I set up my first Myspace account during my junior year of college. I was actually reluctant at first because I was nervous about putting my personal information online. It is ironic, given that my success helping financial advisors has been driven by my persistent efforts to maintain an online presence.
It’s crazy how much social media has exploded into our daily lives. Since 2012, the number of social media users has increased by 79%. From the outside, social media for business purposes is a struggle. Too many compliance headaches. Too much time. Too few clients online. Too little return. Many advisors have shared with me that they don’t know what they don’t know. Therefore, they do nothing. This approach leaves many firms idling, letting the digital world pass them by.
Newsflash! The Internet has disrupted the way we acquire information and interact with the world. It is shaping an entirely new idea of what’s possible in the worlds of marketing, sales and business and in our world of financial services. Responding to the digital demand is no longer an option; it’s a necessity.
Here are 11 reasons every independent financial advisor should have a social media presence.
1 | Build an online presence
The Internet and social media are constantly changing, but they are not going away. While many businesses can use it to find new customers, that is not the case for independent advisors. You can use it to build a stronger online presence and, ideally, to keep in touch with current clients and centers of influence.
2 | Broaden your reach
Both your current and prospective clients will be engaging with your social media content, which will increase your brand exposure to more potential clients. Every like, share or comment that someone leaves will widen the reach of that piece of content – free advertising! Just think: if one person likes, comments or shares a post, it has the potential to reach all of that person’s followers as well – people you may never have come across on your own!
3 | Establish credibility
In a world full of bogus businesses, you have to set yourself apart and establish your credibility. Provide content daily to your audience that adds value to their lives. Offer free content, such as market updates, inspirational messages, financial tips, articles, breaking news or Q&A sessions, which you could actually charge for, but give for free. Offering free content of value proves that you are credible and will also build the trust potential clients have in you and your business.
4 | Improve SEO
You can link your social media profiles to your official website to further verify your brand identity and boost your search engine optimization (SEO) score. The ultimate goal is to drive traffic to your website and convert the right leads into new clients.
5 | Be budget friendly
Traditional marketing methods involving drip-mail campaigns and advertising are expensive. Social media is free to use, other than the advertising that you might do. It makes sense to utilize such a powerful tool when it is free!
6 | Engage with the masses
Think about it for a moment. Using social media is an instant way to engage with a very large client base. Research indicates that people are spending less time reading newspapers, watching television and listening to the radio. Time and attention is increasingly being diverted to social media. If we want to keep in touch with people, we need to adapt our traditional marketing approach to accommodate for this shift. Social media marketing has revolutionized the way we can engage others.
7 | Improve brand management
Another great advantage of using social media for marketing is that you are totally in control. Using the press and other media usually means working with other people’s deadlines and working within their rules. There are often restrictions on the messages you can communicate, and you may have to compete for the best slots. Financial advisors that use social media are their own masters.
8 | Prove quick access
Most people now have access to the Internet wherever they are thanks to smartphones. Any communications that you send will be seen within seconds. Twitter is a great example of this instant communication. If something happened in the market and you wanted to get that information out to your clients, social media would be a great way to communicate that information instantly.
9 | Offer video
Video isn’t just for sharing funny videos and clips with friends. The fact that people can comment on videos means it’s a great tool for engaging clients and prospects. You don’t need fancy video equipment to make it work. Smartphones can be used to make video clips, or you can live stream.
10 | DIY or outsource easily
Using social media is actually very easy, but if you don’t have the time, skills or desire to do this, it’s easy to outsource as well. The key to success is having a clear plan and strategy. You also need to think about how frequently you want to communicate with your audience. There is a sensitive balance between annoying viewers with too many messages and not keeping in touch regularly enough.
11 | Get instant feedback
Another great advantage of social media is the fact that communication can go both ways. Not only are you giving your clients, prospects and centers of influence information, you can get feedback from them and gather their opinions as well. For example, if you are thinking about doing a webinar, you can set up a poll and gather the responses. Want to know what your clients are really interested in learning about? Then ask them. The audience you are speaking to can help you determine what works best for them; they can choose between two venues, a weeknight or weekend, a video or a handout, etc. The possibilities are endless.
If you are willing to ask the questions, you have to listen to the answers. Communicating through social media will be pointless if you are not willing to adjust your marketing strategy based on the feedback you receive.
You don’t have to be on every social network, but you do have to do an awesome job on the ones you choose. When financial advisors utilize a social media platform, it’s only one tool in the marketing toolbox, but it all affects your overall marketing strategy and marketing efforts.
Ready to move forward? As always, contact me if I can provide any assistance with your social media presence.
Do you currently use social media for your business? I’d love to hear what your favorite social media tactic is for spreading the word about your business.