Think back to January 2020. Would you have believed me if I’d told you that, come March, you’d be working remotely and taking meetings through Zoom? What if I said a global pandemic would cause community lockdowns and completely alter how you manage and market your advisory practice? Just nine months ago, you might have scoffed at such suggestions; then, COVID-19 entered the chat.
In the wake of the pandemic, you’ve faced unprecedented challenges in the way you handle your workflow, operate your practice, and, most importantly, interact with clients. After all, financial advisory is a people-first business. FAs work hard to build authentic relationships — it’s how they gain and retain clients — and there’s something intimate and trust-building about connecting face to face. But with in-person meetings largely out of the question, now is the time to level up your social media game.
Social media provides the perfect platform for building rapport, navigating mutual connections, getting referrals, and educating clients — both current and prospective. This probably isn’t your first time on social media, but there may still be untapped opportunities to build authentic connections. Follow these dos and don’ts to create useful content and drive engagement.
Don’t: Take half measures.
You have to take social media seriously by stepping up your engagement on relevant platforms — “relevant” being the operative word. It’s tempting to jump on every trendy network in order to maximize your reach, but not every single one will work well for your practice, and that’s OK. Where do you have the most followers? Use Google Analytics to identify which social networks are driving the most traffic back to your site. Start focusing your efforts on those sites specifically. You don’t need to be active on every channel — just the ones that matter.
Once you’ve figured out the channels most important to your practice, start engaging. Social media is a two-way communication tool, which means not only posting content, but also commenting on others’ posts, liking updates, and responding quickly to direct messages. It’s important to note that all of these activities are subject to compliance and should be automatically archived.
Do: Keep an ear to the ground.
Savvy FAs know that their clients are more receptive to counseling during major life changes. Social media is an amazing way to stay connected to people: You can see who’s getting married, buying a house, or switching careers. Step up your social listening game and look for appropriate opportunities to connect with prospects. Even something as simple as a job change alert on LinkedIn could be a way to open a conversation.
Don’t: Waste time posting content your audience doesn’t care about.
As an experienced FA, you already have a defined client audience: Perhaps you specialize in niche areas, like college-savings plans, or maybe you serve a particular generation, like Millennials. Reflect that audience in your social media content. Remember: Social isn’t where you create an audience — it’s where you deepen your relationship and build trust by demonstrating expertise with that audience.
Your content needs to reflect the audience that’s most important to you and be catered to the parameters of the channel. Let’s say you primarily serve individuals who are 65 or older, for instance. In that case, Facebook may be a better fit than, say, Instagram because its audience skews a little older. Facebook also doesn’t have a character limit on its posts, so this may be a great place to post longer-form educational content about retirement planning or other relevant topics.
Do: Level up with paid social.
Social media takes natural communication and engagement to new, more personal levels, but no matter how great your content is, you likely need paid advertising to get noticed. Don’t worry. This isn’t a reflection of how well-liked you are — the platforms have evolved to drive more paid advertising. Unlike traditional media, social provides a more advanced avenue for paid advertisements. For example, promoting LinkedIn posts to shared connections, targeting Facebook ads to specific ZIP codes, or retargeting people who’ve visited your website.
As an added bonus, social media advertising is significantly more cost-effective than other mediums. When comparing the cost per thousand impressions, social media sits at $2.50 per thousand impressions, while more traditional methods like TV advertising sit at $28 per thousand impressions.
The options for FAs on social media are endless. The most successful engagement and advertising strategies can be scaled up with even a minimal budget. As an FA, you can use these opportunities to be more proactive in building your business with better social media networking.