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Practice Management

Advisors who are not active on social media are at a distinct disadvantage. It’s not enough to establish an account or two; you have to mine the media.

This Practice Management article is intended for financial advisors only (registered representatives of broker/dealers or associated persons of Registered Investment Advisors).
 

“Unless you are on social [media], you don’t exist. Your customers will find someone else,” Michael Lock, president of Hearsay Social, told attendees of the SIFMA Social Media Conference held recently in New York.

But simply creating one profile on one network isn’t enough to meet client expectations, he said.

And those expectations have changed because of changes in technology and social media, said Lock, noting that Amazon offers him book recommendations and Uber drivers know his name and where he wants to go before he even gets in the car.

“If that’s their world for books and taxi cabs, then what are their expectations for financial services?” he asked.

Here are Lock’s four tips on how to better use social media in order to stay relevant in a marketplace of rapidly changing client expectations:

1. Be findable. Financial advisors should build a really good profile and not just for one network but for multiple networks. Being on multiple networks makes it easier for prospective clients to find an advisor and his or her firm, as it improves the chances of the advisor appearing among search engine results. “If you don't have a good Facebook profile or LinkedIn profile, when that guy leaves that dinner party and Googles you, he will not find you,” Lock said. “If you’re not on social media, then people won't think you exist.”

2. Build networks. “Every time you meet someone, connect with them on social media,” Lock said. Doing so can help bring in referrals, he added.

3. Listen up. Lock said that advisors should listen to their social media networks to learn what is important to clients and prospective clients. “Listen to what’s happening,” he said. “If you do that, then you won’t have to bring out the yellow pad and ask questions about what’s going on in my life. I will be impressed and say, ‘This guy knows me,’” Lock said.

4. Post frequently. Finally, it is important to post a lot on social media because this builds credibility with clients and prospective clients, Lock said. He suggests that just 20% should be about the firm for which the advisors work; about 60% should be advice and topics that clients want to hear about, such as retirement and estate planning, healthcare costs, and inheritance; and the remaining 20% should be about the advisor.

Firms with strict compliance rules can avoid headaches by building libraries with content that is preapproved for posting, thus ensuring that advisors aren’t left with a stale Facebook page or empty Tweets.

“We're in the golden age of technology. Everyone has a smart phone in their pocket,” Lock said. “That has created a great opportunity for you and your advisors,” he added. “Basically, we have the recipe, and it’s up to the vendors and the customers to make it work.”

—Andrew Welsch

 

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