Social media insights (based on real data!) for the financial professional, Pt. 3Article added by Jennifer DeTroye on October 18, 2013
Jennifer DeTroye

Jennifer DeTroye

Bryn Mawr, PA

Joined: October 01, 2013

Editor's note: This three-part series from The American College details which prospects are on social media and exactly why advisors can no longer ignore the elephant in the room. You can read part one here and part two here. You can find a complimentary link to the full report at the end of this article.

Referrals and the rules

Social media not suitable for referrals. Yet.

Forty-nine percent of consumers have an unfavorable view of LinkedIn being used to ask for referrals. And 63 percent of consumers have an unfavorable reaction to being asked for referrals via Facebook. Social media simply isn’t there yet. Consumers are happy to refer a mechanic or hairdresser via social media, but referral requests for a financial advisor don’t happen online. No matter the social network, the arena is just too private.

Mind your manners while you mine your network

Consumers saying yes to reviews ... just don't forget the rules

The bad news

The SEC and FINRA limit and in some cases prohibit recommendations and/or endorsements. And even though the rules have recently softened a bit, many larger companies continue to enforce a “no fly zone” in this space. Always consult your company’s compliance department to ensure you’re playing by the rules.

The good news

Don’t worry. Even if official recommendations are off limits, you can easily leverage a client’s favorable opinion by shifting the conversation to referrals with traditional prospecting language.
Breaking down the barriers

Advisors see the trend coming

Seventy-nine percent of advisors feel restricted by compliance or legal issues, and 79 percent worry about privacy and security. Despite these concerns, financial professionals can see social media’s potential and seem open-minded about the future. Over half have spoken with colleagues about social media marketing potential, and 55 percent think it can be a critical business tool.

But they’re not taking action yet. Only 21 percent have hired a consultant and just 11 percent are making social media outreach part of an employee’s job.

... and are seeking pre-approved content and training

Although only 23 percent of advisors have a social media strategy and only 50 percent report that their company currently provides this content, a significant group thinks that pre-approved messaging, workshops, webinars and online content tools would help them engage effectively in social media as well as alleviate security, privacy and legal concerns.
Financial companies: How to arm advisors for social media success

For financial institutions, a social media strategy has become mandatory. It boosts brand awareness and builds community and goodwill. Advisors and agents are (and should be) moving more slowly. But they can only be effective, safe and credible with stellar support.

Top 5 ways companies can support advisors:
    1. Establish rules for appropriate use
    2. Help advisors define a strategy, a plan and metrics
    3. Consider a plug-andplay advisor website solution
    4. Provide convenient, compliant, preapproved messaging
    5. Host trainings on how to use social media effectively
Regardless of social media engagement, financial professionals must continue moving toward technology. There’s a minimum acceptable standard and the next generation of clients — if you want their business — will insist you meet it.

Here’s a link to the full report, including several social media strategies specifically aimed at advisors.
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