Marketing Tips for Financial Professionals and Insurance Agents: Social Media

Social Media and the Financial Professional

 
Five Reasons to Have a Marketing Plan

Are you among the majority of financial services professionals who are reluctant to use social media because of compliance concerns? Are regulatory rules — or a lack thereof — from the SEC and FINRA keeping you from potentially taking advantage of social media for connecting with prospects, building client relationships, and growing your business?

Part of the solution is through technology that addresses the regulatory requirements, such as data archiving, secure storage, and monitoring. There are companies that have developed (and continue to perfect) the technology to perform these tasks. Without these capabilities, many broker-dealers are reluctant to permit you to use social media.

You need to ensure that you and your firm are protected from regulatory breaches that could result in severe fines or having your privileges revoked. Find out whether your firm has, or is working with, any vendors to develop technology solutions for social media. If not, you, and your colleagues, may want to suggest they do.

In the meantime, while your firm may prohibit access from the workplace to social media sites, you need to keep in mind that you are also liable for business-related social media communication that takes place from home or on a mobile device. Check with your firm regarding your personal social media activity to make sure you are not violating your firm's policies and procedures.

Once your firm allows you to use social media, here are some things you may want to consider.

Keep It Simple

If you are new to social media or have limited time, you probably want to focus on one network. But many people may use more than one social network, so it might be helpful to ask your clients which social network they prefer and which one they would like to use to communicate with you. For example, LinkedIn is popular with professionals and may represent an opportunity to build your credibility, gather followers, and build trust over time by providing answers to posted questions or initiating dialogues of your own.

Be Consistent But Brief

Social media is a form of branding, so you want your social media presence to be consistent with your brand. You want to ensure that your photograph, biography, logo, company name, and other marketing materials are consistent across all media in which you brand yourself. Branding should not only put your name in front of people but should help establish your financial expertise.

Consider that you will need to set aside time on a regular basis to update your content. Posting timely and relevant content can help establish your expertise. You should focus on delivering value, such as financial-related news (link to timely web articles) and market commentary, either your own or providing links to web content, rather than product pitches. For example, if your business focus is retirement strategies for small businesses, you may want to post more content related to that rather than saving for college. But don't overdo it. Keeping up your social media presence should not consume your time and distract you from your other business activities. Plus, be considerate of the amount of information you are posting. You don't want people to feel so overwhelmed that they tune you out by hiding your posts.

Be Available

Take steps to increase the likelihood that you can be found when people search on a social media site and through Internet search engines. Choose keywords and phrases that describe you, your business, and your expertise and work them into your social media profile. You also want to make sure that you do not restrict your profile, or people won't be able to find you.

Because the idea behind using social media is to connect with clients, prospects, and others, you want to log in frequently to check on their posts and possibly "like" and comment on them. You also can use this as an opportunity to see what is going on in your clients' lives, such as birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, births, and job promotions or new jobs. Although you may acknowledge these events on social media sites, you may want to consider making a more personal contact through a telephone call or a personal note, especially if you have not touched base with the client in a while. This can present an opportunity to discuss with them any changes to their financial situations and additional needs.

While social media presents new opportunities, don't forgo the more traditional means of keeping in touch with your clients that you may have used in the past. There is still a lot to be said for a personal touch.

Social media marketing starts with high-quality content. SocialSpeaks is the solution.

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