Social Media Tips for Finance Professionals — And Everyone Else by Joanna Belbey
According to a recent survey, 85 per cent of financial advisors in the U.S. are using social media for business. As a direct result of social media use, these ‘social advisors’ gained new clients resulting in nearly $5 million in average asset gain. For these advisors, social media is no longer an option, but a proven tool that is being used to gain new business and to build closer relationships with clients.
Are you ready to step off the sidelines and become a ‘social advisor’ to build your business? Following are 10 tips to help you use social media effectively.
1. Understand your company’s social media policy. Make sure you understand your corporate policy. Contact your compliance department with questions; speak with colleagues; and participate in any training that may be available at your firm or online.
2. Define your audience. Many financial advisors specialize. Do you target high tech founders? Healthcare professionals? Business owners? High net worth multi-generational families? Select the social media platform used most by your clients so you can communicate in a manner in which they are comfortable.
3. Define your personal brand. This means putting out a consistent reflection of who you authentically are. Define your special talents and areas of expertise that help your clients succeed; and importantly, reveal your personal interests to show your true self. Whether you are a competitive bicycle racer or volunteer for a good cause, mention that. It’s best to avoid politics, religion or controversial opinions.
4. Select a social media platform. Select one platform initially, and create an account to use for business only. Linkedin is a favourite place to start for many financial advisors, but many also use Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and even Snapchat. It goes back to identifying your clients and prospects and being where they are. Once you become familiar with one platform, you can experiment with others.
5. Build your network. Once your profile is set up, reach out to people you know and invite them to connect with you. Personally-written notes are key — don’t just click on ‘Connect’ within ‘Who’s Viewed Your Profile’ or use the mobile app to make a connection. Although quick and easy, those invitations will be sent with a standard
un-inticing message. Instead, carefully craft introductions that remind people of how you know them and how you might provide value.
6. Listen and learn. Before you take any actions on social media, spend some quality time noticing what others are doing. Pay attention to what you like and don’t like. Look at your competitors’, colleagues’ and friends’ posts. If you see a personal connection with a ‘life event’ such as a move, a promotion or perhaps retirement, consider reaching out by phone to offer a genuine congratulations and to catch up. There are many stories of financial advisers using a combination of social media and the phone to gain new clients.
7. Engage. Once you feel comfortable, begin to join the conversation and start providing value. Social media is a two way street: Be generous with information and be helpful. Depending on your firm’s policy, you may elect to add a comment, ‘like’ or ‘share’ your connections’ content. Some firms allow this, others don’t.
8. Share useful content. Many financial services firms have libraries of articles that have already been pre-approved by compliance that you may share on social media. Share the content that matches your personal brand, demonstrates your specific expertise and is of interest to your clients/followers. Be consistent.
9. Show your personal side: Remember the 80/20 rule. Consider posting 80 per cent business content and 20 per cent personal content that reflects your brand. Remember, we do business with people we like and who share our passions.
10. No pitching. Finally, no active selling. No one likes being pitched on social media and it may violate industry rules. Instead, when a string becomes more business oriented, move the conversation towards your traditional channels of one-on-one communications, such as email or phone.