19 Jul Making the most of Facebook for your financial advisory practice
Of all the major social media platforms, Facebook seems to be the one most often questioned as to its value for financial advisers. While there are certainly pros and cons to the site, the fact remains that with 936 million daily active users as of March 31 (and 1.44 billion monthly active users), Facebook is not to be ignored. With this audience, it is hard to argue against its place in your marketing arsenal.
So, the question remains: How do you effectively manage this tool? While it is relatively safe to assume people are not using Facebook as their primary source for financial advice, they are using the site, which presents a great opportunity for advisers in the areas of branding, marketing and engagement.
Establishing your presence on the site is the first step in making the platform work for you and your practice. Many of our clients question whether they should have a personal profile, a business page or both (with some advisory firms making that decision for you by outlining which type of pages are allowed).
With a “personal” page, an adviser has the opportunity to allow “friends” a glimpse into their life and to showcase family, hobbies, interests and even professional happenings. With personal pages, however, you will want to decide who you are comfortable connecting with (e.g., staying away from total strangers) and what type of content you are comfortable sharing.
Facebook “business” pages offer advisers another opportunity to brand their business and get their name out there. Recent changes to Facebook seem to make it harder and harder for a business’ posts to be seen by its audience (as preference is given to those who pay for ads and sponsored content). But with smart, strategic marketing, you can still make your mark.
Personal vs. Business
I vote for both! You can best leverage the power of Facebook by building a solid personal page, where you can engage with friends and associates and establish a robust business page to share information with a broader audience. This will create a larger digital footprint for you and your practice.
Once your pages are set up, how do you make the most of your efforts?
Building Your Audience
• Start by building your followers:
• Invite your Facebook friends to like your business page
• Send out an e-blast asking clients and prospects to join your Facebook community
• Add a Facebook icon with a hyperlink to your email auto signature
• Ensure your website has a link to your Facebook page (along with your other social media profiles)
• Make sure each of your social media channels contains links to each other
As your audience starts to grow, make regular status updates to your page. As viewers aren’t typically visiting your page seeking advice, not all of your posts need to be about financial topics. Include articles relevant to your target market, motivational quotes and pictures from client appreciation events or charitable events. Share information on speaking engagements or networking events in which you will be participating. Include pictures or video to help your post have a greater reach.
Facebook analytics can also give you great insight into which of your status updates are garnering the most engagement so you can craft similar posts.
Pay attention to what your Facebook friends and followers are talking about and participate in those conversations. This can be a tremendous way to build or to strengthen relationships with those you are connected to. After all, people do business with those they like and trust, and sometimes the commonalities we learn online (such as a love for animals, or a passion for a particular cause) might be just the thing to steer someone in your direction.
As a personal example, I met a gentleman at a speaking engagement I gave some months ago, who I later connected with online (as happens with many of the advisers I meet at various events and conferences). After we connected, we learned that we, along with our children, were all competitive in the sport of taekwondo. That commonality created an instant talking point, and after engaging in a few fun discussions around the topic, we moved on to talking business and are currently working to schedule my facilitating a workshop for his firm. You never know what opportunities your online connections may present.