Digital marketing fundamentals – integrating social media

This is the third post in a series of articles on Digital Marketing fundamentals for Financial Institutions. Last week’s post explained why content is still king in financial marketing and highlighted a few outcomes of good content marketing, briefly covered blogging and compliance requirements, and made the case for why content quantity is now more important that quality.

Now I would like to talk about the second key element essential to any turn-key Digital Marketing strategies.

Digital marketing – Integrating Social Media

It has been well-established that, in the digital world, if you want to be found, connected and relevant, you must have an online presence, and the driver of social engagement, lead generation, website traffic and referred leads is social media. For much of the next generation, and an increasing number of boomers, you simply don’t exist unless you are actively engaged online.

According to a recent Putnam Investments survey of more than 700 advisors, the number of financial advisors using social media has been steadily increasing for the last five years, with 73 percent of men and 82 percent of women now on board. 66 percent reported that its use has led to significant client growth averaging nearly $2 million in assets. LinkedIn continues to be the primary go-to site for advisors, but the survey indicates an increase in activity on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

The marked increase in social media use by advisors is not surprising considering the significant increase in social media use by mass affluent and high-net-worth clients. A study by LinkedIn reveals that nearly 90 percent of mass affluent users ($100,000 to $1,000,000 in investable assets) indicate they are highly engaged with financial companies and that nearly half are engaged with them through social media. One of the main reasons they cite is to research advisors and firms to help in their decision to work with one. It is also well-established that social media is the preferred form of contact and communication for an increasing number of mass affluent and high-net-worth clients.

With a social media presence, financial advisors create the opportunity to engage with potential clients wherever they are. And, with the ability to fine-tune their presence to the markets they want to target, they can narrow their focus and sharpen their message for those they want to attract. The objective of social media engagement is not to “sell” or even offer your services; rather it is to establish yourself as an authority (and a friendly person) who is willing to engage with other over topics that are important to them. An increasing number of advisors are starting to engage on a more personal level on social networks such as Facebook. Regardless, the goal is to increase visibility, make connections, and cultivate relationships.

As it relates to the digital strategy, social media plays a critical role in delivering content and driving traffic to the advisors’ websites. When advisors offer up a relevant article on a social media site, it will link the interested user back to the website where they can continue to learn more about the advisor. It is through a proactive social media campaign where advisors will develop most of their contacts that can be converted into legitimate leads.

 Did you know? 28% of investment professionals had investigated an issue based on something they had seen on Twitter and 12% had made an investment decision after reading Twitter. Read full report

Easing the Social Media Compliance Burden

With the release of FINRA guidelines pertaining to social media use, many firms have been able to develop protocols that are easily followed. Some firms have introduced social media training and coaching along with tools and resources advisors can use while accounting for compliance, legal and branding issues. With the introduction of new technology, firms can now automatically monitor and archive online posts that can be reviewed by their compliance departments. Recognizing the significance a professional, well-orchestrated social media strategy can have on business development, most firms are moving more quickly to developing solutions for greater ease of use.

Next week article will close this series with Responsive Website Design and my final thoughts on Digital Marketing in Financial Services.

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Please Note: this article is for informational purposes only. We strongly encourage you to verify any content and information you use with your own compliance department or legal counsel.

Written by Loic Jeanjean
Loic is the Head of Sales and Marketing at Advisor Websites where he is responsible for continuous refinement, testing, and execution of the company’s go to market strategy. This includes optimizing the company’s sales approach (direct sales, partner based, web-based, etc.) and its implementation. He is a member of the Financial Planning Association® (FPA®).