Updated: Dec 13, 2022
Financial services and social media are strange bedfellows at the present time. Compliance complications are scaling up its adoption, but know this: love it or hate it, the digital revolution will not be denied, and the industry is getting on board with using social media to further its reach. Already, “cashtags” have entered the lexicon on Twitter, and savvy financial advisors are letting their followers know about it.
But that is putting the cart before the horse. Because first and most importantly, before advisors can buy into the power of social media, they have to realize that they are thought leaders with something important and unique to say to clients and prospects. They have to know that they have something to share, something to give clients and prospects. Social media isn’t about taking.
Now that you’ve digested that fact, how can social media help you engage with your clients in conversations and with ideas (even if sometimes it seems like a one-way street)? How can you use it as a dissemination tool, one that also helps you to market and brand? Let’s take a look at the main platforms, and decide which ones work with which audiences in imparting your personal value.
Blogs and Podcasts
The beauty of blogs and podcasts is that it is highly personalized and represents you. It lives on your website where your fans and followers can read your take on financial matters (but nothing on performance), such as your opinion on money-related topics (like estate planning, speaking to one’s children about money matters etc.) or stories that clients can relate to. It’s not meant to sell; it’s meant to inform and educate. Building your blog follower list can become part of your onboarding process and your electronic signature, and emailing your clients the link to your daily/weekly blog post can be done quickly with delivery systems such as MailChimp.
Twitter’s use in financial circles is, as Josh Brown, CEO of Ritholtz Wealth Management, writes, “definitely trending.” Twitter can serve as an announcement vehicle, extending the reach of your blog to followers who are Twitter-inclined. It also allows you to retweet messages and includes links that your followers would find informative or which reflect your worldview. It further allows you to share interesting moments about more social aspects of your working life (see Facebook below). Don’t let all the talk about hashtags and trending keep you from starting on Twitter; they can be important but aren’t mandatory. Be selective about who you follow. On that note, read up on Twitter etiquette because Twitter is all about being polite.
Platforms such as YouTube and Vimeo can take your blog one big step further. We are visual by nature, and if this medium is one in which you are comfortable, video can extend your reach and message in ways your blog can’t. Plus it’s a nice addition to your website. Use with discretion; less is always more when it comes to frequency of use. Be sure to invest in production qualities because your video experience needs to be as high-end as the rest of your offerings.
LinkedIn is a good platform for disseminating your opinions to colleagues and business owner clients, and for sharing thought-provoking, informative articles posted by others with your own followers. It has become a bit of a crowded playing field among financial professionals, so standing out from among the herd is more difficult. But there are LinkedIn followers who won’t find you in other social media, so keeping a presence here makes sense, especially if you have LI readers who aren’t on your blog mailing list.
If you are the type of advisor comfortable with sharing the more informal aspects of your working life, then a corporate Facebook page is the medium to use. Save your opinion pieces for your blog and LinkedIn. The little bots that live inside Facebook for Business love images, so photos (videos are even better) from client events, road trips, conferences, seminars or trade shows find a great home here, and they are the type of posts that Facebook followers enjoy because they are light in nature and show an aspect of your business not really suitable in the other social media. Use Twitter to announce and link. Just be aware that Facebook for Business has instituted algorithms that limit your reach unless you are willing to pay to boost, hence the advice to feature lots of visual content. Paid boosts can be as cheap as $2 and should suffice for our industry.
How are you using social media, if at all? Is it something that you are comfortable with? Have you been using it as a prospecting tool rather than as a connecting tool? What has your experience been in building brand recognition and client loyalty? Do you agree that five or ten years from now, traditional marketing will have been supplanted by social marketing, if it hasn’t already? Do you believe that five or ten years from now, what is today’s social media will be tomorrow’s 8-track tape?