“The tech just isn’t where it needs to be …”
“Compliance will never let me say or share anything meaningful …”
“There is still a lack of clarity from the regulators …”
Since the early days of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, if an adviser needed a reason not to be on social media, there was a readily available list of conversation-enders. But as we look across the adviser communications landscape, which was already in the midst of a massive amount of change before the Covid-driven events of 2020, none of the old excuses hold up.
Changes including new SEC guidance have created much more opportunity for advisers to embrace the social media game to market themselves.
So how should advisers be thinking about the ways to maximize the new marketing and communications opportunities that are open to them? To start with, we recommend focusing on three key aspects to this important conversation.
STRIVE FOR AUTHENTICITY
This was where the “ghosts of compliance officers past” would too often emerge in advisers’ minds, leaving many unwilling to engage on social and others shackled by an approach that only included anodyne, watered-down content.
“Honey, this tweet says it’s important to start planning early for retirement! Let’s set a meeting,” said thousands of Twitter users never, as they scrolled right past highly forgettable post after highly forgettable post.
But better content is out there that has truly thought-provoking angles. In many cases, advisers or their teams are the ones producing it. This includes thoughtful content that takes an original stance on issues, that offers timely, helpful advice and that points out trends that will help investors better understand their own plans, needs and goals. There is also no shortage of thoughtful insights available from highly trustworthy sources that can be brought to bear on social media, and there are now proven technology solutions that will filter out any noncompliant content, allowing you to focus on sharing items of high quality.
But hand in hand with quality comes the need to make sure what you’re sharing matches what you’re saying. In the same way you strive to be authentic when sitting across the table from a client (or across Zoom, as the case may be), you can and should look to be authentic with your posts. You have a voice; leverage content that helps it shine through.
No one gets their news from just one outlet. Advisers shouldn’t set all their social media goals with only one platform in mind. LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and other emerging social media hubs all reach people in different ways, looking for different things. A strategy that varies content and tone based on what you know about your current clients and what you know about the kinds of prospects you’d like to reach will be the most effective way to ensure you’re delivering the right message in the right venue at the right time.
It is an initiative that has some nuance and complexity to it, and that complexity leads me to my final point.
Technological innovation has reshaped virtually every function of a financial adviser’s job, in theory allowing them to spend more time with their clients; in practice, it often leaves them spending too much time focused on technology. Social media in particular is a function that has, for many advisers and their support teams, felt like a significant cost center in terms of time spent, if not also in terms of dollars spent. But new approaches that allow for more authentic online engagement with minimal time demands on advisers and their teams have the potential to reshape the entire discussion around social media in the financial advisory space and open the door to entirely new ways of engaging with clients and having genuine digital interactions with new clients.
So the roadblocks are gone. The road map is clear. It’s time to leave the old excuses behind once and for all and start putting social media to work for your practice.
Bill Finnegan is managing director of financial services marketing at Seismic.
As our second lead editor, Cindy Hamilton covers health, fitness and other wellness topics. She is also instrumental in making sure the content on the site is clear and accurate for our readers. Cindy received a BA and an MA from NYU.