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Social media is a long-term strategy, an investment in your marketing. It does not provide immediate results, but brings benefits with time. In this blog post we will look at the benefits of social media and some strategies to help you acquire these benefits for your business.

The Benefits of Social Media for Financial Advisors

A 2019 study from Putnam Investments found that social media initiatives resulted in an average AUM of 4.9 million dollars.

There is every indication that social media, and the marketing opportunities for the financial services industry, will continue to grow. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and many other social media channels have become the modern equivalent of word of mouth marketing.

“The power of social networking is such that the number of worldwide users is expected to reach some 3.02 billion monthly active social media users by 2021, around a third of Earth’s entire population.” (Statista, 2018)

That is a big audience, and social media can help financial advisors reach more of it. So why does social media marketing for financial advisors produce such impressive ROI? Besides being a solid brand builder, social media is particularly good at three things every advisory needs.

  • Relationship building: Relationships have been the backbone of the financial services industry from the beginning. Social media platforms are packed with audiences ready to create relationships, providing advisors a seemingly endless supply of prospects. Not only does social media marketing bring in new business, it also helps build stronger relationships with existing clients.
  • Priming referrals: When advisors share engaging and informative content on social media, they reach existing clients and connect with their neighbors, friends, and associates. We already know that prospects rely on recommendations and advice from people they know, so a strong social media presence is a productive tool for priming referrals. That means more leads, a greater chance for engagement, and a steady flow of new clients.
  • Making financial services relatable: How many prospects think they aren’t wealthy enough to need financial services? How many of them don’t have a clue about what a financial advisory firm can do for their financial future? Likely too many to count. Social media gives advisors platforms with broad reach to educate the public about the valuable services they offer. It allows advisors a wonderful opportunity to get on their audience’s level and show that financial services have something to offer to nearly everyone.

Building Your Social Media Strategy

Financial advisors can use social media marketing to make their brand more relatable, the key is to understand what prospects need and how they communicate. Below are a few steps to get you started.

1. Consider your audience 

The most valuable marketing can’t be effective if it’s not positioned in front of the right audience. Financial advisors must be able to target their most viable niche market. Advisors can discover this niche by taking an objective look at what type of clients they can serve most effectively. The more well-defined the prospect, the better chance of providing the most relevant content for establishing a financial advisor’s authority and credibility. 

Robert Fross, CEO and Co-founder at Fross & Fross, looks at it this way:

“It’s about constantly being a thought leader, and maybe it’s not one particular thing, but because they’ve seen us that there is a better chance that when they actually need help and they have a life-changing event that we are the ones that they might call.” 

Understanding your audience is key to connecting with them. And a good place to start is by digging deep into the type of clients already onboard. You can do this by asking the following questions:

  • What are their online habits?
  • What questions and concerns do they present most often?
  • Which financial services are the most popular, and why?

Prospects are looking for answers to their financial questions online, and financial advisors can use social media to answer their questions through content. This dynamic can lead to a connection.

2. Prioritize value 

Providing value for the financial services audience is the key. Social media isn’t about asking for a prospect’s business — it’s about giving them relevant information through content and interaction. In any business, but especially in financial services, it’s critical to build confidence and establish authority. It’s also about being genuine and personable by discussing financial issues and personal stories to create real connections. 

Brian Cody, VP of Digital Media at Waddell & Reed, makes a good point about authenticity, saying:

“I think a good formula that we bring forward is something that is authentic to you, something that you can really, honestly, articulate authentically, something that is meaningful to the people that you are trying to speak to, something that is interesting that adds value to them, and finally something that is succinct that can really deliver the point home quickly, efficiently and effectively.”

Giving away insight and advice may not seem like the best social media strategy for financial advisors, but it is precisely what consumers want. Prospects want information that is actionable, easy to understand and timely. 

These prospects understand that financial advisors are necessary for a complex industry, but they won’t be ready to engage and consider doing business until trust and credibility have been established. Sharing info in this way can help establish an online presence that provides valuable, relatable content. 

3. Select the right channel

Many social media platforms can readily supply demographic information to help advisors reach their targeted audience. This consumer-specific information often contains other defining elements, such as gender and even location.

But, it’s also important to consider the average demographic of each social media platform. 

A compilation of information like income level and specific interests, combined with location, can be especially fruitful for financial advisors at a local level. Armed with the knowledge gained in evaluating their services, combined with the fine-tuning of demographics, an advisor can begin creating content designed for a very specific audience.

A List of FMG Social Media Channels by Goal

What About Compliance? 

In many cases, local financial service offices are affiliates of larger national companies. These companies have their own marketing preferences and policies that can hamper the local office’s digital marketing. Many of these marketing policies are driven by compliance concerns, while others are only guidelines. If every piece of marketing has to pass through a corporate marketing department, meet industry regulations, and be compatible with company preferences, then many local firms and advisors may think the effort isn’t worth it.

All digital marketing should be reviewed for industry compliance, and it’s good career advice for advisors to follow their local or national home office lead. But social media marketing for financial planners can meet the most rigorous corporate and industry restrictions and still be useful. 

Brian Cody offers some good advice for working with these restrictions:

“Don’t just put out anything and everything—put out everything that relates back to that core value proposition and then spend some time directing customers to content that only you can create so you are not just posting pre-approved stuff, and make sure you are posting custom stuff that resonates with your audience.” 

Remember the “Social” Element of Social Media Marketing 

Social media posts for financial advisors are effective because people like doing business with people they socialize with, even if it’s only in a digital world. To work with an advisor, prospects must trust their expertise, but they also want to know that advisor’s story and personality.

Being “social” online can also mean becoming a part of the bigger story. For financial advisors to be relevant, they must go beyond the typical press release or industry article. Financial service providers can stand out and connect with their audience through:

  • Appropriate uses of humor
  • Sharing interesting or unusual information
  • Expressing their brand and personality
  • Discussing personal interests

Social media marketing for financial advisors is essential for connecting with the right audience. From targeted SEO to automated campaigns, FMG Suite helps advisors build a strong social media presence. Get your demo today and start growing your AUM with social media tomorrow.