Do not post about of your personal life or non-finance related information. No more pictures of your food and lose the photos of your travels, please. That’s what a recent study by Finect, a compliance-friendly network, determined what investors want from their financial advisors on social media. And for warm and fuzzy social media practitioners like Merlin Ward (who co-wrote this article) and myself, this "just the facts, ma'am" approach certainly caught our attention as did this somewhat startling stat:
Don’t worry – it’s not as bad as it sounds. In choosing a financial advisor, investors hold low consideration of stats that are otherwise seen as high-status for brand social media accounts. According to the study, the least important social media features when choosing an advisor are:
This actually saves advisors quite a bit of work and headache. What investors want most is… advice – go figure! What investors care about is the advisor’s ability to answer questions. However, there are discrepancies in the supply and demand of advisors. So, if you’re a financial advisor looking to take the plunge into social media, consider the following…
Only one third of advisors are on social media, while 87% of those investors are on social media. On top of that, only 63.6% of investors who are connected to their advisors on social media are satisfied with their level of access. That’s a fairly large gap, which means you may be able to acquire a few new customers left out to dry by their current advisors. Lastly, nearly half of investors cannot find their advisors online (check out the tips section for advice on how to fix this). The information most sought after by investors is trending investment news, educational articles and access to research and whitepapers.
So who are these investors seeking online advice? The majority are 35-44 years old, and those under 44 (96.6%) are the most likely to want to connect online. Most are using stocks, mutual funds and retirements savings as their investment vehicles. Females are most likely to want to connect with their advisors online, though it is a close split.
10 Tips for Financial Advisors Just Starting on Social Media
Given that only 1/3 of financial advisors are on social media AND that the regulatory restraints seem to be lifting a tiny bit, we thought FA newbies might welcome a few quick tips on getting started. And that's the key takeaway here--get started. Your customers want you on social and you don't even have to share what ate for lunch or where you spent your holiday. In fact, just having a thorough bio on LinkedIn is a major step forward.
Finally, and most importantly, read your company’s social media policy to make sure you are even allowed to have a social presence let alone follow tips 2 through 9! If the answer is yes, then what are you waiting for?