If you’re a financial advisor, using social media marketing is a great way to expand your reach to potential new clients. As a financial advisor, you already know that the financial services industry has strict compliance requirements. In this article we will examine how you can use social media while at the same time being compliant with the rules and regulations the Securities and Exchange Commission has mandated.
The majority of today’s financial advisors use social media specifically for business, and many have gained a significant number of new clients because of it. In fact, most of them claimed that social media use expedited their selling cycle. Obviously, this means that social media can be a very useful tool for growing a business and maintaining client relationships by sharing useful and timely content, offers or even webinar sign-ups. Consulting with a professional digital marketing firm, such as Paladin Digital Marketing, to assist with your social media marketing strategy may save you lots of time and money in the long run.
If you’re ready to take the plunge and start using social media for your business, read on. Here are some tips to remain compliance-friendly while using social media to grow your business.
Make Sure Your Social Media Profile Is Compliant To Begin With
The SEC has formalized guidelines regarding how financial advisors interact on social media platforms. Based on these guidelines, many firms maintain strict regulations in regards to social media profiles. For example, your firm may require you to set up an account using your work email, as this allows for easier record keeping. Additionally, firms usually frown upon using platforms like LinkedIn to offer recommendations and endorsements, as these could be construed as testimonials (which are prohibited). Firms may also require all social media posts to contain some kind of pre-approved copy that describes the firm while adhering to industry advertising guidelines.
Professional Profile Photos Are A Must
Experts agree, the most important component of any social media profile is the main photo. Some firms have a corporate photographer who can handle this task with the utmost precision. However, if yours does not, then it is more than worth it to invest in a professionally taken picture.
If your profile has a low quality photo or does not have a photo at all, you may find that potential clients are more skeptical as to whether or not there is even a real person on the other end. For this reason, make sure your profile photo is as professional as possible. Additionally, you will want to ensure that you look presentable—a good rule of thumb is to dress exactly how you would when you meet with your clients. So leave the Bermuda shorts and tank tops at home!
Review Your Firm’s Social Media Policy
In the past, social media use was forbidden by most firms. Today, however, the tables have turned. Most firms now allow their associates to use social media in some capacity. If you have questions, the best avenue is to review your firm’s social media policy. If your questions are still unanswered, contact your firm’s compliance department, consult colleagues, and enroll in training programs that will sharpen your social media skills. If your firm does not provide comprehensive courses, there are several available online.
Select One Social Media Platform And Stick With It
The best way to get started with compliance-friendly social media is to select a single platform and learn everything you can about it. Many firms prefer LinkedIn, though some also use Facebook, Twitter, or even Instagram. The best way to choose which platform is right for you is by understanding your clients’ needs. Which platform would your target audience most likely be using? Once you can competently grasp the ins and outs of one platform, you should add another.
Social Media Is A Useful Tool For Research
A premium LinkedIn account gives you access to one of the most comprehensive databases in all of social media. With LinkedIn, you can execute searches in accordance with your desired customer profile, which you can set up to your exact specifications prior to initiating the search. Search categories include company size, seniority, level of experience, personal interests, and more.
In addition to conducting research on prospective clients, you will also have the opportunity to write an introduction that will capture even more engagement. There’s also a handy tagging feature that allows you to categorize profiles for follow-up at a later date. This is a great way to engage prospective clients and build a solid foundation of trust over a period of time.
Authenticity Is The Name Of The Game
If your firm allows you to personalize your messages, you should definitely do so. Sharing content that adheres to your own way of speaking and writing will give customers more confidence in your services. Additionally, try sharing articles that will be of interest to current and prospective clients, doing so will humanize you and show that you have their best interest at heart.
If you’re in a time crunch, try setting up alerts on whatever communication platform you are using. You can even set them up in your computer’s calendar or with your cell phone. While it won’t help you save on time, you may want to also consider maintaining a blog on your website. This is an effective way to flex your online authority. However, as always, be sure to check with your firm prior to posting anything.
Watch And Listen, Then Take Action
Paying attention to how others in your industry are using social media is a great way to sharpen your skills. This can apply to methodologies you generally disapprove of as well. Feel free to analyze your competitors, friends, and even acquaintances that could turn into prospective clients. In the case of the latter, noticing a major life event will give you the perfect opportunity to reach out and form a genuine connection. When combined with the power and instantaneousness of a phone call, this strategy proves to be doubly effective.
Network, Network, Network
Once your profile is set up and approved by your compliance department, you can reach out to people and ask them to connect with you. When doing so, make sure to include a personal message so you don’t come across as informal. In the case of LinkedIn, most connection requests include a standard message, so be sure to personalize yours.
It goes without saying that social media can get very complicated, and time-consuming. As a busy professional, your time is better spent elsewhere. So if you’re a financial advisor looking to use social media to generate more business and engagement, consider leaving the social media marketing efforts to a professional such as Paladin Digital Marketing.