If you are a financial advisor, you are in the relationship business. It’s all about earning trust and developing a connection with your clients that can last a lifetime. Technology has changed the landscape of how people meet and connect. Because of resent financial scandals, security breaches and the economic downturn, people are just far less trusting of financial institutions these days, making it more challenging for financial advisors to meet and connect with their ideal clients. As a financial advisor you are faced with not only reaching your target audience and earning their consideration, but you also need to be able to distinguish yourself from every other advisor out there.
While technology has changed the landscape of how people meet and connect, it has also presented human to human businesses like financial advisories with a unique opportunity. Social media is the ultimate word of mouth marketing. It is the platform that fuels referrals and lets you share your unique perspective. Once you fully understand and overcome compliance concerns, financial advisors can embrace social media to build relationships and grow their brand. Here are some tips to get you started on the path of social media success.
Clean-Up Your Social Media Accounts
First things first. If you are currently using Facebook and Instagram for personal use, before opening your “home” up to your professional life, tidy-up a bit. Understandably, you may not want your clients to have full access to what you post on Facebook. Be sure to update your Privacy Settings and Tools so that you’re comfortable. Also, under Manage Blocking in your settings, you can add people to a Restricted List so that they only see what you have made available to the public (per your Privacy Settings). Decide now if you want to use Instagram for professional use. You can post personal pictures to Instagram, but you’ll be best served following a theme and color palette, as well as never going more than 3 posts without something that points back to the value you offer through your profession. Lastly, make sure your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date. LinkedIn is your professional impression, so make a great one with a quality photograph, updated information and some recent engagement activity. Be the professional the professionals you’re looking to network with, want to network with. Catch my drift?
Embrace Your Personal Brand
Be yourself and have fun. Who you are matters when it comes to people selecting their financial advisor. The more honest and authentic you are online, the more comfortable and easy it will be for your ideal client when they meet you in person. People want to work with people they like and with social media, you make it easier for more people to get to know you and what you’re all about. By being yourself on social media, you invite people to form a connection with you before they actually meet you in person. Definitely don’t create an online version of yourself that isn’t consistent with who you are in real life. Be real and be you.
Connect with Your Clients & Centers of Influence
Make sure you connect with the people you know! Referrals are a great source of new business and there is nothing like a warm introduction from a current happy client or professional friend. Personal and professional life are more integrated these days. Now that you have your social media accounts cleaned-up, get connected with your current supporters online. They will be your best advocates for your brand and vice versa. Ideally, you will be creating and sharing content that speaks to the needs of your ideal clients and contacts. Your clients may not be able to write you a glowing review, because of compliance regulations … but they can share your blog article with their friends and family, which is just as nice.
Use LinkedIn for Thought-Leadership & Networking
LinkedIn is the place to flex your knowledge and expertise. Be a resource to your network on LinkedIn, not just an inactive profile page. By sharing great content your audience would benefit from, you become a great source of information. If you are writing and using the LinkedIn Publisher feature, your original ideas are shared directly with your connections and people that follow you. In terms of networking, I recommend sending a personalized note to every single person I connect with or that connects with me. Personalized connection invitation requests are the best, although I must admit that the mobile app is really frustrating for being able to do that. I make sure I send a personal note regardless that shares my enthusiasm for our connection and a call to action. Maybe it’s a phone call or a cup of coffee, or just a simple question to learn more about the person so I know what the right call to action should be.
Twitter is like Grand Central Station and is a great place to connect with influencers in your industry, as well as writers, editors and major publications. 23% of all online adults are using Twitter and that number continues to grow. Being active on Twitter will help drive people to your website or if you don’t have a website, you can direct people to your LinkedIn profile. If you want to grow your credibility and expand your network, Twitter will help you reach your goals. I have also found Twitter chats to be one of the best ways to meet and engage with people on Twitter. These days, many of them run a live podcast and you can join the conversation live on Twitter. The opportunity is to position yourself as a thought leader and begin contributing to new conversations about your industry.
Join Facebook Groups
Facebook groups are great. Search for and join groups that your ideal clients are joining that way you can establish yourself as a resource to the groups you’re involved with. Groups are highly engaged and with the right host, they provide plenty of opportunities to promote your content or your services in an appropriate and welcomed manner. Also, many people ask questions and referrals of their groups. Setting up some social listening alerts will be helpful to keep you aware of conversations that are happening that you want to join. You can set up your first alert for free with Mention.
Observe the 30/60/10 Rule When Publishing Content
I can’t emphasize this rule enough when it comes to sharing content over social media. 30% of what you share should be owned. These include blog posts, updates, inspirational quotes, infographic, etc. 60% of what you share should be curated. This is other people’s content. An article you thought your audience would like from The Wall Street Journal or a link to your COIs most recent blog post. It is other people’s content, but it adds value to your target audience. And then only 10% of what you share should be promotional: event announcements, consultation offers, introductory fee announcement, or anything that screams, “Look at me and what I’m doing.”
Give Value Away
The most important takeaway for financial advisors to succeed on social media is to give value away. Everything you post for your audience should go through a filter of, “Will this add value to their life?” To be the solution your ideal client is looking for means you already solve their problems before they sign a formal engagement with you. Thanks to technology, social media is a value delivery vehicle you can leverage every single day. When you consistently deliver value to your audience, the question of why someone should choose you and your services over someone else’s is much clearer. By giving value, you are doing exactly what you say you do versus just saying it and hoping your ideal client believes you.
A common question financial advisors and managing directors ask is, “How do we reach our ideal client most effectively?” Today, that question is easily answered. You can reach them on social media. The more important question everyone must answer is not how to reach them, but how to earn their attention and keep it! Approaching social media with these recommendations will help you accomplish just that.