Being active on social media is no longer a choice. These days, all leading brands (yes, even, financial brands) are social, digital and inclusive. If you’re not on social media, you run the risk of being seen as out of touch…Or out of business!
Savvy use of social media can help you to keep existing customers and gain new ones. Here are ten foolproof social media tips for financial advisors.
1. Have a social media policy
Chances are your staff are all active on social media…And it only takes one ill-advised tweet to drag your company’s reputation through the mud. A social media policy assists in guiding employees to enhance your brand. Remember that an employee’s social media activity can’t be questioned if there’s nothing to measure it by.
2. Invest in a professional profile pic
Your profile photo is arguably the most important element of your social media profile. The only thing worse than not having a profile pic (photo-less profiles are largely ignored) is using an unprofessional shot of you in the pub or around the braai.
3. Be yourself
Your activity on social media is a reflection of who you are. So, show some personality, make sincere connections and try to learn from your network. Engage, build rapport, and be a thought leader. And always stay true to yourself.
At the same time, remember that FAIS states that you’ve always got to behave in a manner that shows you take managing your clients’ money seriously. Photos from your best mate’s toga party are not appropriate. If in any doubt, don’t post…especially if your judgement is clouded for any reason. (Just look how much trouble Elon Musk has got himself into.)
4. Show don’t tell
People respond far more strongly to images than they do to words. Sight is one of the first senses that we develop as babies and even in adulthood, human beings process images 60 thousand times faster than text! So, be sure to use attractive photos, infographics and especially video in your posts.
5. Horses for courses
To communicate effectively, you have to understand that each social network has its own distinct language and identity. Posting party and travel images on LinkedIn, for example, could do your reputation a lot of damage. Use LinkedIn to improve your professional network, Facebook to nurture relationships and Twitter to expand your knowledge and position yourself as a thought leader.
6. Ditch the pitch
Social media is about socialising, not advertising. Instead of constantly reminding people of what you can do for them, focus on creating thought-provoking content that will add value to their lives. Incessant pitching isn’t just irritating; it may violate industry rules regarding suitable timing of marketing communication.
7. Never give Advice
FAIS makes it very clear that social media is never the place for advice. There is simply no way that you can have proper insight into a person’s full set of financial circumstances after sending a few tweets back and forth. What’s more, any advice you post could be shared, shared and shared again. Even endorsing someone else’s advice could be seen as giving advice. The rules are strict but easy to understand.
8. Avoid controversial topics
It’s best to avoid politics, religion, and any other controversial matters as these may offend clients with different viewpoints. You can even be held liable for sharing and/or liking a controversial comment.
9. Keep records
FAIS requires that you keep detailed and readily accessible records of all communications going back at least five years. This includes social media. Luckily, all social media platforms now make it easy to access and download your data.
10. Monitor your performance
It’s essential to monitor your social performance so that you can continue to improve. You can use the Analytics function on the various platforms, or you can use third-party software that not only gives you stats on your performance but allows you to manage and schedule upcoming posts. Analytics give valuable insights on the best times to post, the demographics of your audience, the reach of your posts, and the number of website referrals they garner.
The long and the short
Used wisely, social media marketing is a godsend for all advisors, at any stage of their business journey. If you’re concerned that you may not be able to pull it off on your own, get professional help.Related: 5 Ways to Leverage the Power of Neuroscience in Your Financial Marketing