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:
- 78% of investors who connect with their advisors on social media do not care about their advisors' personal details!
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:
- The number of advisor's followers
- The frequency of advisor's own articles/ blogs/posts
- How fast advisor responds/ replies via social media
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.
- Join Twitter and LinkedIn.
- Use your real name and keep it consistent across platforms.
- Google yourself to see how much competition you have for your name. To get better search results you'll want to start a blog and post frequently in the first few months (1-2 posts a week). Also, comment on other relevant blogs with links back to your own posts (this is called back linking, and it help with search result ranks).
- Use Twitter as your news outlet and tweet at least twice a day.
- Be as thorough as possible in your summary on LinkedIn - include education, awards and as much background on your experience as possible.
- Integrate social media into your offline marketing and encourage your clients to find you online if they have questions (especially if they fit the demographics above).
- Most investors want credibility. In combination with your blog, collect reviews from past clients and include them on your website. Also, consider a referral contact form on your website where current clients can enter their friends' emails to refer them to you (this is very important to the 35-44 crowd).
- Include a current picture and the number of years you've been in business in your bio on networks (also important to the 35-44 crowd).
- Engage! A lot of the 45-55 crowd are shopping advisors online, and a bit of friendly conversation on social media may make the difference.
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?