Networking is everything for financial advisors. Some may remember paging through telephone books or knocking on doors to start building a practice from the ground up. Today, however, social media has emerged as an effective way for financial advisors to create relationships and build a business.
When used correctly, social can be the smartest, most useful tool in any advisor’s networking tool kit. If you’re not on social media yet, it’s time to catch up. And even if you’re already connecting with prospective clients online, these four tactics can help you expand your network.
1. Define your ideal audience.
Successful advisors know their unique competitive advantage and use it to define their practice and specialties. Now, think about the particular type of client who can benefit most from what you have to offer.
Once you’ve defined the persona you’re best suited to serve, use search functions on social media to narrow down your prospecting. For example, if you’re interested in helping young adults figure out their finances, you might use LinkedIn to identify recent college graduates or people who’ve been in the workforce for only a few years. Your outreach strategy should be created with that audience in mind.
2. Search for shared social connections.
Unlike traditional networking, social media makes it possible to skip past cold outreach and jump straight to warmer leads. Social media can help you easily identify people with whom you have at least a second-degree connection. By reaching out to your friends’ friends to connect, you start off the relationship from a shared connection point, which can make it easier to establish trust.
3. Personalize your messaging.
Sharing the standard language over and over again about your products or services on social media isn’t likely to catch anyone’s attention, and it certainly isn’t fuel for relationship-building. If you want to foster connections with your network, you need to personalize your messaging to speak right to your audience.
Do your research by staying up to date on your connections’ social profiles, and use the information you find to personalize your messages. For example, if you see people in your network post about looking for a new home, you will know they might benefit from more financial guidance on mortgages and homebuying. Reach out with helpful info and encouragement.
4. Engage without an agenda.
When you’re aiming to expand your network and engage with more prospects, be genuine in your interactions. When you first connect with someone, the goal shouldn’t be to pitch products or services. The goal should simply be to build a real relationship. To do that, you must first engage without any agenda. Like and share your connections’ posts, congratulate them on milestones, and add value to the conversation whenever possible.
Eventually, your connections will need the services of a financial advisor. If you’ve interacted with them on social and displayed legitimate interest, you’ve already established a layer of trust. You’ve become a familiar face, so they’re likely to turn to you for help. Until then, the only goal should be to build strong, trusting connections with your network.
Social media is a great networking tool, but it’s only a tool. Its real value depends on how you use it. When you engage with genuine interest, bring a human perspective to your messaging, leverage shared connections, and understand your target audience, you’ll grow your social reach and continue to build a stronger network.