Social media isn’t a standalone solution for all things business development. The industry’s top acquirers still rely heavily on essentials like generating referrals, prospecting in their communities, and finding effective referral alliances. They do so because that’s how their affluent prospects make decisions. When looking for a financial advisor, they either look to their natural network or they ask for recommendations.
So why social media? First, social works to amplify the more traditional strategies, helping you deepen client relationships and be seen as a thought-leader in the community. This primes the pump for retention, referral flows, and your ability to socially prospect.
We think the biggest case is longer-term, building an online presence now that helps you thrive in a more digital future. In 2020, more investors under 45 years old (with $500,000 investable) started their search online than by asking for recommendations. This trend is real and it’s happening fast.
We get so many questions about “why social” that we thought it might help to lay out our case in full detail. We hope the following list inspires you to go big with social:
- Build Top of Mind Awareness
When someone in your area thinks “financial advisor,” who comes to mind? If it’s not you right now, it’s fixable, but it takes some discipline. You’re building awareness one post at a time, over time. You’re adding value by simply showing up in their newsfeeds. Thankfully, impressions come infinitely cheaper now than with newspapers, billboards, commercials. You can be in the palm of your prospects’ hands, every day if you want, without breaking the bank.
- Showcase Thought Leadership
Many financial advisors make similar claims… high-quality service, holistic financial planning, and the like. We think it’s smart to showcase your professionalism, your process, and your expertise through a regular stream of articles and videos. Creating custom content like this takes effort, but in time, people begin to see you as an expert, even if they’ve never met you.
- Provide Social Proof
The importance of word-of-mouth remains, but how it’s being delivered is beginning to change. With consumers and brands interacting more and more online, and with much of that in public view, we now see the brands and companies our friends prefer, without needing to directly ask them. Gathering followers and connections isn’t for vanity’s sake, it’s for increasing your exposure to new audiences. The more followers you have, the more interaction you receive, the more it signals to others that you’re a reputable brand.
- Target Friends of Clients
Your clients can become a bigger part of your marketing efforts by simply following your page. At a minimum, when they follow your page, others in their network may notice. The bigger opportunity is that when a client follows your page, you gain the ability to advertise to their friends. Their friends not only see your ad, they see it with a prominent mention that “(client name) likes (advisor page name).” This is as close as you can get to an endorsement while staying on the right side of the rules.
- Increase Website Traffic
Even the best websites get little traffic without the help of social media. It would take someone looking you up specifically or you being highly-ranked in search engines. In an engagement campaign, you often provide an incentive like an article or whitepaper for them to click out of the social network and into your site. You’re banking that even though they arrive at your site to read an article, they may stick around and learn more about your process and team.
- Retarget Your Prospects
When a potential client lands on your website they don’t tend to stick around long. This is when retargeting kicks in. Retargeting enables you to appear in their Facebook or LinkedIn feeds for up to 180 days, encouraging them to come back, learn more, and take action. This linkage between your site and these networks comes from the Facebook Pixel or LinkedIn Insights Tag. These are simple bits of code placed on your website that enable you to create an audience on Facebook and LinkedIn of those who’ve visited your website.
- Deepen Client Connections
There are only so many times you can see or talk to a client during the year. Social networks give you the ability to see what’s happening in real-time. You’re learning their hobbies, their friends, their sense of humor, and other little things you’d never pick up in a review meeting. Equally as important, if you actively post, they’re seeing what’s happening in your life as well. Don’t be afraid to connect with clients on Facebook or Instagram. Our research has shown that clients who go beyond business with their advisor tend to send more referrals.
- Build Your Database
As you build a database of contacts through social media conversion campaigns, you become less reliant on the networks themselves. It’s called going from “rented space” to “owned space.” With the emails you’ve gathered, you now have the ability to nurture your contacts over time. People change advisors when there’s a need, not simply because they saw a compelling offer online. Be there when they need you through ongoing email communication.
- Uncover Perfect-Timing Leads
Even though we encourage the “long game” with social media, when you’re putting your message in front of thousands of people, you’ll naturally run into people in the market for a financial advisor. Perhaps their advisor is retiring, they are new to the area, or some other factor is at play. These are the fun and rewarding times when social leads to some immediate business. The more budget you put behind your advertising, the more often you run into these “perfect timing” situations.
- Attract New Talent
It’s been our experience that most newer financial advisors see value in a modern website and social presence. For that reason, it’s hard to recruit them to an old-school or non-existent brand. When someone looks at your profiles, do they see cutting-edge and current or a little outdated? Not to mention, you can leverage social to find new talent, as financial advisors are easily targeted on social channels. Are you looking for wirehouse advisors? Independents? They’re targetable in general, and even by tenure.
- Make Positive First Impressions
First impressions in real-life include things like clothing, presence, and people skills. First impressions online include things like your headshot, bios, and social feeds. Both are important yet the latter is often neglected. Our data shows that 95% of your prospects will look you up online prior to engaging your services. Let’s be sure what they see reflects the high-level professionalism your brand embodies.
- Boost Your Rankings in Search Engines
First of all, it’s not all about your website’s placement in Google. Your social profiles show up in search results as well. When someone searches for your name and city, you want that page to be filled with positive impressions. Secondly, social is a great way to get site traffic, which directly impacts your website’s search rankings. Last but not least, when the contact information matches across your website and social channels, Google sees credibility and raises you in the local search portion of their site.
Those are a lot of benefits, but they don’t happen all at once. Social media isn’t a one-off project. It takes constant evolution to stay on top of the trends and opportunities that can help your business thrive in our increasingly digital world. Now is the time to act!