As a financial advisor, you’re probably very good at creating values. Monitoring the markets means you’re always speaking in analytics and money. However, there’s an important aspect of being a financial advisor that you can’t place a value on. This intangible is your reputation.
While reputation management isn’t a new concept, it is a whole new ballgame when you factor in the digital marketing aspect of a reputation. Before business was conducted online, there were a few places where financial advisors had to monitor their reputation, including word-of-mouth and print media.
And while it has never been 100% possible to control what people are saying about you or your firm, the fact that it’s now primarily done online, with a degree of anonymity, gives you more tools for monitoring your financial advisor reputation. Plus, more ways to respond when your reputation is being damaged by an unhappy client or prospect.
Read on for more information on reputation management, and how you can incorporate it into your digital marketing strategy.
Imagine you’re a fly on the wall and you can hear clients or potential clients having a conversation (good or bad) about your business practices and results. That’s essentially what you’re able to do when people talk about you or your business online with various services that are put in place to monitor your reputation. But how do you get there? Here are some resources to help you get started the right way.
Among the many online tools Google offers, Google Alerts is the most important tool for online reputation management. This free tool (when set up correctly) will alert you when searches matching your pre-set parameters produce those results. For example, if your firm is ABC Financial Advisors, you will be notified when those results show up in a real-life search that is conducted by investors.
This can let you know that your business name came up in a search and will also give you the link to where it appeared on the internet. However, setting up your search parameters is essential to your success using Google Alerts for reputation management. With the millions of websites on the internet, Google Alerts can produce many false positives if your parameters are too vague.
For example, if your name is John Smith, you will likely get many results that aren’t actually about you or your business. In that case, use more specific search terms such as “John Smith Financial Advisor” and your city and state, you’ll get much better results.
Read Online Reviews
While reading a less-than-stellar review about your financial advisory firm can be a hard pill to swallow, it’s important to know what’s being said about your firm on popular review sites such as Google and Yelp. The first step to finding these reviews is to do an online search for your firm’s name.
If recent online reviews exist, they will come up in your search. Reading those reviews is critical to knowing what someone who searches your firm online will see. And while you can’t change what people have already said about you, you can level-up your service and online reputation and bury those negative comments behind more recent, positive feedback.
Pro Tip: If you want more reviews, remind your clients to leave you a review online. Just remember to offer this to ALL of your clients, and not to offer any incentive in return to stay on the ethical side of things. You should also confirm with your compliance department that you are following the regulations in regard to online reviews.
Monitor Your Social Media
People love to talk. And unfortunately, negative comments seem to spread faster and further on social media than positive comments. Again, while you can’t erase (or even respond directly) to those comments, it’s helpful to know what’s being said about you. How you react also depends on where the comments are posted.
For example, if someone comments on your page or one of your posts, you may have the ability to hide or delete that comment. This can prevent negative feedback from escalating. If the comment is not on your site and you have no way of controlling its visibility, then it’s best to move on. Don’t be tempted to respond, no matter how petty or inaccurate the comment might be.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is an essential part of any digital marketing strategy for financial advisors. This is also essential for financial advisor digital reputation management. This is because it’s good to have some control over the content showing up in organic search results. In order to do that, you need good SEO.
This is comprised of your website’s optimization, the relevance and timeliness of your content (meaning it’s been updated recently), and how you have positioned your site when compared to competitors who may be using the same keywords and phrases in their SEO efforts. SEO can also be used as a tool to bury old or possibly negative content.
Even one negative review that has been shared on other sites and gained traction can dominate your search results. In order to combat this, you can implement a positive SEO strategy and solid content to make it the content that appears ahead of an old negative review.
Optimize Your Online Presence
Content isn’t only good for SEO. If your online appearance is polished, professional, and optimized for mobile it will also be a valuable resource for clients and prospective clients. This can only help your overall online reputation. In fact, having stellar content and an easily navigable site are ways to increase your positive reviews and feedback.
And don’t forget about social media! Often seen as an extension of your website, your social media channels should be updated and serve as a valuable resource for visitors. Be sure you’re responding to private messages and monitoring any other activity in order to stay ahead of anything that is potentially detrimental to your reputation.
In the end, managing your online reputation as a financial advisor is a vital part of a successful digital marketing strategy.