7 top social media myths for financial advisors debunked
By Amy McIlwain
Financial Social Media Marketing
Despite compliance concerns, financial service professionals are successfully using social media to gain and maintain business. The challenge for advisors has been to determine the best way to use social media, while combating common social media myths in the financial services industry.
Here are the top seven social media myths debunked.
Myth #1: There are too many compliance issues for me to benefit from social media.
While it’s true that financial advisors have a unique set of challenges around using social platforms, it is absolutely possible to integrate social media into the marketing mix — and consequently benefit from it. Talk to your compliance officer or broker-dealer and they will be able to tell you exactly what you can and cannot do, but here are a few basics to help you stay compliant.
- Create a social media policy.
- Understand the differences between static and interactive content, since they have different approval processes.
- Don’t discuss any subjects on social media that you wouldn’t discuss in front of a public audience of potential clients.
- Generic quotes/statistics
- PR exposure
- Third-party content
- Your own (pre-approved) content
- Office and staff photos/cartoons
According to a recent survey conduced by Finect, more than half of investors want to connect with financial advisors through social media but cannot find them. Not only do investors want to connect, but they are also more likely to engage and interact. Social media is a great way to stay top-of-mind and relevant with these clients.
Myth #3: Social media doesn’t provide any benefit.
Increased exposure, increased website traffic, and a deeper connection with clients are just three of the benefits reported in a new survey from Social Media Examiner. Others include a rise in search engine rankings and lead generation, as well as reduced marketing expenses. We know that social media, if used properly, offers many great benefits for financial advisors. Myth #4: More followers always equals more success.
Strategically speaking, more is not always better; better is better. A handful of highly targeted and engaged followers are going to be more beneficial and gain more traction than 100 not-quite-as-targeted followers who are never engaged. In fact, in the Finect survey mentioned earlier, respondents actually said they are less interested in the number of followers an advisor has than they are in the relevancy of content they post.
Myth #5: I should ignore or delete negative feedback.
When you have a public social media presence, there is always a chance someone is going to say something negative; it happens even to the best of us. But the worst thing you can do is to ignore it. The beauty of being social is you can show that you’re listening and that you care about your customers. Always reply publicly with a heartfelt, non-confrontational response along with any relevant policies you have in place. Invite folks to contact you to privately discuss the matter at hand.
Myth #6: I don’t need to be strategic with social media.
Social media marketing may sound like all fun and games, but today it's a key component within any marketing strategy. As such, advisors should not only create a social media policy, but also a social media strategy for your business. Think through goals, track where new users are coming from, review actions they took and calculate the value of that activity to better future efforts.
Myth #7: I can’t track my social media ROI.
Direct leads from social media can be difficult to measure. Prospects very rarely will a look you up on Facebook for the first time and immediately say, “Yes, I want to be their client. I will call them now and tell them I found them on Facebook.” Although the process (generally) does not work like this, you can still look to various social media and Web traffic indicators to track and gauge the return on your marketing investment. All the major social media platforms have tools to help you track your analytics, and below are a few key performance indicators to look to within those tools:
- Engagement (number of active followers, shares, re-tweets, comments, mentions)
- Traffic data to your website (through Google Analytics)