Social media profiles can be a valuable business tool for financial advisors, but it can also be overwhelming. So, we’re breaking it down by social media channel with a step-by-step guide to help you decide which channel(s) is right for you and your business.
The first channel we’re going to explore is Facebook – how to get started and maintain a presence that attracts and retains followers.
Step 1: Establish a Business Page Separate from Your Personal Page
Facebook business pages are different from personal pages in a number of ways, but here are the most relevant to financial advisors:
- Personal pages show your personal information and photos, etc., which is important to keep separate from your business.
- Business pages have access to Facebook Audience Insights, which allow businesses to gain valuable information on their followers, including demographics, location and much more.
- Business pages also have access to Facebook ads, which allow you to target specific audiences to send your messages to.
- Personal pages are limited to 5,000 “friends,” whereas a business has no limit of “followers.”
For these main reasons, it’s important to keep a separate online persona from your personal page. The good news is that with a business page, you can also assign other users as admins (i.e. other staff members) to help manage the business page.
Step 2: Customize your page
Like personal pages, business Facebook pages allow for customization and personalization. This includes the cover photo, profile photo and contact information. Many social media users expect Facebook pages to include all of the relevant information they need to decide to do business with you, as well as how to contact you. A best practice is to put as much thought into your Facebook page creation as you would your business website. Be sure the contact information section is complete and accurate, and be sure to use a current and professional headshot of yourself. Include all necessary disclosures and logos and keep content current and relevant.
Step 3: Know the Rules
As a financial advisor, you’re no stranger to rules and regulations in your day-to-day business. The same goes for social media. Defer to your firm’s social media policy to be sure you’re in compliance with the company rules. If you’re independent, it’s a good idea to establish a social media policy for your firm and share with all affected parties. There are some major practices to avoid, including direct selling and any discussion of clients’ personal financial matters online.
Step 4: Add Content Regularly
Having relevant and frequent content is a vital part of managing a successful Facebook page. And while it’s recommended to keep your personal and private Facebook pages separate, it’s OK to include some personal information on your business page to show the human side of both yourself and the business. Just be sure it’s appropriate and not too personal. Perhaps photos of you and/or your family attending local charity or sporting events or supporting local businesses.
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Be sure to post often, as Facebook moves fast and you don’t want to be buried in someone’s news feed where your content will never be seen. Also, be careful not to post too often. That’s a quick way to get many to unfollow you altogether. While there’s no magic number for posting, you can get a feel for what’s right for you by using Facebook Page Insights. This tool allows you to learn more about your content and how it performs throughout the day and week. For example, perhaps your posts do better on Monday mornings but your photos get the most views on Saturday nights. With this information, you can schedule when you post what type of content to make the most of your efforts. And if posting photos on Facebook on a Saturday night doesn’t sound like fun, there are automated scheduling tools available to help with that. Such tools include Hootsuite and Buffer (there are many others as well), which allow you to monitor your social feeds in real time, as well as schedule content well in advance of the day you want it to publish to your Facebook page.
Step 5: Engage with Your Audience
Social media profiles for financial advisors are a two-way communication platform, so engaging with your followers is essential. You can accomplish this by holding polls on your page, or simply asking a benign question to get the audience talking, both to you and to each other, such as, “What’s your #1 retirement goal?” Also, be sure to respond to questions and comments. If the comment is of a personal nature, be sure to take it offline and through the appropriate channel (i.e. email, phone call, etc.). This is to protect both the user and your business from any regulatory or privacy concerns. People love to engage on social media, and getting them to interact is potentially getting them one step closer to becoming a customer. If they’re already a customer, this is also a great way to build loyalty.
Facebook can be an important part of your overall social media marketing strategy, and these tips can help you get started right away with minimal effort. Remember to make a plan and stick with it, and you’ll start to see the benefits of utilizing your Facebook business page!