potential topics and if possible, survey your target audience. If you already have existing clients, ask them what they might want to learn more about, ask them what intrigues them. Something that my friend Justin Castelli always tells his advisors that he works with is this, sit down and think about what are the common questions that your clients ask you in client meetings? There are your topics right there. Mm hmm. And then the next step would be to create your content.
Okay, well, you know, this type of social media strategy doesn’t sound vulnerable at all. It’s like, this is a well thought out, pre-planned strategy. So you could go on the platforms and start posting. So when you’re working with people, what makes them still feel hesitant about starting?
Well, I think it’s like any creator. When you first get ready to actually make that post, a lot of times are thinking, well, what do I say? Is this gonna sound dumb? Are they gonna like it? You know, it’s really feeling like you’re putting it out there permanently almost like shooting your video. You know, I still get a little nervous. I was a little nervous before we did this. Yeah, it’s etched in stone, in fact, you know, it’s also not age related, which I think a lot of people think that. I had a friend just last week, about 30 years old, and lives on Instagram and Tiktok, who asked me for advice on how to post something on LinkedIn, because she rarely ever posts on LinkedIn and she suddenly got very nervous. So you know, I think it just takes experience, doing it regularly, trying to switch your mind to think about how it relates to these into real life. You know, what would you say if you were at a networking event? What If you were having a client event and your clients were there, and they were asking you questions, think of it that way, because you’re just putting it out there digitally. You know what the right thing is to say in real life? Right? So you can have confidence in the fact that you’re going to know what the right thing is to say, when you post on social media. Of course, there’s certain strategies for the way you word your posts, which we can get into if you want to.
Yeah, talk about that a little bit. What is a strategy? I’m still learning.
Well, when you’re talking to people one on one, you have more of their attention and it’s easier to maybe tell a bit more of a story. When you’re on social media. You’ll notice as people scroll through their home feeds, it’s not necessarily a one on one conversation. It’s you’re putting information out there into the public, and you’re hoping it catches your target audience’s attention, right. So as you scroll through your home feed, how do you get through that deluge of information? How do you get your post to stand out to make somebody want to stop and read it? So when you’re writing your hook, as I call it, I always say, trying to put your main point at the very beginning of your sentence, the very first few words. Everybody has ADD, you know, we just have information overload. And I’ve seen some people begin their hooks with something along the lines of last week, I had the pleasure of speaking with world renowned for that, and already you’ve lost the people, right? Because what’s in it for me? So whatever the particular topic is, you just want to get to that point, you know, five top tips and five top tax tips for small business owners and then you can say that I learned from my conversation with you know, this well-known CPA or whatever it was.
The number tip thing really catches people’s eye, right? The five number tips, best ideas and that, or like my target audiences is single independent women. And I might start a post bag lady syndrome, how to overcome it. Whereas where it hooks them in instead of, are you single? Or I don’t know something more mundane. You just want to get their attention.
Exactly what are their pain points? And what value do you offer to help solve for those pain points? That’s what everybody wants, you know?
Yeah. So when you’re working with a client, and they’re telling you oh, I don’t, I don’t get social media. I mean, I’ve had colleagues tell me, I think social media is stupid. You know, they go on for a while and they’re trying to get it. Get the rhythm. Understand it and they just don’t. Yeah, yeah, I should that person that just I hear that.
I hear it all the time. And first of all, you have to want to do it and you have to understand the value. So I oftentimes share success stories with my clients. Every year, for the last six years, Putnam has put out an advisor survey asking them how they use social media for their business. And if you want to Google it, and you take a look at this, you will see the growth and the amount of success that advisors have had over the last six, seven years, that Putnam has put out this survey. It’s really, really powerful. And that’s just for our industry. But for any industry in general. The statistics are there, it’s grown. So I try to show success stories and show the numbers and then it just goes back to what I said originally. Try to make social media part of your daily routine, just 10 minutes a day. Each morning, when you check your email, scroll your home feeds, check your notifications, start to get a feel for it, see what the current trends are. And over time you begin to get comfortable, then start with one post and see what the reaction is. And keep at it. It’s kind of like a slow drip campaign. So you just have to keep doing it. And over time you get comfortable. And once you see the results, then it’ll definitely inspire you to want to do more. But there’s a ton of people told me they think it’s a waste of time. And then 99% of the time those people end up coming around. I guarantee it. Well, I
started using social media in 2008. So you could say I’m sort of a veteran of the medium of it has been. You are a pioneer. Yeah. It’s been amazing for me, brought me so many opportunities above and beyond prospecting for clients, just connections and people I’ve hired and you know, you know, presentations, I’ve been able to make all kinds of things. But you know, back when I started, I didn’t have a strategy. I was trying to build my brand, because it’s great for brand building right, getting your message out there. But I just started having conversations with people and it was so exciting when people started to follow me and engage with me and you get hooked. And I think if you can get beyond that fear stage and get started, like you said 99% of the people are going to love it and find some benefits about it. There’s another little angle I want to talk about with social media and this is once you get more advanced in it is, is finding your true voice like really being yourself open vulnerable on these platforms. And I mean, this is hard to do in real life, right. But what I found is the people that are the most authentic, are the most popular. They have the most followers they have the most people want to hear what they have to say. That’s not an easy thing to do.
It’s not, it’s not and that’s why those people get so many followers, I think because all of us who are a little more nervous, maybe a little bit more shy to actually let it all out like that actually give a firm opinion on something that might make some people mad or that others might disagree with. We admire those people. So because deep down we wish, maybe there’s a part of us that wishes they could do that. So it makes us want to follow them and watch them and hear what they have to say. Now everybody has a different style. And so what some people might feel comfortable putting out there, you might not. And that’s totally okay. That’s also part of this getting used to social media and what to say and what you feel comfortable with. And your comfort level will change. I, you know, I’ve historically been more worried about my clients’ social media than my own. Until last year, I thought, gosh, I better really get more active on Twitter. I need to start posting more for myself and engage with our FinTech community. And suddenly, I felt nervous, and I felt awkward and I wasn’t quite sure what to say. I know who I am. I feel like I know. But I felt weird and it’s taken, you know, over a year, but now I feel much more comfortable chit chatting on Twitter. I’ve built up a nice group of Twitter friends, our fin tech community. I’ve met so many great people really through Twitter. Yeah. Which is really, really cool. And thanks to Leslie Marshall over at Morningstar.
But just met so many. I met Leslie
Leslie years ago, like, probably 2009/10 because of Twitter.
So did I.
Leslie gave me advice on Twitter when I was at that asset management firm.
Right. You know, I noticed I think I started noticing you on Twitter about a year ago. So that’s probably when you started to really get into your own on Twitter, right. Like you said, you stopped thinking about your client. Well, you of course, you’re still thinking about your clients, but you will. Yeah, yeah. You’re developing your own presence. Yeah.
Yeah. Well, and the funny thing I think that really broke my nervousness was I’d written an article for City Wire RIA magazine, where I listed 10 RIAs to follow on Twitter. And that was kind of a hot topic that summer and I chose the 10 RIAs that I felt were most authentic and real. They didn’t have to have a million followers. But I saw them on Twitter. I’d never met them in real life. But the way that they came through was very authentic and they just seem like good people to me. So I listed these 10 people, and the magazine came out and one of them Nina O’Neill, tweeted, hey, thanks Courtney for featuring me. I’m so honored and she tagged the other nine advisors. Well, one of them Tyrone Ross said he responded and said, well, thanks Courtney. But you misspelled my last name. And because his name is Tyrone, middle initial V like Victor and then last name Ross with an R. And I don’t know why I just saw that the end for his last name. So I wrote it. This time was oh no, no, this is print magazines. I mean, they thought we fixed the web version. But here I am. I’m just getting comfortable with tweeting again, I write this article, I felt so good about it. And that had been Cathy, my heart went into mode. Oh my gosh. I thought, Oh my gosh, I want to die. And so I do. So to this, I didn’t really know what to say. So I just I responded to his tweet with the faceplant emoji, like, you know, yeah. And I said, oh, my gosh, I’m so sorry Tyrone. And he was really nice about it, of course. Oh, yeah.
Oh, you know,
print gets thrown out. So, you know,
naturally, but it actually turned into a happy accident like the painter Bob Ross’s because all the other advisors jumped in and they started making a joke about it. Oh, are we gonna call you Tyrone Voss now? Do you represent Voss water, and there were some pretty funny funny tweets that followed that I think all day long, probably 1000 tweets. Oh my god. But we had such a great time. It turned out to be so much fun, especially when the advisor sent me a case of Voss water.
That’s being vulnerable to mistakes. All those things don’t aren’t necessarily bad things right
now. Anyway, it was really a happy accident. And then when we all met in person, finally at a conference, we already felt like we knew each other. So that really, that really made it fun.
Okay, this is you just brought up another great, fantastic thing about social media, where you meet people online, and then when you finally meet them in real life, you feel like you’re friends already. And it’s just it’s actually easier to develop the relationship. Yeah,
it is. It’s really, really fun. In fact, I heard Nina O’Neill speak at a conference. And that’s what she said. She said, specifically when she meets clients for the first time or prospects. They all tell her that they feel like they already know her because of her social media presence, they know, she has two boys in baseball and it’s really it is a nice way of being able to build that comfort or like you said personal brand. Which, by the way, is the old school term for or is the new school term for the old school term reputation, right? Oh, yeah, personal brand’s, just the buzzword. And now you can build that reputation, aka personal brand through social media.
Right. So we’re gonna wrap up in a couple of minutes. So I wanted to make sure the audience gets like, your top three tips to being authentic and successful using social media and, you know, social media where it’s we keep saying this broad term, it’s actually a group of platforms that you post on, right? And one may be better than another for your purposes. So you might want to speak to that just a little bit too.
Sure, sure, sure. Well,
first of all, it depends on your bandwidth. And you don’t want to bite off more than you can chew. So if you’re really a newbie at social media, I suggest choosing one platform to begin with. But save your name, and your company name on all the platforms, even if you’re not using them right now, just because you don’t want somebody else to take that handle that username, like on Twitter, you have a Twitter handle, Facebook, your company name, and on your LinkedIn company page, even Pinterest, even on the platforms you think you’ll never use, just because they evolve so much. They change the way people use them. You know, in the beginning, nobody ever thought Instagram would be used for business but now it really is. So save your name and your company name across all the social media platforms just so that nobody else gets it, right. But if you’re really a newbie, choose one, if you think you can handle it, do two, which usually are Facebook and LinkedIn. Twitter is also a great way to network, check to see if your audience is there. But if not, it’s where the media is and PR, if that’s a goal for you, trying to get some PR interviews. And then just make sure you build out your strategy. Do your research, find out what’s involved in a strategy, you know, which is part of what we talked about before doing your due diligence so that you’re prepared, you have a content strategy, how often you’re going to post and you know what your target audience wants. And then really, it’s like, I call it nurturing your network. I think a lot of people call it that.
Every day going in and
being active, you can’t just post and disappear. You have to post, and you have to engage with your network. Comment on their posts, like their posts and be a part of the conversation. And of course, don’t forget to let everybody know you’re on social media. It always amazes me how many advisors take the time to build out their social media presence. But then they neglect to put their social media icons on their website, or their email campaigns, or in just talking to people, hey, by the way, are you on LinkedIn, let’s connect or, you know, have you followed my Facebook page. So make sure that people know that you’re there, the people that you’re speaking with directly, and that will help spread the word. Again, along with engaging and posting and commenting regularly.
Great. Those are awesome tips. I just have one other question for you. And that is, do you recommend people post themselves all the time, or use somebody else to post for them to schedule their posting events. What’s your thoughts
on that? That’s a great, that’s another great question. Um, listen, if you can do it all yourself, I highly recommend that because only you know, your connections and your audience the best. I’ve had people want me to manage their LinkedIn for them. And it just doesn’t work. It doesn’t come off as authentic. I can see what’s happening in their network, but I have no idea what kind of relationships they have with certain people. Maybe to a degree, maybe if I worked really closely with somebody, but it’s just never going to be the same. If you’re really busy, and you want somebody to help with the posting, okay, fine. Maybe they maybe you can do that. But you still have to go on there and engage every single day and respond to the comments and like the comments. It’s the only way to be truly successful, to be truly authentic. People can smell it a mile away. And while a few years ago, setting posts just can’t post me, it works, social media, the platforms themselves and the way we use it is evolving every day. And really, people are just being more and more authentic, and people getting sensitive, you’re not.
you want to be successful, you got to be authentic.
Yeah, I’m saying that to more and more authenticity. So I guess that is the main theme of this podcast is, if you can strive to be as authentic as you can on social media, use it every day. 10 minutes is barely any time at all. Schedule it in first thing in the morning or in the evening before you close the day out. Right. Yeah. And hopefully have a strategy.
But yeah, you have to have a strategy.
Yeah. And it’s not too late to get a strategy right. Like I could have a new strategy right now. If I wanted to.
Oh, yeah, and that’s a great point. You know, Cathy, your strategy can evolve year after year. So you want to revisit it and it’s not a set it and forget it when you create your strategy, you need to go back to it, decide what’s been working, what’s not what you want to change or if your business goals change, so keep that strategy on hand and refer to it and updated as you need to.
Okay, great. Is there anything else you would like our audience to know about you? Let’s go over your Twitter handles and things like that.
Oh, sure. Yeah, I’d love to connect with everybody on Twitter. My Twitter handle is @CourtMcQuade and I’m on LinkedIn. So definitely feel free to link in with me.
And I’m happy to help answer any questions.
Great. And by the way, I hardly ever say my Twitter handle on this podcast is @CathyCurtis. A personal tidbit. I know you have a favorite food that you talk about quite often. I want you to share. Yeah. Well, this started is
Go for it.
Oh gosh, when I fell in love with buffalo wings.
Yeah. It’s been a long love affair.
And if you do follow me on Twitter, this is something that you already know really well about me. So I often get into Twitter discussions about it. I can’t remember the first time I had buffalo wings. Exactly. So I think I just must have been born with the love. But I love to try different kinds of buffalo wings and my favorite kind of buffalo wings. I don’t want to try lemon pepper. I mean, I’d like lemon pepper. I like the other ones, but my very favorite is the old school. tangy orangey Buffalo Wing sauce.
I don’t like the bread, just a little bit crisp and kind of meaty. Right now I live in the San Francisco Bay area near you. But I can’t, I haven’t found great buffalo wings in this area so if anybody knows of any in the area, I want to hear about it. The best buffalo wings I’ve had to date is in Cave Creek, Arizona at a place called Harold’s Corral. Their buffalo wings are perfect for me, exactly what I want. And my secret dream is to set up a little vacation to Buffalo, New York, and go to Anchor Bar where they were first invented a long time ago.
when quarantine’s over. Of course, yes.
Do you ever make them yourself?
I did once, it’s not the same. I’m not the best cook so I’d rather leave that.
I was gonna say when this COVID thing’s over I want to come over to your house and have buffalo wings with you, but maybe we’ll find a place in the Bay Area that has awesome buffalo wings like that.
I like that. I’ve been considering getting an air fryer to try my hand at that. Some of my Twitter friends have been telling me that the air fryer works really well for wings. So I might try that. And if I do, I’ll let you know how it goes.
Perfect. Great. I would love that. Okay, Courtney. Well, thank you so much for your time. I really enjoyed talking with you. Me too. Thank you
so much, Cathy. Okay,
bye. See you soon. Bye. All right.