Chances are, your clients and prospective investors are using social media. Are you?
We’re not talking about personal accounts where you share family photos or a clever meme. Having a separate LinkedIn social media presence for your financial advisory services may help you connect with clients on a deeper level and extend your reach to help attract new ones.
It’s generally accepted that social media is where a growing number of people look for news and information. If they’re looking for financial information or advice, shouldn’t you be among those willing to offer it?
Social media is here to stay, so having a presence to represent your financial advisor role may help you grow your business. But there are some social media best practices that financial advisors should keep in mind.
1. Keep it Professional
LinkedIn is generally considered a professional networking platform, so sharing relevant investment tips, news and information is appropriate. It’s advisable to keep any personal social media accounts separate from your professional LinkedIn account.
In general, stick with thought leadership topics, practical financial tips and reputable links. But that’s not to say that every post needs to be business as usual. Celebrate holidays, share about community events or maybe even post that photo of your child’s team holding a tournament trophy. Find a balance and show your human side. However, refrain from engaging in highly personal and controversial or polarizing topics that might not reflect well on you or your firm.
2. Remain in Compliance
Compliance risks associated with sharing information are another consideration. FINRA warns against sharing third-party hyperlinks that contain false or misleading content. By sharing or linking to specific content, it’s essentially telling the world that, when read in context with any statements made in the originating post, your firm has adopted and endorsed it.1
Relying on publicly available resources from various investment companies you represent may be the best bet. Their content has likely been vetted and passed their own compliance department’s scrutiny. It’s also a good idea to check whether your firm has a social media policy.
3. Join the Conversation
They’re called social “networks” for a reason. Social media not only helps you engage with your clients, it allows you to network with peers and learn from others in the industry. You can post questions to various LinkedIn private groups and forums to gain different perspectives and even share a few of your own insights, too. You can also see what topics resonate with others to serve as a conversation starter on your own feed or during client meetings.
When it comes to your LinkedIn account, it can be easy to take a set-it-and-forget-it attitude. Find your own rhythm for how frequently you want to post content, but start out with at least a couple of times each week (or more if there’s something timely). You might want to schedule 15 minutes of your day to review your account and respond to any comments. A simple “thank you” or acknowledgment can go a long way and open opportunities for further discussion offline.
4. Broaden Your Audience
Building a network may take some time. Start by connecting with clients and prospects you already know, and expand to include family members and friends who may be interested in the financial insights you share. A gentle ask for your followers to share content or invite others to join them may also help grow your audience. In general, avoid trying to connect with people you don’t know.
One way to quickly diminish your audience (and their trust) is by being overly “salesy” in your posts. It can be a big turn-off. Approach social media engagement with a helpful tone and you’ll be much more likely to keep their attention. You may even get the occasional referral.
5. Remain Accessible
Accessibility is increasingly important in today’s culture. Clients, especially those who are younger, may prefer texting or private messaging rather than picking up the phone or emailing. Meet clients and prospects on their terms and make it easy for them to get in touch with you.
Most social platforms like LinkedIn include messaging capabilities, another way for prospects and clients to connect with you. During your annual review, encourage them to reach out to you in whatever way they prefer, and share an invitation to connect through your LinkedIn account.
Remember that having a social media presence is meant to augment your client interactions, not replace them. Start by establishing some simple goals to get started. An even more important step prior to setting up a professional social presence or engaging with clients is to talk with your compliance department to know and understand any regulations your firm places on your overall social experience.
With changing technology and apps come changing behaviors. Check out our Behavioral Finance Approach (BFA) resources and take advantage of the guidance available through our trained BFA-certified wholesalers.
1 FINRA, Regulatory Notice 17-18: Guidance on Social Networking Websites and Business Communications, No date.