Every month, we round up some of the most important social media updates that might impact how you market your firm. From Facebook algorithm updates to new ways to network on LinkedIn, things are always changing in the social media world.

AUGUST 2019 SOCIAL MEDIA AND SEO NEWS

August was a slow month for social media news for financial advisors, but we still found a few updates that should impact your marketing strategies.

LinkedIn Live: A Guide for Advisors

Earlier this year, LinkedIn announced a beta version of their own live-streaming tool, similar to Facebook Live. While not everyone on the platform has access yet, LinkedIn has released more information, including a thorough guide.

LinkedIn Live allows you to broadcast to your network by using a third-party system (this is where it differs from Facebook). We understand that staying compliant with your social media is a concern for advisors, and live video might feel questionable.

But there are certainly ways financial advisors can take advantage of live video while staying compliant. If you post a video that has non-financial content, such as an introduction to your team or an invitation to a seminar, that shouldn’t need pre-approval. If you want to talk about market commentary or economic discussions, write a script and get it approved by your compliance ahead of time. As long as you refrain from promoting your firm’s products or services, there are ways to stay compliant with live video.

If you want to try it for yourself, see if you’re able to access the new LinkedIn Live feature! Apply to the beta version here.

 

Study Finds Marketers Prioritizing Video

In a new survey of over 1,000 creative and digital marketing decision-makers, video is the number one priority for the next year. The Mondo Creative & Digital Trends report revealed that 67% of digital marketers and creatives anticipate video marketing will be their first priority. 

The types of video marketing that respondents expect to invest in most include Instagram stories (66%) and newsfeed videos (62%). Gifs (52%), cinemographs (31%), live streaming (28%) and IGTV (28%) were among other top-ranking video types respondents anticipate producing.

What does this mean for advisors? It’s time to embrace video! Creating custom video for your firm is easier than you think, as we discussed in this podcast, and can be a great tool to engage your clients and prospects.

JULY 2019 SOCIAL MEDIA AND SEO NEWS

As always, this summer has been full of important updates to the top social media platforms and search engines. Keep your financial advisory marketing up-to-date by reading about these important releases.

Facebook Makes Changes to Ads

A few new updates came from Facebook this month regarding their advertising options.

First, the mobile news feed will look different after August 19, which will impact any ads you’re running on the platform. This is what you can expect:

  • Fewer lines of primary text will show on mobile News Feed – Now only 3 lines of primary text will show on Facebook mobile News Feed, after which people will be prompted to click to view additional text
  • Maximum media height for photos and videos will reduce to 4:5 on mobile News Feed – The tallest supported aspect ratio for images without links and for videos is now vertical (4:5). Media taller than 4:5 will be masked on Facebook mobile News Feed.

Those changes will look like this:

Another update now allows advertisers to place ads in Facebook Search. When someone searches for a related term on Facebook, you can target that query, and have your ad shown in the results, similar to Google search ads. Keep an eye out for this placement option when you start your next Facebook ad campaign!

LinkedIn Engagement Continues to Rise

Microsoft, who purchased LinkedIn in 2016, announced that the platform’s engagement is steadily climbing. According to Microsoft, “LinkedIn revenue increased 25% ($371 million) with record levels of engagement, highlighted by LinkedIn sessions growth of 22%.” LinkedIn also now has more than 610 million users.

If you haven’t started experimenting with LinkedIn to grow your network and reach new clients, it’s time to get on board. At this rate, the platform will likely only continue to grow. Getting started on LinkedIn is simple, and just takes a few minutes per day to keep up.

New Study on Worldwide Social Media Usage

According to a new study by Famemass, people now spend an average of 2 hours and 23 minutes on social media EVERY DAY. That’s a major increase from 2012 when the average was just 1 hour and 30 minutes.

The top motivation for people to use social media is to “stay up-to-date with current events and news,” which is true for 40% of the population. This is why social media is a great place to share market updates and other financial news with your clients and prospects. As the amount of hours people spend on social media continues to rise, we encourage you to increase your investment in marketing your firm on those channels as well.

 

Google Now Shows Podcast Episodes Directly in Search

Do you currently produce a podcast? Then this new release is just for you! Google announced you can now play podcasts directly in the desktop and mobile search results. Google said it will show episodes based on Google’s understanding of what’s being talked about on a podcast. That means Google will somehow index the words said in the podcasts and show you relevant podcasts based on those words.

Want to test it out? Head to Google and search “Market in Motion Podcast” and you might see some familiar episodes!

New Survey Shows Businesses Should Claim Online Listings

Have you claimed your online business listings on Yelp, Google my Business, and other platforms? A new study looked at 200k businesses and found some interesting results:

  • Businesses claiming their listings on multiple sites earn 58% more revenue
  • Businesses with ratings of 3.5 to 4.5 stars earn more than those with lower and higher ratings
  • Businesses with more reviews (than the average) across sites generate 54% more revenue

Obviously, online reviews are a tricky subject for financial advisors. However, these reviews do not count as “testimonials” for compliance rules. So as long as you don’t ask your clients to give you a review and they decide to leave you one on your own, you shouldn’t be in trouble.

Claiming your online listings is an absolute must. If you’re unsure if you have accurate listings online, this quick test will help you figure that out.

 

 

JUNE 2019 SOCIAL MEDIA NEWS

What social media and SEO updates do you need to know for June 2019? This month’s roundup includes news from Facebook and Google, and a new Pew survey. We update this blog every month with news and tips for advisors to inform their marketing strategies. 

Survey Reveals Importance of Mobile Websites

A new study from the Pew Research Center found that 37 percent of U.S. adults now mostly use their smartphones when accessing the internet, which is double the rate it was in 2013. If your firm’s website isn’t mobile-friendly, you might be missing out on a lot of potential new clients. 

According to the survey:

“Younger adults are especially likely to reach for their phones when going online. Fully 58 percent of 18 to 29-year-olds say they mostly go online through a smartphone, up from 41 percent in 2013. Still, this growth is evident across all age groups. For example, the share of adults ages 30 to 49 who say they mostly use a smartphone to go online has nearly doubled – from 24 percent in 2013 to 47 percent today.”

These numbers are only expected to increase over time, especially as smartphone and mobile connection technology improves. Financial advisors should be aware of these trends and adjust accordingly. It’s time to make sure your website looks as great on a mobile device as it does on a desktop. 

Facebook Removing Page Categories

Starting August 1, Facebook will remove the following sections from your Page listing options

  • Mission
  • Company Overview
  • Awards
  • Year Founded
  • Biography
  • Affiliation
  • Personal Interests

Most likely, these are fields that are not highly read, and are being removed in an effort to streamline the Pages experience. Facebook suggests moving the information you may have had in those sections to the Page Description field.

Make sure you go into your firm’s Facebook page and see which sections you’re currently utilizing that will be deleted. Then, try moving the key information into the Description section. This should serve as a good reminder to log into your firm’s Facebook page on a regular basis to make sure your listing is fresh and to ensure updates like this don’t slip through the cracks.

Facebook Introduces More Courses

Did you know Facebook has a robust (and free!) course catalog to help small businesses better use their platform? Facebook Blueprint instructs page owners on using page insights, advertising tools, and more. 

They just released 22 new courses on topics like ‘How Instagram Can Help Your Business’ and ‘Facebook Ads and Your Business Goals.’ If you’ve been wanting to dive deep into the Facebook platform, this is a great place to go. They will always be updated with the latest features, and they keep track of which courses you’ve already taken. They include 40 percent video content and most are five minutes or less for a quick marketing lesson you can complete anytime. 

As a busy financial advisor, it can be tough to stay updated on all the latest tools and tricks. By checking out these online classes, your firm’s social media marketing strategies will always be relevant. 

Google My Business Updates

Google My Business, Google’s business listing tool, has introduced new fields to create more robust listings. 

There will be new options for cover photos and photo displays, and those images will show instantly on your profile. This is a great place to add photos of your office exterior and interior, photos of your team, and even your appearances at local events. You’ll also be able to add custom logos to your profile, which will be displayed on the top right-hand side of your profile. 

Another new update that might be particularly interesting for firms is the new “Local Favorite” badge. Google said that the top 5 percent of local businesses in a category will be awarded a “Local Favorite” badge. It is not entirely clear what the criteria will be to determine who qualified, but in general it seems they will reward those that keep their profiles updated and are responsive to customers. This feature has not been released yet, but it should be a motivation to keep your firm’s local listings updated and accurate.

Subscribe to our newsletter for more valuable tips for keeping your marketing strategy relevant and your plans on track.

 

MAY 2019 SOCIAL MEDIA NEWS:

Social media is always changing, which is why advisors need to stay up-to-date on the latest technologies, features, and trends for the main platforms. Read on for a roundup of the SEO and social media updates financial advisors need to know for May 2019.

Facebook Emphasizes Video Posts

Facebook has always encouraged pages to post their own videos to the platform, and now they have an update that incentivizes them even more. Now, Facebook will reward those who publish video content with long watch times and gets watched repeatedly. Facebook pages that post unoriginal or repurposed video content may get limited visibility or reduced access to monetization.

This does not apply to posts that link to videos on your website or YouTube; only to videos uploaded directly to Facebook.

How can you ensure that your videos get the best reach and engagement possible? Always post valuable content that is relevant to your audience. Educational how-tos about finance and working with your firm is a good place to get started. You should also post videos consistently––ideally once a month. This helps to build your visibility and lets your audience know what to expect from you.

If you want social media users who don’t follow you yet to find your video, make sure you use relevant titles, descriptions, and keywords to your video. Think like an outsider, and use phrases that people would realistically search.

Another tip to increase watch time? Use subtitles! 85 percent of Facebook viewers watch videos with the sound off, so make sure your video has text or captions.

Instagram Usage Increases

A new report by eMarketer found that Instagram daily usage has increased, and will reach 27 minutes per day this year for U.S. adult users. Usage is expected to rise by one minute each year through 2021.  

Facebook daily usage has gone down slightly but is still extremely popular. This year, U.S. adult Facebook users will spend an average of 38 minutes per day on the platform. In 2020, the average daily time is predicted to drop to 37 minutes.

If you’re an advisor on social media, you should continue to put effort into Facebook, as your audience is likely still using the platform regularly. It’s a great way to target your prospects and clients with valuable posts that build up your status as a thought leader and drive traffic to your site.

And if you haven’t experimented with Instagram yet, maybe it’s time to start! Whether your firm should use Instagram or not hinges on the demographics of your audience and your ability to create the visual content that performs best on this platform. If you are targeting younger clients, using Instagram could set your firm apart from the competition.

LinkedIn Introduces New Reactions

LinkedIn is a great platform for financial advisors to establish themselves as a thought leader and start conversations with prospects. And now, the platform has made it even easier to engage with posts by introducing a variety of reaction options. Instead of just clicking “Like” on a post, you can personalize your response depending on the message.

The “Celebrate” option is great for new job announcements or accomplishments. “Love” can denote that you support the cause they’re discussing, or that you relate to the topic they’re discussing. Try hitting “Insightful” on an informative article, or “Curious” if it’s a topic you’d like to learn more about.

The next time you post, take a look at what types of reactions your followers are using. Then, you can respond appropriately in the comments. For example, if they were “Curious,” maybe you can send them a link to a follow-up article, or ask them questions about their thoughts on the topic.

 

APRIL 2019 SOCIAL MEDIA NEWS:

Let’s look at some of the most pressing social media updates from April 2019 and how they might impact your marketing plan:

Facebook is Testing New Reactions

While not necessarily breaking news, one thing we saw come from Facebook in April were new, more animated “reactions.” Reactions are what you can add to someone’s post and include Like, Love, Haha, Wow, Sad, and Angry. Gone are the days of merely “liking” someone’s post. Now, you can respond with different emotions depending on how you feel.

Many users might think this is merely a cosmetic change, but there’s actually data surrounding the change. Since Facebook launched Reactions, they have seen their use steadily increase over time. In addition, Facebook uses Reactions to gauge what to show in your feed and you reacting to people’s posts changes your unique algorithm. For financial advisors, this means that your social media posts that get more Reactions could have more visibility and reach, so you may want to consider adding posts into your social media strategy that are built for reactions. You could ask questions, ask your followers’ opinions on topics, or share updates about your firm.

Facebook Hits 2.3 Billion Monthly Active Users

Our second update is about Facebook, as well. Despite recent privacy scandals and younger audiences swaying toward other platforms, Facebook reported 2.37 billion monthly active users at the end of Q1 2019. This is an increase of 55 million users since the previous quarter. Of those 2 billion-plus users, over 1.5 billion of them log into the social media platform every day.

It’s no secret that Facebook is a major marketing opportunity for financial advisors. Your clients are on Facebook, their kids are on Facebook and, depending on your clientele, their kids are on Facebook. If you aren’t taking advantage of this massive reach, you should be. We’re always here to answer any social media marketing questions you may have, just request a demo today to get started.

Instagram Experiments with Hiding “Likes”

Instagram is a photo-sharing platform that is great for business and personal use, alike. But when taken too far, social media can facilitate vanity metrics and affect user’s perception of themselves. We are seeing more and more people, both young and old, merely focus on the number of Likes their photo gets, so this month Instagram quietly rolled out an experiment to hide Like counts on some users’ posts. With this test, the user can see how many Likes they get on their end, but no one else can. This is an interesting social experiment and we will see what comes of it as the test evolves.

Pinterest Has 265 Million Monthly Active Users

Pinterest is often a looked over social media option for financial advisors, but its steady growth says otherwise. This month, Pinterest reported having 265 million monthly active users, up from 250 million from Q4 of last year. In addition to increasing their users, Pinterest has continually shown that their users are actively engaged, with 90% of weekly users reporting using the app to make purchasing decisions. They also actively Pin and Re-Pin posts from the app and from around the web.

While Pinterest might not include your target demographic, it may be a marketing strategy to consider, especially if you want to target younger advisors. Users on the app value high-quality content and informative articles, so using the platform as a way to build yourself up as a thought leader could be an efficient strategy. Try reporting your blogs or updates on Pinterest once a week and see if your website traffic increases. But first, read these helpful guidelines on Pinterest marketing!

These are just a few of the many social media updates we saw in April 2019 that impact our financial advisors. Social media is always changing and having a diverse and adaptable social media marketing strategy can help set you apart from the competition.

 

MARCH 2019

There’s always something new on the horizon when it comes to social media marketing. Here, we’ve rounded up some of the most important updates that occurred in March 2019 that financial advisors need to know about. Learn more about how you can leverage social media for your advisory and stay on the cutting edge of these ever-changing platforms.

LinkedIn Live

Last month, we talked about how LinkedIn has reached record highs and why this platform should be part of your financial advisor marketing strategy. In addition to its staggering numbers, LinkedIn has also been releasing some valuable features that may interest financial advisors on the platform. One of those releases is LinkedIn Live, which was released in February but is starting to gain traction this month. This live video broadcast service gives people and organizations the ability to broadcast real-time video to select groups, or to the LinkedIn world at large. Try doing a live Q&A on your page to discuss market updates, or look out for streaming keynotes from conferences. Think: CEOs streaming keynotes about new product updates, Q&As led by industry thought leaders, and digital conferences that make it easier for the 610 million professionals on the site to further their practice. As of now, LinkedIn Live is invite-only, but keep your eyes peeled for the release of this cool, new feature.

In addition to LinkedIn Live, the site has also launched its “What Are People Talking About?” widget on their home screen.

Keep an eye out for trending topics in the finance industry, or centered around your community, and write up a post to increase engagement.

Meet Twttr

Twttr is Twitter’s new prototype app that aims to test out new ideas outside of Twitter’s public network. The prototype launched mid-March and users can join the conversation and help Twitter build out new features by using the hashtag #LetsHaveaConvo. The app will focus on testing new designs, conversation threads, and other new features. Twttr might not immediately be of any use to you in your social media marketing, but it’s a fun new tool that shows that Twitter is considering users’ feedback before making major changes to the platform.

Google’s Broad Core Search Ranking Algorithm Update

A few times a year, Google releases major broad core search updates. In 2018, we saw these updates in March, August, and September. We haven’t seen any major updates since then, until March 12, 2019. In March of this year, Google announced its most recent broad core search ranking algorithm update. It’s still too early for tech experts to pinpoint exactly what this update changed, but a few highlights are:

  • The update will continue to value expertise, authoritativeness, and trust through links. This means that if a major site, like the CDC or CNN, links to a site, they will be rewarded. In other words, Google is increasing the amount of power of certain links, while decreasing the power of other links.
  • This update rewards sites that have relevant content, while sites with generic content that isn’t relevant to their users might see a decrease in organic traffic.

One thing that’s really important about this Google algorithm update is that just like Medic in August 2018, it impacts what Google calls “Your Money or Your Life” sites, or sites that impact the future happiness, health, financial stability, or safety of users. As a financial advisor, your site may fall into the financial stability section of this algorithm, which means that you need to be providing trustworthy, quality content to your clients and prospects to continue to rank well.

The landscape of SEO and social media marketing is always changing, which is why we want to update you on these major news stories. As always, feel free to reach out if you have any questions about optimizing your marketing strategy for your financial advisory