Instagram reigns — for now

Financial advice is booming on TikTok, and there’s no question that the scale of that effort is outshining personal finance content on Instagram. Searching for #personalfinance on Instagram shows just 1.1 million posts using the hashtag since the platform launched in 2010. While the scale is smaller, financial advisers are still capturing clients through the platform.

“If you are able to be on Instagram, that is still the platform that matters more because there’s so many people that are in the accumulation stage of wealth-building in their 30s and 40s that spend a lot of time on Instagram,” FMG Suite’s Russell said.

Advisers use Instagram to share both professional and personal content, showing off their financial advice chops alongside who they are as everyday human beings. What this strategy does is creates a profile for potential clients to vet and assess whether the adviser — via their Instagram — might be a good fit.

Instagram users spend an average of 30 minutes a day on the platform, according to Hootsuite. The median age of new clients that financial advisers get from social media is 40, up from 2018, when the median age was 35, according to data from Putnam Investments. And the average gain in a financial advisory firm’s assets under management resulting from social media initiatives is $4.9 million, according to Putnam’s Social Advisor Study, including $1.4 million in just the past 12 months.

Brittney Castro, a financial planner and CEO of Financially Wise, is 36 and has been using Instagram to grow her brand and company for approximately 10 years. To date, her Instagram account, @Brittneycastro, provides finance content to more than 15,300 followers. 

SOCIAL LEVERAGING

Castro’s social media manager posts on Instagram at least five times a week, as well as posting Instagram “stories” daily, which are 10-second video clips that disappear 24 hours after publishing. 

“We map out our content like 30 days in advance,” Castro said. “It’s a co-creation process but daily I’ll post just random content from my own life.” 

Castro has leveraged social media to build a business that has attracted brand partnerships, like money management app Mint, which pays her to post online as their in-house CFP. Mint’s company Instagram account has more than 23,600 followers.

But do these followers actually turn into clients? “Absolutely … followers turn into clients,” Castro said. “They’ll direct message me and I’ll send them a link to schedule their call,” she said. About 90% of Castro’s clients come from Instagram.

@brittneycastro33

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While Instagram remains her bread and butter, Castro is working on building her TikTok platform as well.

“With TikTok, it’s just about the next generation,” she said. “I’m an older millennial, but when I first started, I just mimicked what other companies were doing, but just did it with money content.”

Atlanta-based financial planner Jacqueline Schadeck (@jacquelineplans) has a following of more than 7,400 on the Instagram account that she started in 2017. At 27, Schadeck has managed to use her Instagram account to arrange an average of 12 new client consultations a month — for which she charges a small fee — with an 85% capture rate.

“I was able to go from offering free consultations to no longer being able to offer free consultations because of how many were coming in,” she said. “That’s because of social media.”

Instagram’s influence is powerful, Schadeck said, with reposts of her Instagram content by clients acting like testimonials or referrals and driving even more clients to her platform. 

When she started her Instagram account, Schadeck was very professional and “buttoned up,” she said. That strategy didn’t work. Once she started to show more of her personal life and shared content she likes — for example, she’s a motorcycle and luxury car enthusiast — her Instagram and, in turn, her business started to gain traction.

“I’m not on Instagram talking about which investments to make,” she said. “The thing about being a financial planner and working with clients is that clients are working with you from a broader picture — it’s not just a fact of dealing with your money. So if you draw that out and put it on a larger scale, such as social media, you’re still going to be sending the same message, having the same conversations with clients.”

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