Three Tips for Financial Advisors Using Social Media
If you’re a financial advisor and beginning to dip a toe into the vast ocean of social media, you might feel rather overwhelmed at the thought of where to begin and how to turn the networks into a tool for generating new and deeper relationships.
Just like your career as an advisor, you didn’t become a top notch finance expert right out of the gate, so consider the social media learning experience as a steady journey towards a goal of eventual expertise. One step at a time!
Here are three initial steps to getting your social media off the ground successfully or revamping your current approach, with thoughts and tips on each.
1. Know your Audience
Think about your ideal client. Do you have a specific niche you’re targeting? Once you define the audience, then you can determine the best way to connect with this pool of prospects.
If you primarily work with elderly women, these Pew Research social media demographics stats show that Facebook is the place to spend a significant portion of your efforts.
- Nearly eight-in-ten online Americans (79%) now use Facebook, more than double the share that uses Twitter (24%), Pinterest (31%), Instagram (32%) or LinkedIn (29%).
- Some 62% of online adults ages 65 and older now use Facebook, a 14-point increase from the 48% who reported doing so in 2015.
- Women continue to use Facebook at somewhat higher rates than men: 83% of female internet users and 75% of male internet users are Facebook adopters.
If successful business owners, young professionals or C-level executives are your ideal client, then LinkedIn is clearly a better bet to building your client base. Again, according to Pew:
- LinkedIn has long been especially popular with college graduates and high income earners, and this trend continues to hold true.
- 45% of online adults with an annual household income of $75,000 or more use LinkedIn
Bonus Tip: Keep these audiences and their interests in mind when choosing relevant content to share. If you’re targeting elderly women and you’re sharing an article about the most popular tourist destinations for Millennials, you’re probably missing the mark!
2. Choose the Right Photo
If you’re making an initial connection with someone on social media, a picture says a thousand words. Take a look at your existing photo and ask yourself what words it might convey. Friendly? Professional? Approachable? Too stuffy? Too casual? Will your photo actually represent how you show up face to face with your clients?
Depending on the social media platform, you may end up selecting different photos for each.
Financial advisors on LinkedIn typically feature business dress in their photos for a more professional appearance, while a slightly more casual look can be appropriate for the friendlier confines of Facebook.
Either way, hiring a professional photographer will work wonders for helping you present your best self.
Bonus Tip: Don’t know any professional photographers in your area? Review the profile pictures of local colleagues on social media, find favorite styles that will work for you and ask your connections who took their photo.
3. Get Creative with Connections
So, you’ve chosen your social media network(s) and have a professional photo in place. Time to build your relationships!
When connecting with colleagues or clients, it’s always important to personalize your message. On LinkedIn, it may seem simple to scroll through “People you may know” and just click Connect. However, that’s a missed opportunity to make the most of the initial connection.
Imagine the important touch point of writing a thank you note to a client or prospect and then simply writing the words “Thank You” on the card. Thank you for what? Of course, you’d thank them specifically for whatever generated the need for sending the card in the first place.
So, why are you connecting with this person on LinkedIn? How can you personalize that connection, even if it’s just a brief message?
For example, “Jim, it was great meeting you at the seminar and I thought your presentation was very effective. I enjoyed our conversation about golfing afterwards and I thought it would be great to connect on LinkedIn so we can keep in touch and maybe hit the links sometime soon.”
This gives Jim context for who you are, where you met and he probably appreciated the compliment about his presentation!
If you’re connecting with someone you already know very well, taking the time to add a personal message will still help bring warmth and positivity to the connection.
Bonus Tip: Same goes for work anniversaries, birthdays, etc. Any time you’re clicking on those notifications and acknowledging the milestone, don’t rely on the pre-populated text that accompanies the message. Put your own spin on it and add a personal detail or two to make the message significantly more meaningful.
Yes, social media for financial advisors can be a daunting place to explore, but by systematically checking off small items one at a time, you’ll be well on your way to social media success.
Why Lasting Change Is Hard
Before we had any children, my wife and I lived in the heart of Dallas. One day, on our way back to our house, we were driving down Skillman Avenue when we were caught in a sudden torrential downpour.
The rain was coming down incredibly hard, which wouldn’t have been a problem if the storm drains were equipped to handle that much water. Instead, the road itself filled with water faster than we could have anticipated. Quickly, the water rose up the side of our car. Trying not to panic, we realized that we could not continue and would need to turn around and get to higher ground.
Water rising up the side of your car door is the kind of roadblock you might not expect to encounter, but when you do, it’s formidable. We couldn’t drive through it or even around it. We had to deal with it quickly or face serious consequences.
When we’re trying to implement change in our own lives, it’s important to identify and plan for common roadblocks to lasting change.
The first and, in my opinion, most important roadblock to lasting change is not addressing the real issue.
Let’s say you wake up in the middle of the night with a sore throat. You’re annoyed by feeling sick but your throat really hurts, so you get up and spray a little Chloraseptic in your mouth and drift off to sleep. When you wake up the next day, you still have a sore throat, so you pop in a cough drop and go about your day.
The change you’re making – using a numbing agent – might work if you’ve only got a cold, but if it’s strep throat, you’re not addressing the real problem. Only an antibiotic will cure what ails you, even if Chloraseptic will keep the pain at bay for a while.
Just like how more information is needed to diagnose your sore throat than one feeling, problems you encounter in your life or business require diagnostics, too. Figuring out the real problem – not just your most apparent needs – requires some introspection and a little bit of time.
Here are eight questions to ask when you need to discover the root cause, courtesy of MindTools.com:
- What do you see happening?
- What are the specific symptoms?
- What proof do you have that the problem exists?
- How long has the problem existed?
- What is the impact of the problem?
- What sequence of events leads to the problem?
- What conditions allow the problem to occur?
- What other problems surround the occurrence of the central problem?
Once you have your answers to these key questions, you can’t stop there. Your vantage point is skewed from your own perspective. You’re going to want to ask someone else to evaluate the problem at hand with the same questions and then compare your answers.
If you and all of the partners at your firm have similar answers, you’ll know you’re on the right track. If you wind up with wildly different ideas, I suggest seeking the advice of someone outside your organization. Fresh eyes can make all the difference in understanding a problem.
I often talk about being ‘too close’ to understand. You’ve probably heard the illustration about a group of people standing by an elephant with blindfolds on, trying to describe what they’re experiencing. Depending on what part of the elephant you’re next to, you’re going to have different observations.
But someone outside of that elephant’s cage can clearly identify the elephant.
The first key to making a lasting change is to make sure you’ve addressed the real problem and are looking for authentic change.
Next time, we’ll address the second major roadblock to creating last change.
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