How advisor Brittney Castro used social media to successfully connect with womenArticle added by Amy McIlwain on July 11, 2014
Amy McIlwain

Amy McIlwain

Denver, CO

Joined: August 26, 2010

I recently had the chance to sit down with Brittney Castro in Los Angeles to talk social media and digital marketing. Brittney is a certified financial planner and the CEO of Financially Wise Women. She has been incredibly successful using social media as a marketing tool, despite the restrictions and limitations that the financial services industry brings. Check out our interview below!

Amy: I am thrilled to finally meet face-to-face with the wonderful Brittney Castro. Do you want to tell us a little about you and your business, Financially Wise Women?

Brittney: I am a certified financial planner and the founder and CEO of Financially Wise Women. Financially Wise Women is a financial planning firm for women based here in Los Angeles. I specialize in working with entrepreneurial women and help them embrace their money, begin to love their money and begin to learn personal finance management in a very fun and personal way.

Amy: How did you get started in this industry?

Brittney: I was always the kid growing up who enjoyed math, but I also had a vision of owning my own business. In college, I studied Business Economics and I learned about other financial professions; so after college, I decided to give financial planning a shot. Quickly, I learned that I really enjoyed financial planning, and I saw how I could help people, do something in finance and have my own business. It's been a great journey learning how to do work that I love.

Amy: You are very active on social media. What is one of the things that drew you toward social media initially and helped you get started?

Brittney: Being a younger financial planner, I saw the huge power that social media has in terms of marketing to your clients and prospects. Also, when I decided to specialize in working with women, I did a lot of research and found that women were actively using social media. I have always believed that if you want to bring in more business, then you should go to where your customers are, which in this case was online. All of my ideal clients were already using social media, so it made sense business-wise for me to move into this space.

Since then, I've been using social media for my business and it has really been amazing in terms of business growth.

Amy: Compliance is always the number one concern I hear from advisors who are considering getting started on social media. Can you explain how you were able to begin compliantly engaging with your clients on social?

Brittney: When I started working at LPL Financial, I had a lot more compliance freedom in terms of using social media than at previous companies. But I still had to learn how to use the system. Everything had to be approved — emails, videos scripts, blog posts.

Communicate what you are trying to do. Most compliance departments have no idea what advisors are doing on social media, so with a little education, you can get them on your side and then figure out the best way to navigate through those regulations. Now that Financially Wise Women is an RIA, I have more freedom, but it still took time to learn the systems.
Amy: Do you have any additional tips that you would give advisors surrounding compliance?

Brittney: Reach out to your compliance team and build a relationship with your compliance department. That relationship is invaluable. When your compliance team is on your side, and you really communicate what you are trying to do with these platforms, they can see that there are more possibilities and are willing to work with you to find them. I think that most compliance departments generally default to "no" when new tools and platforms arise, so with a little education and conversation, you can maybe open the conversation up and change that answer to a "yes." This approach has worked for me.

Amy: How much time does it take you to run and maintain your social networks effectively? What sorts of tools and resources have you found that have helped you to streamline the social process?

Brittney: That's a great question, because I know that time is a major roadblock for advisors who are hesitant about social media. Just like any marketing endeavor you do, however much time you want to devote to it is what you’ll receive back. If you only devote an hour each week, you can’t expect huge results. For me though, it is a huge part of my marketing, so I spend 10-20 hours per week on social media and digital marketing. Because of that effort, I have received incredible results. Each week, I have leads coming in through my website. I’m always giving, giving, giving value on social media and through my blog, so when people are ready to engage in financial planning, they think of me. Then they can easily come to my website and request a meeting. It is all automated.

Also, I am very organized. I have a detailed editorial calendar and I am consistently tracking my progress and success rates. I use Hootsuite to schedule a lot of tweets and posts. Just like anything in your business, if you develop a system, you are going to save a lot of time. I allocate time in my calendar everyday for social media activity, and that works for me.

Amy: You say that digital marketing “works for you.” What are some of those success stories that you can share with us and how do you measure your success?

Brittney: I actually received my biggest client online. She found me through my blog and website.

But for me, I measure ROI a little differently. I am not only concerned with direct clients, but with ways to build the Financially Wise Women brand and credibility through speaking events and the media. For example, I work with a production company here in L.A. and I host their show now. That came from social media. They saw all the YouTube videos I was filming and sharing on social media. It’s a huge opportunity and another revenue stream for my business.

I do not have a PR team, but I do have a digital foundation in place and am constantly nurturing those relationships by updating on a regular basis. I’ve learned that consistency is very important. I get new leads and speaking engagements every week. It is now a well-oiled machine.

Amy: In my experience, this kind of success doesn’t happen overnight. How long would you say it took you to start seeing results from social media?

Brittney: It took me about six months. I built up my blog and then I was able to get active on Facebook and Twitter. It took six months of consistently posting on my blog and on social before I saw my first client come through all that. It has built momentum since then, just like anything.

I figured out what works for me along the way. I’ve been doing it for about two and a half years now, and I would say that it took about one and a half years to get to the point where I stopped asking for referrals, because people were coming to me.
Amy: Oftentimes, when I see advisors who are just getting started on social, they tend to post the same boring, regurgitated financial content. One of the things I love about your content is that you spice it up and show your personality to make it interesting.

Brittney: When I started my blog, that was something I really wanted to focus on. I wanted to showcase my own voice and connect heart-to-heart with the community I was building. Originally, I started by mixing my posts with outside content, but now everything is me and my voice, because that is important to my brand. I want women to see me as their friend and feel comfortable with the subject of money.That’s what works for me, and I know that it’s not going to work for everybody. But because I have been so personable in all of my content, I have been able to build a really strong brand and strong relationships.

People want to work with people they like. It can be scary to open up, be vulnerable and share your hobbies and interests at first, but if you can do it, the success rate is going to be a lot better, not only in business but in your life. You will feel greater fulfillment.

Amy: What sort of take away would you give for the advisor that is contemplating getting started on social media, but is a little timid?

Brittney: Start small and pick one thing you want to focus on. Make sure you know who you are and who your brand is, because that will make the process easier. Once you are clear on that, then you can hire professionals. I worked with a lot of different professionals to figure out the best approaches for my niche.

Start small, figure out the platforms, build your brand, and hire great people to help you!
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