How financial professionals may develop their digital footprint
Poke around any social media platform and you’re likely to find pages and profiles of business professionals long abandoned and forgotten. It reflects the fact that managing social media for your practice isn’t easy. Building an online presence and cultivating followers takes time, and financial professionals typically can’t carve out much time from their day to send tweets or post to TikTok.
Managing what and when to post on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or any other platform takes some thought. However, putting in the time to develop and improve your social media can pay dividends. In an industry where clients may find it hard to distinguish between financial professionals, keeping people informed on their go-to apps about financial news and planning can help lift you above the crowd.
1. Define your goals and target audience
What do you want to get out of your social media push? Gaining more clients may be the obvious goal, but there are other aspects such as keeping your followers informed about news affecting their investments, providing general advice, and hearing directly from them about their needs.
"Your social media profile page should be clear and concise since this creates your online first impression."
Most social media platforms allow you to get a look at the demographics of your followers. You can take this information and break it down into segments, such as number of people by age group, zip codes, and neighborhoods.
This can help you find segments where you’ve done well and those where you can do better. For instance, you may have a large number of followers in their retirement phase, past 60 years old, and not as many in their 20s and 30s. What financial topics would attract younger readers to your posts? Obviously, you’ll want to make sure you follow your current clients on social platforms and message them to follow you back. Don’t know some of their social accounts? Emailing them invitations to follow you is a good start.
2. Optimize your profiles
Your social media profile page should be clear and concise since this creates your online first impression. Experts suggest a 10-word statement is enough to communicate your brand, although for a social media profile you may have room to expand it further. Your current clients already know you, but you’ll want prospective clients to get the sense that you’re a professional. Maintaining consistency of your profile across platforms helps build your brand recognition and credibility.
Do you not have any recent photos of yourself? A good headshot by a professional photographer adds to your “gravitas.” Also, make sure your bio includes relevant keywords that help people find you in their search results.
"80% of your content is informing, educating, and interacting with your followers and 20% is promoting your business."
3. Create a content strategy
In the same way that you wouldn’t advise a client to invest without a plan, posting content without a strategy can be fruitless. You might think that simply publishing each day is enough, but you’re not likely to gain new followers if your content is frequent, but poor.
Consistency, relevance, and quality are the three keys to great social media. Start the month with a content calendar and fill in the topics you’d like to post on particular dates. You can streamline your social media process with scheduling and management tools like Hootsuite, Buffer, or Sprout Social. These platforms help you schedule posts in advance, monitor your social media presence, and analyze performance metrics.
4. What’s my content?
Of course, content is king. What should you be posting that can enlighten your followers and potentially make them want to do business with you?
When it comes to content development there’s the 33.33% rule, which says a third of your posts should be about promoting your business, a third should include links to news related to your industry, and a third should be interactions with your followers.
Another approach is the 80-20 rule, 80% of your content is informing, educating, and interacting with your followers and 20% is promoting your business. Whatever you decide, make sure you’re using straightforward language, since you’re not communicating with your colleagues.
5. Encourage engagement with your followers
Interactions are what makes social media compelling. Back-and-forth exchanges you might have with a client about the effect of a news item on investing may help inform that person and others and adds to your visibility.
Make sure you’re regularly asking questions or asking for opinions. Run polls on financial management topics and encourage readers to share their thoughts and experiences and always be sure to “like” when a reader interacts. Content like this may create meaningful connections that build trust and loyalty.
Put in the work, enjoy the benefits
Maintaining and growing the social media presence of your practice is essential in today’s digital environment. Spending a little time developing content and interacting with your audience may not appear to directly affect your bottom line, but building and solidifying relationships in a field where trust and credibility is paramount can only improve it.
What should I write about?
Finding what to write about can seem like a chore and it is probably one of the main reasons social media accounts are abandoned. Of course, writing about the daily work of financial planning doesn’t have the excitement of being an underwater shark researcher or fighter jet test pilot, but there are topics you’ll find interest clients and prospects:
Success stories–Have you helped a couple in their 60s with few resources retire gracefully? Assisted a younger client fulfill their dream of retiring early? People generally like to hear about successes and relating these cases (anonymously, of course) may help drive up engagement.
Thought leadership–When news breaks that affects your clients and prospects, posting links to relevant stories is often a must. And it’s also a moment when you can share your thoughts about the issue. People generally want to hear what a professional thinks about news that affects them.
Good tips–Have you found a good investment calculator online? Share it with your followers. Read a good story about investing in the volatile crypto market? Let people know. Becoming a good source of relevant information may help to build credibility.
Community investments–If you’re a part of your local chamber of commerce, groups like Kiwanis or Lions Club or area nonprofits, promoting their events on social media and asking followers to join you helps these organizations and gives you an opportunity to meet clients and prospects.