I first met Nicholas Miazek on Twitter.

After I followed him, he sent me a personalized direct message to say hello and thank me for following his Twitter feed. It was a nice touch.

“There’s a social aspect to social media that people discount,” he says to me in a recent telephone conversation.

Nicholas is a fee-only Certified Financial Planner in Calgary. He got his start in social media back in late 2010 when a member of his firm’s marketing team began encouraging the advisors and other financial professionals in the firm to start using LinkedIn and Twitter.

Nick confesses that he was skeptical at first, but soon came to appreciate Twitter’s quickness, short message format and ease-of-use. He also found it to be a great source of professional information and market intelligence. On Twitter, it was easy to connect with others who shared his professional interests and with whom he could share information and develop real working relationships.

How does a successful professional use social media?

Nicholas explained to me how he is using social media throughout his work week. He tries to review his Twitter feed at least once per day, but often does so several times in a day. He has a mobile app on his phone to help him stay connected when he is away from the office and uses Hootsuite on his desktop because he likes its ability to track multiple discussions and hashtags at once.

His firm maintains a blog and uses an editorial calendar to ensure a regular flow of internally created content is published. This content, along with other articles he finds online, makes its way onto Nicholas’ outbound Twitter feed. Once a month, his firm also holds a Twitter chat session using hashtag #TEtalks during which professionals in the firm and anyone online can discuss financial planning and investing matters.

What are the benefits of a social strategy?

It’s clear from discussing Twitter and social media with Nicholas that he actually enjoys his online activities quite a bit. But I wanted to understand what he felt he’d gained professionally, if anything, from his investment of time.

Here’s what Nicholas described as the benefits of his social media activities:

1. Increased knowledge and awareness of key issues and people that are relevant to his professional work. Nicholas feels that the business intelligence he gains from social networking alone justifies the time he puts into it.

2. Increased profile in media stories about financial planning. Nicholas cites Twitter as the tool that enabled him to establish himself as a credible source for several financial media journalists that he met online.

3. Improved search engine optimization (SEO). Nicholas points to the prominence of his Twitter feed and LinkedIn profiles when people are searching Google for him.

4. Improved the effectiveness of his networking. Not everyone is a extrovert with a gift for small talk. Nicholas acknowledges that he’s not as comfortable working a room at a networking event as he is online connecting with people around common interests and subject matter. In online settings, he says, “Content has value, not just presence.”

5. New leads and business development opportunities. Nicholas can claim at least one new client who came to him via an online relationship, but he feels there are more to come. Return on investment in social media takes time and he’s happy to wait.

Check out Nicholas Miazek online:

LinkedIn – http://www.linkedin.com/pub/nicholas-miazek-cfp/b/8b0/907
Twitter – https://twitter.com/#!/miazekCFP
Klout – http://klout.com/#/miazekCFP

Nicholas J. Miazek CFP
Consultant, Manager Financial Planning
645 – 7th Avenue SW, Suite 2400
Calgary | Alberta | T2P 4G8
Direct: 403.538.3801
T: 403.233.8370 | F: 403.262.8789
Website: www.tewealth.com

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own. No fees have been solicited nor received by the advisor or the firm in consideration of this article.