In 2014, social media is no longer a novelty in financial services. In fact, it’s increasingly becoming a critical component of the marketing strategy at firms that recognize the need to participate in these growing channels, which are quickly becoming the starting point for clients seeking financial advice and services from qualified professionals.
Consider the following:
- 87% of U.S. adults with investment accounts visit social networks regularly. (InvestmentPal).
- More than one-third of U.S. adults on Twitter agree with the statement,“I often recommend financial products and firms that I like to my friends and acquaintances.”
- According to Spectrem Group, 45% of Mass Affluent investors (with $100,000 to $1 million in net worth, not counting primary residence) consider Facebook a source for investment and financial needs; 42% would first go to LinkedIn for this information.
- In 2013, 62% of advisors on LinkedIn signed up at least one new client using the social network (Think Advisor). Of this group, one-third have brought in over $1 million in new assets through LinkedIn.
The benefits of social media are clear. So why are some advisors still not embracing the opportunity?
Objection 1: Social Media Is a Productivity Black Hole
While social media compliance remains a key consideration for all financial services firms, the most frequent concern I hear from advisors relates to time management. In a profession known for its long hours—often exceeding 80 hours per week–many advisors question whether social media is creating yet another liability that consumes their time and attention.
Common advisor concerns include:
- Identifying and creating new content isn’t a core skill of mine
- Finding and crafting responses to relevant conversations is time-consuming and difficult
- Growing a network on social media requires altering my standard practices
- All the research says to post new content daily; I don’t have the time to allocate to social media every day.
Regardless of your affiliation—independent, RIA or wirehouse rep—time pressures are a significant burden.
Solution: New tools available in modern social media platforms offer a social media “support system” to help advisors maximize time investments.
Objection 2: How and Where Do I Begin?
After creating social media profiles on the major networks and connecting with clients, advisors frequently struggle with knowing where to begin their efforts. What are your clients saying? How should I interact with them? What’s the best way to grow my network?
Solution: One approach we’ve seen advisors use successfully to secure millions of dollars in new assets managed is simply to “listen” for life events from their connections on the social networks.
When relevant life events occur, such as a marriage, retirement, new job, college graduation, etc., is precisely the moment when clients and prospects are most likely to be receptive to financial guidance. In fact, research has shown clients are more than 40% more likely to buy from you during these life events.
This isn’t rocket science. Marketing experts have long known that consumers typically make high-consideration purchase decisions based on variables like trust/perception and availability. The right tools can ensure that you don’t miss an important moment to offer assistance.
Objection 3: How Can I Create All This Content?
It’s unlikely that most advisors will be able to regularly produce new, fresh and relevant content on a daily basis, whether that be an informative article, unique POV or blog post.
Solution 1: Many firms are now making quality pre-approved content available to advisor networks through searchable content libraries. This approach both helps advisors stay in front of clients and prospects on social networks and also ensures content being posted adheres to regulatory requirements from the SEC and FINRA.
Solution 2: Be methodical in what you share; think about your audience and what content would be most relevant for them.
If your firm allows, provide your own take or context to a piece of content you share. That will personalize the content to your voice and for your audience. Share your own personal updates in between “business” content; it demonstrates authenticity.
Objection 4: Social Media Is a Time Suck
Marketers like to talk about the ‘always on’ consumer. Web and social media usage data suggests this is at least partially true. However, that doesn’t mean social media needs to be an all-encompassing activity.
Solution: The best social media management platforms allow for pre-scheduling of posts so that advisors can plan ahead for days’, even weeks’, worth of content in 10-15 minutes. In fact, using holistic social media management platforms, it’s also possible to assign account delegates or even subscribe to content ‘campaigns’ created by marketing teams, which can be automated to post during peak consumption times to maximize exposure.
Take the Plunge; You Won’t Regret It
Social media represents incredible upside opportunity for advisors to connect with clients and to manage those relationships. Your clients and prospects are actively using it to make informed decisions about investment opportunities and providers. With recent research highlighting the fact that a majority of Americans believe they won’t have adequate savings to maintain their current lifestyle after retirement, the need for financial education and assistance has never been greater. Social media is a perfect opportunity for advisors to reach those looking for help and to become a trusted source of information and advice.