Advice on Social Media Success for Financial Advisors
According to a study by Sysomos, 40 percent of investors under the age of 40 are consulting social media to find relevant, investment-related information. The American College goes on to cite that in 2012, 90 percent of financial institutions were using social media with 77 percent having social media marketing initiatives. Those numbers have only increased, which means if you are not on social media, your competitors likely are.
As a financial advisor, there are important guidelines to follow in order to avoid breaking any rules, while maintaining a good reputation with the public. Review these do’s and don’ts before posting:
- Produce Original Content: If your social media accounts are just a mirror of what everyone else is saying, people won’t pay attention. Social media is a great place to stand out as an industry leader which means creating and posting about original or innovative thoughts and ideas.
- Be Consistent: In addition to creating engaging, original content, your followers will expect that you are consistent on social media. If a financial advisor is incredibly active one month and completely absent for the rest of the year, what does that communicate to potential clients? That you’re someone who gives up on things easily? Forgetful? Overworked? If you’re going to be on social media, make sure your frequency is something people can rely on.
- Educate Your Audience: One way to utilize social media is to inform and educate your audience about industry news, tips and events. As a financial advisor, clients expect that you stay well-informed on important financial topics. By keeping them in the loop about this information, you show a commitment to advisor/client transparency and mutual understanding.
- Be Authentic: While social media can still be a professional medium, it is more personal than a website. Followers expect to see some of your personality and might be skeptical if your content makes it sound like there’s a robotic financial advisor on the other side. Use restraint and remain professional, but maintain authenticity.
- Get Too Personal: While being authentic is important, as a financial advisor you want to maintain your reputation with clients, and using social media to post about anything too personal risks damaging that. If you wouldn’t discuss it in a job interview, you probably shouldn’t advertise it on your social platforms.
- Violate Clients’ Privacy: A great tool for interaction, social media can become a slippery slope due to SEC regulations in terms of protecting a client’s privacy. Avoid publicly responding or commenting on client questions that include any kind of information regarding their financial situation or other personal information.
- Skip Approval from Broker-Dealer Firm: According to FINRA Rule 2010, static content of any form needs to be approved by your broker-dealer firm before posting. If you have some great ideas for a LinkedIn article or Facebook post, make sure that they align with your broker-dealer guidelines and rules, otherwise you could face some hefty fines.
- Exaggerate or Mislead: Shock appeal and excitement are certainly great techniques to use on social media to catch someone’s eye and draw them in for a closer look. But when it comes to using social media as a financial advisor, it’s definitely not a good idea. Treat your social media platforms the same way as your office and do not extend beyond your regular, professional limits to entice followers.