Many financial advisors hear about the great opportunity for client and AUM acquisition that social media marketing provides. So they hop on the social media bandwagon and start posting content to various social platforms. Many even sign up with automated content posting services which post a seemingly endless supply of other people’s articles and posts. Despite all of this time, effort and money invested many advisors get little to no results at all.
Yet many other advisors ARE able to acquire ideal clients from social media. In fact, Putnam Investments’ 2015 Social Advisor Study of over 800 advisors, determined that over 80% leverage social media in their businesses. The share of advisors acquiring new clients through social media increased from 66% to 79% year over year, with the average annual asset gain from these clients reaching $4.6 million!
So how do you start more effectively leveraging social media into your business? In this post, we’re going to share with you the 6 most common mistakes that advisors make with their social media campaigns and how to actually fix them:
Mistake Number 1 – Not Having A Clearly Defined Niche.
When you don’t have a niche identified (ex. teachers, millennials, women, helping doctor’s sell their medical practices, social security specialist, etc.), then you cannot speak to anyone in particular with your company brand and content. When this happens both your brand and your content are general in nature.
Generalized content gets far less engagement and now you have to compete with the large online publications (ex. MarketWatch, Kiplinger, CNBC, etc.) and wire houses that have a lot more resources and will outcompete you always.
When you have defined your niche, you’re able to determine which publications, websites, and blogs to get your articles posted on; what articles on specific websites which you should be commenting on, what groups on social media sites to join and post in; the actual hashtags to use on various sites, your SEO keywords and more.
It even lets you know what your content (ex. articles, blog posts, podcasts, videos, webinars, etc.) should be about. To get the most out of your content, you want to focus on content for your niche and your niche alone. Remember, the whole point of producing your own content is to establish yourself as a ‘Go To Expert’, build your credibility and authority and gain new followers. And you can’t effectively do that when your message is general in nature and not niche focused.
Mistake Number 2 – Not Producing Your Own Content.
Your content is what conveys not only your expertise yet also your brand. It’s why potential clients would follow you in the first place, like your post and even share it with their connections. Yet many advisors don’t produce their own content and opt instead to always share posts from online publications…if they post anything at all.
The absolute worst thing to do is share those usually poorly written (for public use) industry articles that are preapproved for distribution!
Educational content that’s proven to get followers and engagement (are obviously niche focused) take the form of podcasts, articles, blog posts, eBooks, webinars, videos, and short tips. In particular, podcasting is becoming very popular with many financial advisors because it’s easier to produce and distribute on an ongoing basis than articles and blog posts.
Well designed content is the foundation of your social media marketing campaign. It fuels everything. It’s what gets prospects to follow you, trust you, and ultimately contact you. It’s vital importance can not be overstated.
No niche focused content = NO RESULTS!
Mistake Number 3 – Losing Sight Of Your Target Audience.
Many advisors may start off with a niche (or too many) and then forget who they’re talking too. Next thing you know, they’re content starts speaking to an entirely different audience than their original niche. Or advisors share things that are relevant to them yet not to their niche market. The net result is they lose their followers.
You want to make sure that both your content and the things that you share are relevant to your target audience. And NEVER stray from the path!
Mistake Number 4 – Not Engaging With Your Followers And Niche Market.
Many advisors use automated posting services that flood their social feeds with endless financial posts with an occasional ad for a free consultation. They completely miss the point! You want to actually interact with your followers. That means paying attention to when they like, share, retweet, favorite or comment on your posts. You want to thank them, answer their questions and make comments yourself.
Also, occasionally share some of your personal information as well. Advisers who use social media successfully tend to balance the financial information they post with more personal information. People want to connect with other human beings. Your personality has to show through at some point. Items such as great vacations you went on, a new car, motorcycle or RV purchase (think of your niche and their interests) are good personal items to share (think about what you would share at a networking event).
Also, you want to be the one doing the interacting, not someone on your staff. Your staff can handle certain tasks yet you should be the one to personally interact with your followers and niche.
In social media, you have to be an actual human. So be emotional and personally connect with your followers and niche. Don’t simply be an information tweeting robot.
Mistake Number 5 – Not Leveraging The Right Strategy For Each Social Site.
It’s important to understand which social sites will get you the best results and what strategy to leverage on each. First off, the best thing to do is to get a professionally designed Social Media Marketing Plan for your firm. This will help you to better understand what needs to be done, how and when; you’ll know how to effectively monetize social media plus it will laser focus your social media marketing activities and maximize your results.
Yet in a nutshell:
LinkedIn - Is the most popular social media channel for financial advisors. It’s ideal for immediate networking and prospecting for clients. According to Putnam’s survey, 70 percent of advisers use LinkedIn, and of those 88% reported having acquired new business from LinkedIn. In addition, advisors get a lot of news and information from this social site, which makes it an important tool for keeping up with the latest trends.
Twitter – Is more commonly leveraged to establish an advisor’s brand image (company and personal). On twitter, anyone can follow you and learn from you. People use twitter in the majority to get news and professional information. So they’re more likely to follow a professional. For a follower, it’s a no risk way of engaging with a financial advisor by simply following them instead of calling them and having to go through a perceived sales pitch. 64% of advisors reported having acquired new business from Twitter.
Facebook – A combination of paid advertising and content posting works best. With paid advertising, promoting content such as eBooks, videos, webinars and events historically works best. Facebook can be tricky though without leveraging paid advertising. To get the best results, you should have identified your niche on Facebook, ensure you have a clear message to get to them and use niche focused content marketing.
For example, if your niche are 30 somethings, a post such as “Should You Spend 1 Month’s Salary On A Wedding Ring?” will get shared a lot.
68% of advisors reported having acquired new business from Facebook.
Mistake Number 6 – Expecting Instant Results.
Many advisors set unrealistic expectations and goals for monetizing social media. When their unrealistic goals aren’t met within 90 days (or less), they oftentimes quit. Consistently gaining new clients from social media is a marathon…not a sprint. Just like growing your firm is a marathon…not a sprint.
Growing your social media audience is just like growing a radio show listening audience. You wouldn’t think you’d go on the air and have an instant fan base. Yet each week as you produce shows with good content, you’d acquire more and more listeners. If you’ve ever listened in on radio shows that encourage their listeners to call in, you’ve probably heard the phrase “Hi I’m so and so, a long time listener, first time caller. I had a question…”
Just like with a radio show, your social followers will follow your content for weeks, months and even longer sometimes before contacting you. Then one day, out of nowhere, they post a question, make a comment, ask to talk to you, request a free consultation, etc. That’s why it’s so important to continuously produce your content and distribute on a regular basis. You never know when they’re ready to move forward with you.
So you have to commit to building you’re your audience and stick to it. If you start with the right plan for your firm, and stay the course...IT WILL WORK!
The Bottom Line
Well these are the 6 most common mistakes that keep many advisors from getting actual results from their social media marketing campaigns. For advisors who are already successfully monetizing social media, you’ll find that they’re doing all of the recommendations that we listed here. So don’t reinvent the wheel, make sure you are leveraging the same strategies and guidelines, that we listed above, in your social media.