Social media marketing for financial advisors can be an effective tool – but it will only be so if you have a thorough understanding of the platform. For financial advisors, it’s now easier than ever to turn strangers into clients. However, by the very nature of the industry, it’s important that financial advisors take care not to violate set rules.
Registered financial advisors have a strict set of rules created by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). With the continued growth of social media, it’s important to understand there are certain do’s and don’ts.
The first don’t, though is this: Don’t let regulations sway you from using social media. Many financial advisors are successful at bringing in new clients through Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Let’s take a look at some of the other do’s and don’ts that will help you bring in more clients while not getting in hot water.
Social Media Marketing for Financial Advisors: The “Do’s”
Do Create compelling content
As a financial advisor, people want to know you know what you’re doing. Several years ago, you would do that by having a decent website. Today, that’s not enough.
Social media is a great portal to send people to your (hopefully revamped) website. The internet is massive, and you need to spread out across as much of it as possible. That means having blog posts that are rich with search engine optimization keywords, having an up-to-date website with constantly updated information, and a solid social media presence.
The term “social media” has become the all-encompassing phrase to represent all of the different social media channels. However, just because each channel – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. – is lumped under the same umbrella doesn’t mean they’re all the same. Because of that, you need to have different strategies for each.
For example, when it comes to Facebook, it’s best to have a personal page and a business page. For your personal page, you can let everyone in your network know what’s going on, not just select groups. You can talk about your personal philosophies, your professional beliefs, etc. That leaves your business page as your public hub for thoughts, writings, activities, etc., that are business-specific.
With Twitter, you have 140 characters to let all of your followers know what’s going on, either by posting links to your blog, retweeting someone else’s comments, or simply by talking about what’s going on in your industry. Be sure to follow people connected to the financial advisor community and remain active.
LinkedIn is going to be your professional outlet. LinkedIn is a great source of networking with other financial advisors, joining communities set up for financial advisors, and posting your blog posts or other link you think would be worthy of everyone’s attention. Remember, the focus here should always remain compelling.
Do Show Authenticity
Coming across online as something you’re not will immediately kill any chance you have at gaining new clients. Today, many people who look for financial advisors online want to know more about the person so they can feel a deeper connection with them.
Creating original blogs can help do this, but in terms of social media, this is really where Facebook shines. Facebook allows you the freedom to post things about yourself, your life, and how you work. Prospective clients can see this and gain that connection, making it that much easier to bring that stranger into the fold.
It’s also important to note the more you post on social media, the higher your Google ranking will be. The higher your Google ranking, the better chance you have at landing those clients. Having that connection through social media also increases the chances of increasing your email newsletter open rate. So it pays in the long run to make sure you have a viable social media plan.
Social Media Marketing for Financial Advisors: The “Don’ts”
Don’t Violate the Rules
What are these rules, exactly? To start with, as a financial advisor, you should never present false or misleading claims or representations to investors. Granted, this is straightforward and pretty much a no-brainer, as it’s something that shouldn’t be done in any form of communications.
Another policy involves record keeping. As with other forms of communications for financial advisors, social media exchanges must be archived and tracked, per Rules 17a-3 and 17a-4 under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and NASD Rule 3110. Keep in mind that, although this probably sounds daunting, new technology is developed and released every day specifically for the purpose of tracking social media, such as Smarsh or RegEd.
It can be tricky navigating the rules as a financial advisor using social media. You want to demonstrate your knowledge and showcase your firm, but you must do so without crossing certain lines. Most of the larger financial services firms have their own set of rules and interpretations of FINRA, so make sure you are familiar with these rules before you even create an account on a social media platform.
In an industry as regulated as financial services, you can’t afford to guess when you hit the send button. But even with this many rules and regulations to consider, social media can be a wonderful way to bring exposure for you or your firm, your services, and create relationships that can turn into great referrals and clients down the road.
One More “Do”
Here at New North, we specialize in working getting our clients the most out of social media. We know you’ve got a lot on your hands managing your social media marketing, let alone applying a deeper strategy for engagement.
Even if you have a dedicated member on your team handling social media, knowing what to post and creating a successful campaign might still be a faraway concept. You need a bigger picture of how social media can be meaningful to your business and growth.
We’re here to help you. Contact us today for a free, no-hassle consultation.