Advisors who see social media as a gimmick or a burden they’d rather not be saddled with should reconsider its importance to their marketing plan.
There are two main goals for a social media marketing strategy, according to Jill Jacques, vice president of wealth management and retirement lead at North Highland, a global consulting firm.
“One is around deepening the client relationship and eventually share of wallet, starting with the core clients that you have and want to continue to build those relationships,” she told ThinkAdvisor on Tuesday. The second goal is client acquisition: “targeting the types of people you want to replicate in your book. Social media is a flexible way to both deepen client relationships as well as target the right kinds of clients for their ideal client profile.”
For the firm as a whole, there is a third goal, Jacques said: “That is around experienced advisor recruiting and targeting the right kind of advisor to come into the firm.”
Compliance, obviously, is a major issue for advisors who use social media in their marketing plans: FINRA announced in June that it was conducting “spot checks” on firms to make sure they were complying with social media regulations.
Jacques said that the first challenge for advisors adopting social media was “figuring out what can’t be done, how tailored it can be to pull out their strengths and personalities online. Firms are working right now with different vendors on how to systematize the compliance piece of it: archive and retain the social media content. For advisors, that can create more work if the compliance processes aren’t consolidated.
“A second challenge would be to figure out what they want their brand to be online and understanding that they need a through line and a consistent message, no matter what type of social media they’re using, so it doesn’t detract from their practice but enhances it.”
She acknowledged that compliance scares a lot of advisors away from using social media at first. “They think that compliance will be so unwieldy and overwhelming, but if you can get a baseline through compliance, most compliance departments know that social media is a necessity, especially around websites and LinkedIn.” Jacques said that many compliance departments are working more with advisors “to figure out a good solution, so you can get a template of some sort to get started. Get a baseline presence on social media, and then evolve to the more interactive social media that needs to be more of a daily or weekly update.”
Jacques called LinkedIn the “front-runner” in social media for firms and individual advisors. “It does present itself as the professional social media outlet,” she said. “That has been taking off more and more, to the extent that firms will allow FAs to use LinkedIn. There are plans in place across the industry for how to create a surround sound marketing message with Facebook and Twitter, but going back to what your brand and your messaging is, FAs are trying to figure out the types of folks they will attract on Facebook and Twitter, what kind of information they should be putting out there.“