Social media best practices for advisors
Tips to meet clients where they are—on social media
Today about 70% of Americans use social media.1 So it's no surprise that financial advisors are increasingly using social media to create a more robust online presence and connect with clients.
When used appropriately, social media can help you position yourself as an expert, maintain strong client relationships, and extend your professional network. If it's not already, social media can be critical tool in reaching your clients—and prospects.
Here are four of the most popular social media channels, how they are traditionally used, and how to best use each one in your practice:
Facebook: Community connection. Stay local—share articles and news, and promote events in your area. Spark conversation by posting questions, polls, and tips, and stay on top of important events in your clients' lives. If you combine personal and professional networks, be mindful of sharing what is appropriate for both audiences.
Twitter: Discussion. Link to timely articles, post original commentary, and comment on, like, or retweet other Twitter posts to engage with industry influencers, clients, and prospects. Twitter is also a great source of content that you can share in other channels, such as LinkedIn.
Instagram: Visuals. Post images or short videos explaining concepts or offering guidance on topics such as which household items warrant more insurance.
LinkedIn: Networking. Share articles and write posts to establish yourself as an expert, stay in touch with clients, and connect with potential prospects and business partners. Commenting thoughtfully on others' posts can help establish your credentials as an expert.
Among all the social networks, LinkedIn boasts the user base that is the most affluent: Approximately 40 million users fit the mass affluent category, with an estimated $100,000 to $1 million in liquid financial assets.2
To make the most of your LinkedIn profile, employ these best practices:
Create and maintain your personal brand
Your brand defines how others see you, and crafting it carefully can help you stand out. Consider your advising style, the type of clients you work with, and the role you play in their lives. Weave those ideas into the story you tell about yourself. For example, if you work with local business owners, perhaps cultivate a brand that's driven by deep community roots. Over time, make sure your posts consistently reflect your brand attributes. And be aware that, depending on your settings, others may be able to see who you follow and what you comment on, which may affect their perception of you.
Polish your profile
Your profile is more than a resume. It's an opportunity to showcase your approach to client relationships and the qualities that make you unique, as well as your professional accomplishments. Describe what you're all about in the headline—go beyond a simple job title. And in the summary, introduce yourself with personality: Tell your story, describe your values, and explain what clients can expect from working with you.
Target your audience
Your connections are likely a mix of clients and prospects, as well as your peers and other colleagues. There's nothing wrong with sharing a variety of content that speaks to different subsets of your audience, but make sure to keep your intended reader in mind with each post. When you write a post or share an article, think about who you're trying to reach and tailor your message to grab attention.
You can increase profile views and boost engagement with your posts by posting at least a few times per week (but it's okay to start off slowly). When you post, keep an eye on likes and comments, and be sure to respond as necessary. As you become a more regular user, consider tracking engagement to see if there are any trends. Then experiment to find the ideal topic mix for your connections and followers.
Make the most of your connections
Build your network by connecting with clients, as well as their families as appropriate. Send LinkedIn invitations with personalized messages to former classmates and colleagues, and look for others you know and invite them to connect. The right connections can lead you to find new prospects and maybe even make introductions that help you grow your business.
There are a variety of ways to strengthen client relationships and increase your digital presence. Social media is another channel you can use to meet clients where they are, connect with new prospects and make the important connections that can help your practice thrive.
Take the first step: Create a social media policy
A social media policy can help you and members of your firm avoid sharing posts that are inappropriate or raise compliance issues—an especially important point if employees or contractors craft posts for your practice. Even if you've been hesitant about using social media in the past, take the first step and team up with your compliance and legal contact to create a policy. With the right policy you can produce compliant posts that achieve your goals.
Follow these key tips when establishing your social media usage policy:
- Put the policy in writing. State your firm's rules on social media pertaining to business-related and personal posts.
- Provide examples. For each rule, offer an example that illustrates what employees should or shouldn't post.
- Follow SEC guidance. Ensure that your policy follows SEC guidelines, including avoiding posting client testimonials or recommending specific products or services.
- Train employees. Give an overview of your social media policy, including best practices and what to avoid for legal, compliance, and branding reasons. Have employees sign an acknowledgment that they've read and will follow the policy.
- Post the policy so employees can consult it. Make the policy easy to find, and share updates or reminders as needed.
- Consider employee profiles. Make sure your policy outlines how profiles should be used, including leveraging skills, endorsements, and recommendations.
For more information about creating a social media policy, read our Compliance Review white paper.
What you can do next
- Inbox on overload? Find email best practices to enhance your client communications.
- Ready to start marketing? Participate in the Forming Your Foundation series, part of our Virtual Practice Management program. At your own pace, you'll get expert guidance to help you focus on your ideal client and communicating your value.
- Consider a custodian that invests in your success. If you're thinking about becoming an independent advisor, contact us to learn more about the benefits of a Schwab custodial relationship.
1. Pew Research Center, “Social media fact sheet.”
2. LinkedIn Marketing Solutions, “Your audience is on LinkedIn.”