Let’s face it—none of us have the time in a day to do everything we want to do.
So we have to make choices about how we spend our time.
Financial Advisors already don’t have a lot of time to put into marketing their businesses, so every decision you make about where to spend that time is critical.
And when it comes to social media platforms, a lot of financial advisors feel like they have to be everywhere all the time, or they’ll miss out. It’s classic FOMO.
The truth, of course, is that FOMO is more of an emotional fear than a reality. You don’t need to be everywhere at once.
But I do think you need to be somewhere, consistently.
So if you’re trying to figure out a starting place for your social media strategy, I recommend starting in one place.
Pick a single social media platform to prioritize and put most of your time there. You can decide to have secondary networks, and add over time, but dividing your attention too much often leads to frustration and failure.
In contrast, a narrow focus can help you more easily gain traction, see trends, and make better decisions.
It’s really not all that much different from a situation where you might recommend a client consolidate some of their retirement accounts to simplify their financial plan.
In this article, we’re going to look at how to decide where to spend your time online.
Social Media Platform Audience Demographics
A big part of deciding where to spend your limited time and hard-earned advertising dollars needs to go toward understanding where your ideal clients spend their time.
On a basic level, knowing demographics information about each social media platform can inform that decision.
So, let’s look at the demographics for each platform.
Facebook is more popular among women than men, and its user base has begun to skew older as its age has increased and younger consumers have drifted to other newer networks.
Still, Facebook gets the most return traffic of all the networks with 51% of its user base logging in multiple times per day.
Among age groups, the breakdown looks like this (I paired these down to users most relevant for financial advisors):
79% of 30–49 year olds
68% of 50–64 year olds
46% of 65+ year olds
In terms of income, about three-fourths of the US population that makes over $75,000 a year are also Facebook users.
Twitter has about 33 million daily active users in the United States, and its users are mostly based in cities as opposed to rural or suburban areas.
As for age ranges? You’re not going to find many retirees. Only about 7% of its U.S. users are over 65 years old.
Politically speaking, the average Twitter user is more likely to be a Democrat and less likely to be a Republican.
As almost an entirely visual platform, Instagram offers a valuable opportunity for creative-minded advisors to engage in a much different way with clients and prospects.
If your firm is focused on providing financial literacy and engaging younger generations, maybe with some subscription-based services or robo-advisor offerings, then Instagram can be a good place to reach them early.
It’s most popular with 18-24 year olds (75% use it) and then the popularity goes down from there as each age group goes up.
A little over 20% of 30-49 year olds use it, and about 8% of 50-64 year olds are on the network.
LinkedIn has a lot of users, but not many who actively share content.
Of the 167 million user accounts in the U.S., about 3 million share content once a week. Don’t be bummed out by that, though; see it as an opportunity for you to jump to the top of your network’s timeline.
If you’re looking to talk to millionaires, LinkedIn is a decent place to find them. About 41% of millionaires are also LinkedIn users.
Here’s a quick age breakdown:
34% of 36-45 years old
37% of 46-55 years old
29% of 56+ years old
From that little snapshot, connecting with mid-career professionals looks like a great opportunity on this network.
Is the United States going to ban TikTok? Maybe. Teenagers will find a way around it if they do, though.
I like TikTok and I think it has a better future than Snapchat (which most marketers and financial advisors similarly ignored as just an app for kids). One reason is that it’s a more open platform than Snapchat, and its advertising offering looks enticing.
As far as demographics, TikTok is huge. It’s the most downloaded app of 2020 and has 30 million monthly active users in the United States already.
Of those, though, around 69% are under 24 years old.
If you’re looking for investable assets, about 15% of the user base is 35 or older.
That percentage doesn’t seem like much but if we translate it into real users, that’s about 4.5 million users. That’s not a small number.
Don’t sleep on YouTube.
YouTube is the most-used platform out of all these listed. Over 70% of adults in the U.S. say they use it—topping even Facebook.
If you have video on your mind, you need a YouTube channel (for many reasons). There’s so much to say about this one that it will be tackled in an entirely different article.
The Best Content for Each Platform
Ok so we’ve got the audience stats on lockdown.
Not that you know where people are, you should have an idea of which platform to put your attention.
But what do you post on each platform? They each have a different purpose and the content that does best on each has its own vibe and style.
We’re going to keep this section super light and scannable.
Thoughts about current events
Twitter seems like the best place for sarcastic personalities. If a big part of how you like to present yourself is through humor, Twitter is a great network for that personality type. It’s also great for peer connections.
Mundane thoughts disguised as world-shaking opinions
As a visual network, everything on Instagram should be about images and videos. Keep in mind, though, video doesn’t automatically mean engaging. You still have to put in the work to be interesting.
Stories (up to 25% of people will swipe up on links in branded Stories)
Visuals with text overlay
The general advice about LinkedIn is to keep it professional, but I’m seeing a massive uptake in people sharing personal stories...that they relate back to business somehow.
The moral of the story is that people love...story. Post about your business, but show the whole self.
Professional (but heartfelt) updates
Opinions about what’s happening in your industry
I think there’s a huge opportunity in TikTok for advisors with style to offer education and literacy to the users here. The creativity has to do up a few levels, though. You can’t upload a video of yourself talking for 60 seconds and expect to get much traction.
So learn a TikTok dance and put some text of what you want to say over it when you hit the woah.
Duets (side by side video commenting or engaging with someone else’s post)
Did you know YouTube is the second most popular search engine, right behind (check notes) Google?
Yeah, if you want to be found online, you want a YouTube channel. So brush those teeth, comb your hair, and get your smile on.
All video types are acceptable on YouTube, but keep it interesting (you can’t just educate, you also have to entertain).
The algorithm looks at how long people watch the total video. A 60-second video watched 100% of the way through will rank higher than a longer video that only gets watched for a minute or two.
Did you notice how I put “video” in every single category? All the social algorithms love video, even when they are primarily text-based by default.
5 Questions to Ask Yourself When Choosing a Primary Social Media Platform
You’ve got the info you need.
Now it’s time to choose.
Ask yourself these 5 questions to help guide your decision for which network should become your primary social platform.
Where does my target audience spend their time?
Who do you want to talk to? Mid-career professionals, retirees, or up-and-coming individuals with high upside down the line?
What are my competitors doing?
It can be hard for advisory firms to pick a “competitor” but look up the firms around you. Which networks do they use most? Does it look like they engage in conversation, pick up followers, and get results? Next, look up the top advisors on social and borrow from their strategies.
What are my goals?
Do you want more followers? Do you want to enhance your presence so you can have more validity when you apply for speaking slots at conferences? Maybe you want to develop peer relationships and don’t care about leads through social.
Do my skills match the platform?
If you hate creating and producing video, do you want to make a video-first platform your primary? Probably not. Likewise, if it makes you nauseous to think that people might reply to your serious tweet with only a gif, Twitter may not be your match either.
Do I personally enjoy using this platform?
This is the biggie. When you love doing something, you’re more likely to stick with it. Of course you should be on Facebook—but if you personally hate being on Facebook, you probably won’t stick with it. So look at which platform you enjoy using personally. It will make a big difference in your ability to stick with a strategy and gain traction.
Deciding where to spend your time online isn’t a one-time decision.
If you’re just starting out with creating your personal brand, or building your company brand, it’s a good time to think about this question.
But if you’ve got social accounts all over the place and you’re feeling worn down by keeping up with them all, it’s also a good time to review where you focus your attention.
If you’re on Twitter, I’m active there and I’d love to hear your thoughts. Click here to follow me.