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.
Advisors Will Be Extinct in 5 Years Unless…
I’ve had financial advisors for more than 40 years. Not once in those years have I called my advisor to find out what stock/funds I should buy or sell. But I have called to find out where I should get my first mortgage, when to sell my house, or how much income I could get in retirement.
In short -- and I think I’m pretty typical – I was looking for financial advice, as it relates to my life.
Here’s the disconnect, what most advisors do is simply manage their clients’ assets. They determine what to buy, and what to sell, they think about risk management, about growing their practice by finding new clients and about getting paid.
Historically that has been the business model. But as more women take control over financial assets, they, like me, will be looking for a different experience. And unless the financial community is willing to change ….. advisors, as they are today will be extinct in five years.
Advisors who want to survive will have to do a lot more than just manage money – they will have to provide genuine “advice”. That means doing what’s right for the client, not pushing product and pretending it’s advice.
Women especially, but all investors generally, are becoming more and more cynical. They says, “If I want advice about reducing my debt, that’s what I want and not ‘here’s more debt’ because that’s what my advisor gets paid for! And if saving taxes is what I want then saving taxes should take precedent over selling me a product.”
You may be thinking that spending your time providing advice isn’t lucrative but the reality is that in the long run – it pays off in spades. The advisors who take the time to build real relationships with clients, who provide advice as it relates to their clients’ lives, even when there is no immediate financial benefit to themselves, those who don’t simply push product – are the ones who over time have the most successful practices.
Generally women understand and value service, but they will say, “If I’m paying, I want to know what I’m paying for: Is it for returns? Is it for advice? Is it for administration? I want to know. Then I can make up my mind what’s worth it and what isn’t.”
Investing is becoming a commoditized business and technology is replacing research that no one else can find. Today the average advisor is hard pressed to consistently beat the markets, and with women emerging as the client of the future, unless they start providing real advice, their jobs will likely be extinct in five years.
- 1 of 1143