In the last decade the manner in which individuals communicate with one another and research information has changed dramatically. But have those changes impacted the communication methods of clients and advisors in the same way? Definitely not. The preferred manner of communication between clients and their advisors remains the telephone, however, investors are beginning to use social media as a tool for educating themselves about financial issues. How should financial advisors use social media to build on their relationship with their clients?
According to recent research conducted by Spectrem Group, 59% of investors currently use Facebook, 31% use LinkedIn and 18% use Twitter. Other popular forms of social media include Instagram with usage of 22% while 34% of investors use YouTube. Only 27% of investors use no forms of social media. When asked which form of social media they use the most, 60% chose Facebook with others scattered across multiple forms of social media.
Not surprisingly, usage of the various social media platforms does vary by age with 76% of those under the age of 38 using Facebook, compared to 60% of those ages 39-54 and 57% of those 55-73. But almost half (47%) of those over age 74 use Facebook. Regardless of age, Facebook remains the most popular, however, 21% of those under age 38 chose Instagram as their favorite form of social media.
So how should advisors use Facebook to effectively reach their existing and potential clients.
Advisors should develop a consistent level of posting on Facebook. The more one posts the more individuals are likely to pay attention and follow that account. These posts should include a picture and some text. They can be personalized, individuals love to see pictures of the advisor and his or her team participating in events or just candid daily photos of how you work. Another way to effectively use Facebook posts is to link to interesting articles and provide the link to clients. A “Watch Party” or a “Live Event” can be a great way to interact with clients but requires some forward planning and messaging to be effective. Advisors can even target some low cost ads to invite prospective clients to discussions about key investment topics. Record these videos and use again in posts and also use to populate Instagram posts.
Videos have become a critical communication element for advisors. These videos can be made available to clients via YouTube and snippets can be used on Facebook as well. Videos should be relatively short…..try not to exceed 3 minutes…and make sure they look somewhat professional. That’s a fine line, however, because firms must balance between looking too scripted and still looking like honest communication. If you do not currently have a videographer and a social media expert on staff, now is the time to make that investment.
While investors still primarily like to speak with their advisor via telephone, younger investors may eventually change this guideline. Thirty-eight percent of investors indicate they sometimes read their advisor's posts on Facebook while 10% do so frequently. This increases for younger investors. Advisors need to take the time to begin to focus on their social media strategy and to effectively use it as a communication and marketing tool.