Social Media 101 for Financial Advisors
Social media is quickly becoming one of the most effective and important tools for advisor-investor communication. When used correctly, social media creates a refreshing connection between you and your clients. It gives you a platform to have real conversations, share ideas, and get to know your audience, naturally.
But with that comes increased risk. We’ve all seen the repercussions of a digital hiccup, where a tasteless post is placed in the spotlight of followers, their networks, industry bloggers, and even the media.
While a bad conversation may ruin your relationship with one client. A bad social media post has the potential to run you out of business. Social media posts live forever. Even when deleted, a simple screen shot can immortalize the post beyond your control.
We’ve created a quick 5-tip guide to help you avoid costly missteps while maximizing the unique growth opportunities made available through social media.
Remember that every post is a reflection of your brand
The most preventable digital misstep is forgetting that for professionals with personal brands – advisors, doctors, entrepreneurs, etc. – every social media post is work related.
Advisors are in a unique position. You may work for a firm, but clients are likely buying you. Your strategy, service, and expertise. Because of that, you need to consider every digital communication a piece of your brand story.
Thinking about sharing your political beliefs? Ensure it resonates with your brand story. Are you posting an image of your nightlife? Think about how your core audience will react.
Always post with a purpose
In the same vein as being thoughtful about the connection between personal posts and your brand, it’s important to be intentional with every post. Posting for the sake of filling your feed is a short-term strategy. Will you garner more attention at first? Maybe. But without purpose, you will lose attention over time.
Create more useful social media posts by asking yourself three questions:
- Who is my audience?
- What am I trying to communicate?
- Why should they care?
This simple exercise can help clarify if a post is worthwhile, and if it’s positioned to impact your audience positively.
Try to give more than you take
At risk of sounding like a kindergarten teacher, it’s important to give more than you take on social media. In practical terms, that means provide value more than you promote your firm.
Think about the social media groups/pages you follow? Why do you like them? It’s likely not because they talk about themselves all the time. Social media is first and foremost a form of entertainment. We enjoy looking at our friend’s posts, watching funny videos, or learning something new through a short tutorial. We aren’t on social media to be bombarded by advertisements.
Keep that in mind when crafting your social posts. Are you providing value to your audience? Would they miss you if you were gone? Do some digging and research your followers (or target followers). Find out what they like, share, comment on. Try to understand their values and align your brand to those values through your postings.
It’s no surprise that social media is designed to facilitate two-way conversation. That’s why it’s social media, not private media. Engaging with your audience is key to building a strong social presence. Also, most social media channel algorithms place a heavy weight on comments in determining whether to show a post in someone’s feed.
Establish a system to help promote responsiveness – whether for your brand or your personal account. When people post a comment, they expect a quick reply. Try and accommodate that expectation consistently. When replying, try to keep your brand voice in mind. Direct communication to a follower receives even more scrutiny than a general post. Be careful to handle each one with tact and respect.
Read your message out loud before posting
Sage advice for any type of written communication, reading your posts out loud is an easy way to avoid sounding unnatural. Humans are great at talking, but when it comes to putting the same thoughts down on a page (or screen) we tend to over-engineer our language.
Does your post roll off the tongue? Is it something that you might say in person? If not, consider reworking.
Save this post, and refer back to it as you engage with current and potential clients digitally. Social media is a great opportunity for financial advisors. Due to regulatory restrictions, our industry is lagging in the digital space. However, advisor accessibility through social media is quickly becoming the norm. Those that take the time to develop a valuable social presence are positioned to reap the benefits of increased reach and relevance with potential and current investors.