Financial advisors know how difficult it is to make contact with high-net-worth people through phone calls and emails. However, when they reach out to connect with the same people via LinkedIn or Twitter, they are often welcomed with open arms. From there, they simply become part of the conversation, which opens the opportunity to build relationships.
By actively participating in popular social media sites, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn, you automatically expand your online presence while building social capital. At the very minimum, your participation provides social proof to your target market that you exist and that you might actually have something of value to offer.
Building social capital
The key is to treat social media as a means to increase brand visibility in your target market rather than as an “end” to generate new sales. Through active participation, your social media activities can drive more visitors to your website, where they can engage more directly with your business. It’s about building trust and demonstrating your value as a member of the community. In doing so, you increase your visibility and generate traffic to your website where they can learn more about you.
The accepted approach is to keep it social at first, engage, listen, and then begin to add value to the conversation. The key to this approach is to build trust by positioning yourself as a thought leader, and a resource people will want to follow. It can be a slow process as business development goes, but it is an unparalleled opportunity to build your brand with your target market.
How socially active Advisors do it
If you want to see how financial advisors have used social media to build influence and generate leads, look at the more socially active advisors. You’ll find they all have the same essential digital apparatus to convert social media contacts into highly qualified leads:
A quality website: Your website is the hub of your digital marketing strategy. It’s where you want your social media contacts to engage more directly with you.
An active blog: Your blog is key to your strategy because it showcases your thought leadership. Your blog content is also posted on your Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn pages to draw your contacts to your website. It’s essential to post compelling content that your followers will share with others.
An active Twitter presence: Twitter is the easiest way to develop a large following. Tweet original leadership thoughts and retweet others to increase social engagement. The more your posts spur feedback and comments, the more interesting it will appear to the community. Asking thought-provoking questions, conducting short surveys, and asking for opinions are effective ways to engage your followers.
Active engagement in two or more social media sites: LinkedIn, Facebook, and YouTube are the more popular social media sites for financial advisors. Pinterest and Instagram are also in the mix. The more you engage in active listening, the more interesting people will find you. Look for interesting conversations among your followers and contribute with a comment or a “like.” This will get you noticed, and people most likely will reciprocate with comments on your page.
Implementing an effective social media strategy requires a commitment of 30 to 90 minutes a day – more or less the amount of time advisors spent in the pre-digital days prospecting and managing an outbound marketing campaign. However, this is an inbound marketing campaign with the potential to reach far more people, many with shared interests, while building influence and authority in the market.
This is an ideal job for a part-time person (one hour a day), or you can use social media automation tools such as Hootsuite to preschedule your posts to go up throughout the day and track your activity.
Convert your social media contacts into qualified leads
The purpose of using social media as part of a digital marketing strategy is to move more contacts into your funnel so they can be cultivated into leads. Through your social media efforts, you build your social capital, increase your influence, and build relationships, leading your contacts to trust you and feel more comfortable interacting with you.
The most frictionless way to interact more directly with your contacts is to get them to your website, where they can opt into your email newsletter, sign up for a webinar, download a report – all ways to move your contacts deeper into the funnel. Once there, you can track them, engage more deeply with them, and, eventually, begin to communicate more directly through email or a phone call.
In addition to radically changing the social mores of relationships and networking, social media has transformed how financial advisors engage their target markets and build their brand.
Advisors who use a deliberate social media strategy can experience a substantial increase in brand visibility within their target market and an increase in website visitors who convert to qualified leads.