Last updated: 22.01.14

Expert: Make social media central to your business

Financial advisers should make continuing professional development (CPD) and improving their social media skills a priority for 2014.

This is according to Sue Whitbread, head of communications at the Institute of Financial Planning, who claimed in an article for Money Marketing that these business activities are essential to success throughout the year ahead.

She described CPD as a "very positive way of demonstrating your competence", and said it proves to your clients or boss that you are committed to updating your knowledge and skills.

Staying abreast of the latest training trends and resources could be vital to providing the best service possible in the coming months, especially as technical know-how relating to social media is becoming increasingly vital in this digital age.

"It is equally important that you continue to develop your personal skills, keep up-to-date with regulatory requirements and continue to operate in an ethical manner," Ms Whitbread stated.

Social media is widely used by companies and brands at present, and having a solid understanding of websites like Twitter, Facebook and Google+ could be essential to driving forward business success and innovation.

A recent survey from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development found these online platforms are valuable to boosting engagement and training opportunities within organisations, but too few firms are capitalising on the fact.

Ms Whitbread pointed to the many benefits of social media, including that it is low-cost to use and is a fast and effective way of spreading a message. However, it can be daunting for employees who are not familiar with it, which is why proper training is crucial.

What's more, a company's Facebook page or Twitter account are often the first port of call for clients and take precedence over their actual website.

"If you miss the opportunity to engage with them here, you risk sending them to competitors who can show their business brand and personality with greater clarity," Ms Whitbread explained.