By Kristin Petrick
Even before the pandemic upended traditional prospecting channels, many advisors saw the potential advantages of embracing social media. Facebook alone had more than 2.7 billion monthly active users in 2020. But it hasn’t always been obvious to our industry what could – and should – be done with social media.
Cultivating a digital presence isn’t just another sales technique. It’s an opportunity to build credibility, establish authority, and show your authentic personality to attract prospective clients.
Create with your ideal client in mind
The question on the minds of most financial advisors is: “Which social media channel should I use for my advisory business?”
The answer, which might frustrate you a little, is: It depends.
Every decision that your firm makes about your marketing—from the content you create, to how often you create it, to where you post it—should be done with your ideal client audience in mind.
Facebook: Used by two-third of adults in the U.S.
Twitter: Only 12% of its users are over 50 years old, so this isn’t your best bet if you only work with retirees.
Instagram: Its highest user demographic is among those who make over $100,000 a year in household income.
LinkedIn: Used by 41% of millionaires in the United States.
TikTok: The current media darling, 62% of its users are younger than 30 years old.
Give them what they want
The key to standing out is easy, in theory: go to where your audience is going, and then post what they want to see. In other words, you need to understand which types of content are most likely to get strong engagement and positive reactions.
It’s probably not a surprise that posts with images or videos tend to get the most interactions from social media users. According to research, tweets with videos get ten times more engagement than those without, and LinkedIn users are 20 times more likely to share a video post than any other type.
Posting video by itself isn’t enough, of course. Your posts still need to be tailored to the interests and needs of your ideal audience.
Clear the compliance runway
Unlike entrepreneurs in many other industries, financial advisors need their social media posts to be pre-approved by their compliance teams. While this is done to safeguard an advisor’s business, the added complexity of securing the thumbs-up from compliance often discourages advisors from using social media to its greatest potential.
However, the new SEC advertising rule may well relax some of the frustrations caused by compliance approval in the past. If your compliance runs through a broker dealer, though, you may need to pay special attention to writing posts ahead of when you want them to publish so you leave enough time for your compliance team to do their job and review what you’ve written.
If your posts do need to run through separate compliance reviews, it’s helpful to plan ahead and keep a few pointers in mind:
- As much as possible, write promotional posts for a few days in advance so you have time to address any questions or concerns from compliance.
- Avoid making definitive statements in your posts so there isn’t a concern about making a guarantee.
- Avoid pointing to performance returns or offering specific investment advice that could be misconstrued.
- Social media can be one of the most advantageous marketing channels for your firm if you have a strong grasp of who you want to reach.
If you want to increase engagement and pull in more prospective clients through social media, put in the time and effort to understand your ideal audience and create content that speaks to problems they’re experiencing.
Kristin Petrick is the chief marketing officer of Orion Advisor Solutions.