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The Truth About Social Media and Financial Advisors

Social Media and Financial Advisors…

The three big questions that I continue to hear in regards to social media and financial advisors seem to fall along these lines…

  1. How often should I post to my social media accounts?
  2. How hard should I be selling myself on social media?
  3. What does it take to see a positive ROI with social media?

I will do my best to answer these questions below.

1. How often should I post to my social media accounts?

After a few really awesome live Google Hangouts with the social media Maven Amy McIwain of Financial Social Media where Amy and I talked about all of the different social media platforms for advisors, I kept hearing advisors asking how often they should post on their social media accounts?

Well, great news on the answer! It all really boils down to one simple explanation…as often as you can do 1 of the following 3 things:

  • Add value to your Tribe
  • Entertain
  • Add value to the conversation that is going on or create a new (and valuable conversation with your followers)

The biggest mistake that I see happening with social media and financial advisors is feeling like they have to post something just because it has been a while since the last post. There is this false perception that if you aren’t on there, then your tribe of followers is going to completely forget that you exist. When in reality, haphazardly posting on social media sites “just to post” can actually cause more harm than good. Let me explain.

When you look at social media as a “strategy” where you are trying to get immediate leads and/or appointments, then you might need to rethink things. Edward Boches, on his popular blog called “Creativity Unbound” perfectly describes what social media is and isn’t…

“Social media isn’t a program, a campaign, a platform or an execution. Not an objective in and of itself, but a means, a tool to create deeper, more valuable relationships with customers…Traditional marketers identify audiences, craft messages, fire those messages at their target, put money into a media plan and hope to penetrate the market. Social media marketers build community, craft experiences, fire off invitations, put resources into developing an interest plan, and look for ways to collaborate with customers.”

So this means that it is crucial to ONLY post things that continue to build your tribe of customers, post things that entertain and make you memorable (in a good way), and post things that either add value to a current conversation or start a new one. Hint, this is done by actually taking some time to listen to your customers and ideal prospects. Find out what they are talking about and either add value to or join that conversation. Find out their pains or fears and help them solve them. That is how you become popular via social media.

I see some advisors who are constantly posting on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, but almost all of their posts are talking 100% about themselves, their practice, and how awesome it is to do business with them…

NO ONE CARES!

RULE: It is better to only post once per month and add tremendous value (where your followers await your next post) than to alienate your followers by posting irrelevant crap every other day. Also, with sites like Facebook minimizing who actually sees your content based on how often it is shared, liked, and commented on, this makes it even more crucial to post AWESOME content. Otherwise, you might find that your audience has dwindled down to your spouse and kids…

The Social Media Ripple Effect

Think of social media as a ripple effect for your best content. Social media should be the spider web that helps spread your message, your value add, and your unique selling proposition out into the community. It is NOT a place to brag about your accomplishments, awards, etc. Now this is not to say don’t ever post any of your accomplishments. You should be proud of any awards, recognitions, etc.

My point is to make sure that for every post about your accomplishment or award, that you post 20 value-added posts that help out the conversation and take the spotlight off of you, and onto your prospects and clients.

Social media should run through all of your other content like a thread…strengthening your entire digital footprint.

Finally, think about the last thing that you personally forwarded or shared with your entire social media base. I am willing to bet that it was either something hilarious or something that added value, solved a problem, or was emotionally rewarding. Anytime you share something to your social media network, ask yourself if what you are posting is sharable?

Here are three incredible questions to ask yourself before ever hitting the share button for your own content (I am purposely being a repeater to get this important point across).

  • Is it useful or does it solve a problem or question that my ideal client is having in his or her head?
  • Is it entertaining?
  • Does it add value to a current conversation or help create a new one?

social media and financial advisors

2. How hard should I be selling myself on my social media network?

This is a really tough one for many financial advisors, as you make a living selling. However, I notice that many of the very best (and best paid) financial advisors make a living by educating and giving first, and then most of the selling is already done for them.

And that is how you have to start thinking when it comes to social media and financial advisors like yourself.

Here is a humorous example.

To begin, Imagine that social media is a fun party where everyone is talking, having fun, sharing pictures from their recent vacation, flirting, showing pictures of their kids, gossiping, etc.

And all of a sudden you bolt in with a loud, rainbow colored sweater, screaming at the top of your lungs that you want everyone to quiet down so you can tell them how awesome you are and why they should do business with you. FYI, this is exactly what it feels like when someone disrupts a social media outlet with a sales message or a post about how awesome they are (see example below).

social media and financial advisors

What do you think will happen to the party after your grand entrance? My guess is one of three things:

  1. They pour the punch bowl down your obnoxious shirt, ask you to leave the party, and then spend the next 20 minutes talking behind your back about how socially awkward you are.
  2. They immediately “un-friend” you and they move the party somewhere else where you can’t find them…and then post pictures of your obnoxious shirt on their own social media walls.
  3. They use you and your loud shirt as the party piñata where everyone takes a swing at you with a broomstick.

Either way, none of these sound good for business, right? So don’t be that guy or girl who is always shouting out how awesome you are. You will end up bruised, battered, and looking like a fool.

All of that being said, you should still always have a call to action in most of your social media posts, so please don’t confuse that with selling. So when it is appropriate, simply give them a link back to your site if they want to learn more. Perhaps even list a benefit or two that they will receive by going to your site. 

HOWEVER, do this ONLY after adding value, entertaining, or adding to or creating a conversation with your customers, followers, and future prospects.

If you need a rule of thumb on selling via social media for financial advisors, use the old 80/20 rule…80% of your time should be educating, adding value, and sharing great content, while 20% (MAX) should be selling and giving some kind of call to action via social media.

3. What does it take to see a positive ROI with social media?

My brother Luke and I have a rule at Advisor Internet Marketing that says, “If we can’t track it, we don’t do it”.

And yes, that includes social media marketing as well.

Let’s go over both of the ways that you can be tracking your social media time, energy, and money as a financial advisor.

  1. The first way is the easiest to track as it involves straight up advertising. For instance, my brother Luke and I invested $500 on Facebook ads targeted at financial advisors as a test a few months back. We could track everything (through our Facebook dashboard combined with our CRM), such as how many clicks we had to the ad, how many took action, and how many turned into leads. Since we are selling a product, we could track how many of those leads bought. For example, if we created 50 leads from a $500 investment and three of them bought our $700 Recipe system, we had revenue of $2100 minus our $500 expense, for a profit of $1600. Pretty easy to calculate ROI on this.
  2. The other way (the non-paid way of sharing content) is a bit tougher. However, it can still be done. Here are a few critical pieces to be able to measure on ROI on your non-paid social media efforts.
      1. You MUST set CLEAR and DISTINCT goals of what you are trying to accomplish with your social media presence. Kind of tough to track something that isn’t defined, right? For example, is your goal to get 1,000 Facebook fans for your company? Are you trying to get leads via landing page links from your social media pages? Are you trying to drive a certain amount of traffic to your main site each month? Are you trying to convert a specific amount of new clients? Are you trying to reach 2,000 LinkedIn connections? Make it specific, otherwise you can’t measure it.
        • Let me tell you what we do with our own social media goals. Our goal is to have a certain amount of new visitors come to our site each month from social media. We can easily track this every day via our free Google Analytics traffic report (it tells us precisely where every single visitor to our site comes from), so we always know exactly what our ROI is in relation to the amount of time that we put into our social media network.
      2. Make sure that you aren’t trying to be everywhere at once. My best advice is to pick one social media platform and OWN it. Meaning, put most of your concentration into one. Do not dismiss the others, you still need to be present and adding your best content to the main four (Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and Twitter), but know that it will be tough to measure your goals and ROI if you are spread too thin. Pick one and master that first.
      3. Finally, TRACK everything. If you have set clear goals, then you should be able to track them. Track the amount of time you spend on the social sites, track where you are in relationship to your goals, and then backtrack how hitting those goals will relate to your business (in terms of new clients, revenue, etc). Once you have a distinct goal and know how to track it, determining an ROI becomes a whole heck of a lot easier.

social media and financial advisors

Conclusion

In conclusion, social media marketing for financial advisors can be incredibly powerful when done correctly. It can help you build a tribe, a community around your company and/or brand, and even generate new leads and referrals on a constant basis.

The biggest thing to remember is to stop talking about yourself, and talk about your ideal clients. Talk about how you can help them, entertain them (yes, even if you are a financial advisor), and give them value every time that you open your mouth on social media sites.

Finally, remember these three things every time before you hit the “POST NOW” button:

  • Is it useful or does it solve a problem or question that my ideal client is having in his or her head?
  • Is it entertaining?
  • Does it add value to a current conversation or help create a new one?

 

P.S. – If you enjoyed this, may I please ask you to share this using the social media share buttons on the left. YOU ROCK!

 

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Fernando Godinez

Fernando Godinez is the CEO of Advisor Internet Marketing. He’s been the architect behind some of the top financial advisors online presence in the country and help them triple their practice through online lead generation. Over the past few years he has been responsible for generating over 500k leads through online marketing and lead generation campaigns for independent financial advisors.

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