Survey Says: Clients Expect Financial Advisors to Be On Social Media
December 19, 2015 by Phil Gerbyshak
A recent study conducted by the Financial Planning Association (FPA), in conjunction with LinkedIn, found that while fewer than 5 percent of financial services clients used professional or social networks to find their current adviser, 21 percent say professional and social networks will be important going forward. As you might expect, that number doubles for those clients under the age of 45. Similarly, 33 percent of clients age 65 or older use LinkedIn, but usage nearly doubles to 62 percent among those clients in the 18-to-44-age bracket.
Of great interest to me was this nugget about financial advisors and their prospects:
A third of clients, across all age ranges, say they searched online or via a professional or social network to learn more about a prospective adviser.
FPA expects (and I agree) that this number will increase going forward as an increasing number of clients (across all age groups) say that the ability to go online as part of how they validate a decision to meet with an adviser will be important, even when referred. Social media is becoming a key part of the new business development process, including being a large part of an advisor’s ability to attract referrals.
Put another way: If you barely exist, or worse, if you don’t exist at all on social media, you are hurting your chances to attract referrals, and referrals are what builds most financial advisor’s business.
I’ll be the first to admit that this survey is far from comprehensive. It surveyed just over 1000 advisors and just over 1000 customers. I do think it is representative of the opinions of customers, as social media is the new yellow pages, for some, and more and more every day.
3 things financial advisors can do right now to take advantage of this shift
1) Share more relevant content more frequently – One of the reasons your clients chose you, and that they refer their friends and family and others to you (and one of the reasons your other referral sources refer business to you) is because you know something they don’t. You don’t have to create this content yourself, you just have to curate this content from a variety of sources. Nothing specific of course, because of KYC rules, but general commentary from your firm’s economist, from the SEC, from FINRA, and even from your local newspaper are good sources. Not that you should be sharing content every 5 minutes or anything, but a few times a day is perfectly fine. Most people will at best see 1 of your posts a day, and many only log in once a week, and don’t see anything other than what’s most recent. Be relevant and be useful and be frequent, and you’ll stay in front of who you want to be in front of more than your peers who never post anything.
2) Add more details to LinkedIn to tell a story about your job history – Most financial advisors use LinkedIn’s profile like a punch list of things they did, and never add any story to their profiles. This dehumanizes them and makes them seem cold and uncaring online. Take the time to post a little more about the jobs you’ve had, what you’ve enjoyed, and connect them to how they’ve led you to where you are now as a financial advisor. You connect in person this way, by relating to your customers. Now do it online.
3) Sign up for Twitter and start listening and learning – While you may never find a new customer on Twitter, you can absolutely listen to industry analysts, thought leaders, and people your customers may care about.
Question: Is your firm allowing your employees to use social media to build their book of business and be thought leaders? Or are you still afraid of all the compliance regulations? If your organization is looking for a compliance solution that offers meaningful analytics and the ability for you to create content your advisors can share to be seen as thought leaders, contact us to get a demonstration of Socialite, and let us show you how easy this can be.
Phil Gerbyshak is the director of social strategy at Actiance, who offers communications compliance, archiving and analytics. When he’s not working with his customers and prospects to help them adopt social media more effectively, he can be found walking along Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa, Florida or reading the latest business book.