Social media is no longer avoidable. Forty-one percent of adults over 65 are now using Facebook, which is up from just 20 percent in 2012. And sixty-nine percent of adults aged 50-64 are on social media according to the Pew Research Center

Of the advisors who have embraced social media to find new clients, it’s been a major success. Seventy-nine percent of advisors said using social media led them to win new business, with an average asset gain of $4.6 million. Then of those who won new business using social media, fifty-three percent of advisors reported gaining at least one million dollars in new assets. Social media is not something to ignore anymore! It can make a huge difference for your firm – if you use it correctly. 

What about an example from a real advisor? Wiliam Bryan, an advisor with LPL Financial, achieved this:

“Within two months of setting up my website and social tools through FMG Suite, I gained leads through Facebook that led to $1.7 million under management.” 

You don’t have to be a social media expert for it to make a difference! It just takes a little bit of time and dedication. To create a winning social media plan, you need to do the following:

  • Build a Strategy
  • Create and Curate Content
  • Execute!

In a recent broadcast, we went through these three bullets to show advisors how they can create successful social media strategies. The broadcast is available to rewatch here

Building a Social Media Strategy

Without a strategy, you have no way of knowing what’s working and how to improve. If you start posting without thinking it through first, you’ll never get the results you were hoping to achieve. 

Start with Goals

When you start with goals, you can work backwards and shape your strategy around what it will take to achieve your goals. It’s important to take the time to define specific, achievable goals. For tips on creating SMART goals, read this article.

What does a social media goal entail? What kind of goals should you have for your social media? You could aim for any one of the following, depending on how it fits with your overall marketing goals:

  • Grow your followers
  • Drive traffic to your website
  • Advertise your services
  • Generate more leads
  • Communicate with clients
  • Increase firm awareness
  • Run an engagement campaign
  • Become a thought leader. 

This goal should always have tangible numbers attached, such as 10 more leads per quarter, or 25 more social media followers per month. The actual numbers for those goals depend on where you’re starting and the size of your network. 

While having a goal to increase your followers or social media engagement is great, it’s not the only thing you should aim for. At the end of the day, you want your social media interaction to translate to an increase in traffic to your website or an increase in leads. As a small business, focus on building a small but mightily engaged community. A huge follower count won’t matter if they never interact with your content or check out your firm’s website.

Establish Your Target Audience

When you have a specific person in mind that you’re hoping to reach with your social content, it becomes a lot easier to decide what to write and post. Create an audience persona that encapsulates your ideal client, which includes their:

  • Demographics (Age, Income, Region, Family Structure)
  • Psychographics (Attitudes, Aspirations, Goals)
  • Behavior
  • Financial Goals
  • Financial Pains (This needs to be really specific) 

You should give this persona a name, and be able to picture them. Every time you write a new social media post, you want to think about how it will resonate with this audience persona. 

Choose Your Platforms

To complete your strategy, you need to decide on which social media platforms you want to focus on. This is where your audience persona comes in, as you need to be where your audience hangs out. If you’re not sure where to start, here’s a quick guide:

  • LinkedIn is like an online resume. It’s for professional social media networking, so you need to keep it professional. 
  • Facebook is what humanizes you. Facebook will help you stand out from another advisor by showing your personality and making personal connections. 
  • Twitter is great to connect with media or influencers and establish your online presence, and it could lead to speaking and editorial opportunities. 

We recommend advisors use all three of these platforms to engage with their clients. 

Now, what about Instagram? We know a lot of advisors are considering moving over there. However, a lot of compliance offices have not yet jumped on board. If you do have the ability to use it, and you have a social media-savvy team member, it’s a good platform to consider. You just need to be prepared to post a lot of visual content. Dry financial text is not going to cut it on Instagram, so be ready to think outside the box. 

Create and Curate Content

Without great content, your social media won’t move the needle in your relationships with your prospects and clients. There are different types of content you need to consider.

We’ll start with curated content. Curation is an important part of your content strategy. It is key to establishing yourself as a thought leader and showing your prospects and clients that you prioritize providing value. 

An example of curated content is sharing an article from Forbes or the IRS, and adding your own commentary to highlight why you think it’s an important read. Curating content shows that you are connected to the industry as a whole and that you are actively monitoring news and important articles pertaining to your area of expertise. Another benefit of curated content – someone else creates it, so you can free up your time while still having a vibrant social media presence. 

Just remember to always read the whole story, always add your own commentary, and only share links from trusted sites.

Of course, creating your own content to share should be a fundamental part of your social strategy. When it comes to custom content, it needs to be catered specifically toward your audience and what they care about, their needs, and questions. 

When you post something, ask yourself, “would I want to click on this or share it with someone else?”. If the answer is no, then reconsider! If you wouldn’t “like” it, then what’s the point of adding it to your social feed? Take this opportunity to stand out and make a connection.

Execute Your Strategy

The execution of your social marketing plan will determine its success. The only way for you to see results from your social media usage is it actually USE it! Be consistent, and always remember to be social.

When it comes to what you should be posting, your content calendar should include a mix.

For every ten posts, which could be about a month’s worth of social media, you should follow the five, three, two rule: 

  • Five posts that go to third-party sites, which helps establish you as a thought leader and value-provider.
  • Three posts that link to your site, including content like blogs, ebooks, event links, or service pages.
  • Two posts that show your personality, or allow you to connect on a more personal level with your followers. That could be about your volunteer work, trips your office went on, an upcoming community event you want to promote, an interview with an advisor, or whatever works best for you.

This is important because, as we always emphasize to advisors who are using the FMG Suite platform, using our automated social media is a great first step, but if you want to make a difference with your network, you need to add your own custom posts as well. That is what will help you connect with your clients and build up those relationships.

Increase Engagement

If you’re looking for more engagement on your posts, there are many ways you can do it. 

  • Ask questions that elicit responses from your followers, such as: “Do you feel confident in your investing?” “What movie do you want to watch at our event?” “Where is your dream vacation?” 
  • Utilize video. Natively uploaded videos can increase your impressions and have been shown to improve engagement.
  • Experiment with different content types. You have to keep testing to figure out what works best for your audience.
  • Use the tools – tag your location, use @ to mention other pages, and include hashtags.

Just remember to avoid acting like a robot when using social media as your business. Let your personality show and do your best to genuinely connect. 

Engagement is a two-way street, so make sure you hold up your end of the deal on social. If someone adds a comment, like or reply. Add comments on posts you see on your feed. Respond to messages you get in your inbox. The more you utilize the tools as they’re available to you, the more people will see that they can use this channel to connect with you professionally.

Social Media Strategies for Financial Advisors

At the end of the day, the strategy that works best for you is not necessarily going to be what works for another advisor. You need to take time to put your personality out there, think outside the box, and learn what resonates with your audience. When you make a genuine effort on social media, you may be surprised by how much you’re rewarded.

Would you like to learn more about FMG Suite’s social media tools? Get a demo today for a personal walk-through of our marketing platform, including robust social media schedulers and ready-to-post content.