Should Financial Advisers Use Social Media?
As a financial adviser, I’m sure you feel the pressure to start promoting your business or yourself on social media.
Social media is everywhere and it seems like everybody’s doing it. It seems inevitable that every business will be on social media over the next few years, but I’m sure you have many questions like:
- Do I really need to use social media as a financial adviser?
- Is it a good use of my time?
- How much time should I spend on social media each day?
- And the most important question of all, “Is it even possible for a financial planner to win new clients from social media?”
And that last question is the most crucial, because if a marketing strategy is just for vanity, you are happy with likes, comments, shares and follows, then “hell yes” jump on the bandwagon. But if you want to see an ROI in net new clients, then the answer is much more complex.
So what is the answer? Well, the answer is…it’s complicated. So let me spend the next few minutes explaining, why you should be using social media, the strategies that work and how you should approach the subject as a financial adviser.
Yes They Should!
The unequivocal answer is a big “YES”! But you must understand that social media is just one piece of a much bigger marketing puzzle. Alone, it’s not the golden bullet you’re probably looking for to grow your business. You need to understand it is important, but not waste too much time as it has a diminishing return.
Here are the two biggest reasons to use social media.
Reason #1: Build Authority
As a financial adviser, you need to be credibility in the minds of your prospects so they trust you with their money. Building authority is a time-consuming process and one that isn’t easily mastered.
The best way to build authority on a subject is to blog about it. If a prospect finds your blog post, reads it and it’s good they will see you as a trusted advisor.
So how do you entice someone to read your blog post? There are many ways including:
- Emailing it to your newsletter list
- Optimising your website for SEO so Google can find your post and present it on the first page of its search results page
- Pay for Ad platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Google and Twitter to show your post to their users through paid advertising
- Promote your content through social media
Posting your new blog post to all your social media platforms is a great way to get it out to your audience and build authority. If you can be consistent and write one good blog post every week or two, social media can be effective over the long term (say 6-12 months). Social media is a long play, so it won’t deliver new leads immediately. It takes time.
Reason #2: Nurture Prospects
Many of your prospects won’t be ready to work with you the moment you make contact. Most will be at different phases of the buyer’s journey. With some encouragement, many will eventually become clients.
Figure: The Buyers Journey
So how do you encourage them to take the next step? One way is to post content on social media which moves them along the journey. Some of the best types of content are ebooks, videos, webinar and blog posts.
Some of the most effective topics you can create content around are the FAQs and sales questions your prospects ask you on the way to becoming a client.
I’m sure you get the same standard questions in your sales meetings with your prospects. Document these questions and answers in the form of a video, ebook or blog post and then share it on social media.
Nurturing prospects is important as it takes 7-9 contact points with a prospect before they pick up the phone to call you. That’s right, studies have shown that prospects will have to make 7-9 touch points with your brand before they are motivated enough to call. These touch points can include seeing an ad on Facebook, receiving an email, visiting your website or receiving a flyer in the mail.
Social media is potentially one of those touch points. So use it to move prospects along the buyer’s journey who are not ready to take the next step. Stay on top of mind by sharing your content with them on social media
You may need to lower your expectation. Don’t expect to make sales from posting to social media. Instead expect to just build authority and nurture your prospects. Allocate a reasonable amount of time to do so a few times a week and you will see value in a 6-12 month period.
What should you share on Social Media?
When using social media to grow your business, you don’t want to share what you had for lunch or your latest cat videos.
FIGURE: Don’t share these types of videos on your financial planning social media profiles
You want to share content that is useful to your clients. Content that educates, inspires and moves them along the sales funnel.
A good rule of thumb is for every 5 pieces of content you share from someone else you should share one of your own. There are two main reasons for doing this:
- There is only so much high-value content you can create, so to keep your channel highly relevant, you need to supplement it with someone else’s content
- You don’t want to continually sell on social media because people will stop following you. You want it to be a place they can discover content they want. Do this and your authority will grow
The best types of content to share on social media are:
- Images – Inspiring, funny, breathtaking (as long as it has something to do with your subject)
- Blog posts
- Inspiring quotes
- Anything exciting that is happening at your office
- Live events – leading up to the event and posts from the live event
How Often Should You Share Content?
As a financial adviser, it’s ideal if you can update your profiles at least once a day or every two days.
The timing depends on a combination of things:
- How important social media is to your business
- How many resources you have available to update social media
- Can you create and find great content to share
Consistency is most important when it comes to social media. It’s better to be consistent than hot and cold. If a prospect follows you on social media they will lose interest if you aren’t consistent. Also, the social media platforms favour profiles that post content reliably.
Which Platforms Should Financial Advisers Use?
There are many platforms you can join. Some big, some small and everything in between. You need to choose carefully because your time is limited. Updating a platform that is never going to give you an ROI is a waste of time, so don’t do it. Below is a list of the main platforms everyone is using.
Facebook is a platform people use to connect with friends, be entertained and fill in time when they’re waiting at a bus stop, standing in a line or bored at work.
It is the #1 platform I recommend financial advisors use. If you were to only choose one, I would recommend choosing Facebook.
Facebook is so important to financial planners because:
- The sheer number of users. There are over 1.7 billion people on the platform and over 14 million Australians who spend between 20-40 minutes a day using the service
- It’s paid advertising platform is also the best on the planet. It’s where you’ll be able to generate the best and most leads on a consistent basis at a very affordable price
- Facebooks target capabilities allows you to pinpoint your perfect prospect and only show your ads to those people
The more people you can convince to “Like” your page, the more reach you will have to promote your content.
All types of content can be shared on Facebook.
LinkedIn is a platform people use to connect with business people, form relationships, partnerships and network with other professionals.
LinkedIn attracts a business audience and it gives you a great ability to connect with professionals. Unfortunately connecting with them in a targeted way is not as easy as Facebook. Your posts can’t be shown to people who fit a specific profile.
You can post the same content from your Facebook account on LinkedIn.
I would say it’s important for you to repost your content to LinkedIn so you’re on the platform, but don’t rely on it for leads at this stage.
There is another way of using LinkedIn to generate leads. This strategy uses Cold Email, but the strategy is complex, time-consuming, not for everyone and out of the scope of this blog post. I will write about it at a later date.
Twitter is a platform most people use to get the latest news on topics they are interested in. They also use it to connect with celebrities and influencers.
Twitter is a genuine option for you to build your authority as an expert in your field. You should be reposting all your content from Facebook on Twitter.
Gathering “Followers” on Twitter is a good way to extend your reach, but the platform is not as well suited to financial planners as Facebook.
I think you need to be on Twitter, just don’t expect big things from it yet. Remember in the future things will change possibly for the better and if you already have a following then you can exploit those opportunities quicker.
Instagram is a platform people use because of the vibrant images. It is easy to turn a dull image into a magazine quality image with a few swipes of your thumb on your iPhone. This functionality has seen Instagram skyrocket into the stratosphere and purchased by Facebook a few years ago for $1 Billion.
FIGURE: The difference filters on Instagram makes to the look and feel of an average photo
Instagram doesn’t currently work for financial advisors. I feel strongly that in the future it will be a platform that will be strong, but no one has made it work to date.
Unlike Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, Instagram posts are focused on an image. So to be effective you need to have a stunning image with each post.
In essence, you will need to create special posts just for Instagram to be effective and because it currently isn’t working for financial planners, I would advise staying off the platform unless you have the time to focus on it.
YouTube is not strictly a social media site, it is more of a video/entertainment platform, but I have included it here because it’s important to build a following on YouTube today.
You should post short videos with tips, industry updates or quick insights on a regular basis and share them on the other social media platforms.
You want to attract followers on YouTube so you can take advantage of the Ad Platform. At the moment the YouTube Ad platform is hot. It’s inexpensive, very targeted, powerful and best of all not many people are using it.
YouTube is the second biggest search engine on the planet behind Google and many people get much of their daily entertainment from it.
So get your presence and “Subscribers” kickstarted on YouTube and start taking advantage of this awesome advertising platform.
The Best Tools To Save Time?
Buffer is the best time-saving app to use for social media. Buffer helps you in the following ways:
- You can post one piece of content to multiple sites simultaneously
- Buffer will post the content to each site at the time of day that will get the most eyeballs
- Buffer will track all your clicks and shares and provide you with insightful analytics you can use to measure and test your social media campaigns
- Buffer will allow you to schedule a new post from a web page so you can share content while browsing the web
Figure: Buffer allows you to share to multiple social media accounts simultaneously
Canva allows you to create beautiful images for your blog posts and social media updates for all platforms with an easy to use editor.
It provides preconfigured designs so all you to do it add images and text to make it your own. These changes can be made without any design or technical skills.
Figure: Canva allows you to create images easily
Canva is not only a time saver but will make your brand look awesome!
Royalty Free Image
80% of the reason people will click on a post on Facebook is because of the image. Images are powerful in social media and without excellent images you will struggle.
In the past finding, stunning images that were legal to use and affordable was very hard and the choices were poor.
Today all of that has changed and you can now get royalty free images which are beautiful for free. Some of the best sites I use are:
Social media should be an import piece of your marketing puzzle, but it can’t be your top priority and must never take up a large part of your daily focus. It’s a long-term strategy that is used to promote content and build authority over time.
Consistency and automating the process as much as possible are the keys to being successful and there are lots of tools out there to help you achieve these goals.
If you’re not doing social media today, then I suggest you get started ASAP. Start small and build it up as the months go on. Just do something, as it’s an investment into your lead generation future.
Let me know in the comments if you have any questions or experiences around social media you would like to share.