Published September 12, 2018
As a financial advisor, you already know that relationships are everything. Without healthy open relationships with your clients, you won’t have much of a business and your financial practice simply won’t grow (hello, referrals). While you may see your clients two, three, or more times per year, what happens the rest of the time? Sure, you may send out the occasional email update or host a client event or two. This is where the power of social media can make a significant difference; your social channels can be an opportunity to get connected and stay connected with your audience on a daily basis. Sounds great, right?
Except a lot of advisors have some concerns. There are a few challenges associated with having compliant social media profiles, and obviously it is a time investment for someone in your office to manage. So is it really worth the effort? Consider this: social media has been so effective for financial advisors that a recent study by Putnam Investments states that 79% of advisors acquire new clients through social efforts.
If you are on social media but aren’t seeing the results, or have yet to venture into the world of Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, we’ve got news for you.
This is how Advisors WIN on Social Media
First, do your Research. If you aren’t a big Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn user, you’ve got a bit of a learning curve. Start by logging on and investigating – look at how other brands use social media, get a feel for how each platform works and the opportunities they might present for your firm. If you have social profiles set up for your firm, where do you have an audience already? Do you notice that you get more engagement on one over another? You may want to brush up on the SEC’s guidelines for social media usage too.
Stay out of Trouble. Remember, social profiles are public. Since your posts could be seen by just about anybody, it’s best to steer clear of specific investing advice of any kind. But what you can do is talk about your knowledge, general best practices, and establish yourself and your firm as experts in your field. Definitely encourage your followers to schedule a one-on-one meeting for specific advice!
Resist the Urge to Sell. Counter-intuitive? Yes. But social media is just that…a social platform. There’s no quicker way to lose your profile’s followers leave than pushing your services in every single post. Provide opportunities for discussion, share other peoples’ content, and ask for opinions. Your content has to be valuable for someone else to engage in! Think about the challenges and struggles your clients face, and try to relate. That’s the best way to build relationships on social media platforms.
Use Automation…in Moderation. Users are smarter than you think. Not everybody has time to constantly monitor their Facebook or LinkedIn profile, but your content has to be human. Don’t just load posts for the next three months and schedule them to go out at 10 a.m. every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Take the opportunity to build on your brand, show your personality, and truly present what makes you stand out from the crowd. Make it unique and thoughtful. Go ahead and use apps or social automation products, they can be helpful; just make sure you don’t rely too heavily on them to the point that you can’t be identified in a sea of ever-expanding robo-advisors.
Be Patient. New Clients don’t appear overnight on social media; it takes some work to develop the right strategy with the right budget. Do not expect to post a few times a month and reap new clients. Developing trust takes time! Just like any marketing activity, social media takes your potential clients through a process, starting with engagement and awareness. Allow someone to observe and interact with you for a while before they ask you to manage their money.
Track your results. Don’t keep doing the same thing and wonder why it isn’t working. When you start out on social media try to remove yourself from your actions! What you think might perform well and what actually does resonate with your followers can be two very different ideas. Don’t be afraid to try different pictures, graphics, headlines, and calls to actions – and see what performs the best. What posts get the most clicks? What do these people do when they come to your website? What articles do they read? You have to know what works so you can build on the strategy; find out what your clients care about in order to offer them value.
Know your audience. Spend some time figuring out who your audience is and where they live online. This does not mean targeting people based on a single factor, like income; I’m talking about a deeper level of understanding. You should know who your best clients are, where they work, what their lives are like, the challenges they face, and aligning every single post with that audience. Your social performance will rise if people visit your profile and think, “oh wow, that’s me they’re talking about!” instead of trying to appeal to every single person.
That last step is the key. If you’re going to be spending a portion of your marketing budget on social media, you better know your audience like you know your best friend. It is easy to waste thousands of dollars and get zero ROI and wonder what went wrong. Every ad campaign on social media has incredible targeting capabilities providing an incredible benefit when used properly. On LinkedIn, you can target people by job title, company, industry, and more. On Facebook, you can target people in a specific income bracket, family roles like parents or grandparents, people who have recently moved, or those who are homeowners. This is a small sample of the possibilities! Successful advisors know their audience and take the time to target them specifically with their content. It takes time, yes, but building awareness and showing the right message to the right people at the right time is the “sweet spot” of social advertising. This is what makes the difference – it will take some effort to create quality content and craft, and test messages.
Don’t be frustrated if you’ve tried social media and haven’t seen the results you want yet. Take our tips and overhaul your strategy and you’ll be surprised at what happens. One more thing: don’t feel like you have to be an expert on every channel. It’s better to do social media well on one platform instead of trying to keep up on three or four channels and failing. Pick one, and knock it out of the park like a true social media expert armed with a strategy to win.