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Niche Marketing and Social Media for Financial Advisers

Forbes conducted a social media usage survey within the financial planning industry in 2017 and found that 85 percent of advisers use social media to grow their business and connect with prospects. Of this percentage, the majority said that using digital media shortened the buying cycle.

Like its counterparts in the digital realm, social media stands as a strong arm of the inbound marketing umbrella. However, much of it is still misunderstood, largely due to the variety of platforms and their general target markets. Depending on your particular niche, you may do much better on Facebook than Twitter, or perhaps even Pinterest or Reddit.

Here is a quick check-up guide to help you determine where you should be on social media, what times you should post based on that platform, and, as a bonus, some tools to help you manage your social media presence.

Before You Pick a Platform

We’re really big on niche marketing at the CWA Network, so much so that our founder John Enright did a full personality test to best determine what profession he should seek clients within—so that’s exactly what I suggest you do for your business over all—know your demographic inside and out. Unless you have a foundation set in your business plan (your ideal client profile, mission statement, etc.) then it doesn’t matter where you post your content if it isn’t geared towards the right people. This seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many advisers don’t “niche themselves” and cast an incredibly broad net.

Is Facebook for Me?

If your business plan is heavier on the 401k/retirement side of things, Facebook is your goldmine. Aging boomers spend a decent chunk of time on Facebook. The best part of Facebook advertising (should you go the paid route) is that it’s much cheaper than advertising on Google Ads. The amount of targeting options available is incredible. For example, you could set up an advertisement that targets 45 to 65-year-olds who live within 30 miles of your office and have interests that are directly related to retirement.

Best times to post on Facebook: Saturdays and Sundays around 9 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., times that all have higher engagement according to a study done by CoSchedule.

Is Twitter for Me?

One of the best strategies for advisers on Twitter is simply to curate content. Sure, you could engage with potential clients (and profiles they may follow), but Twitter is a fickle and fast beast. If you don’t have the time of day to actively engage in ongoing conversation, the content curation route may be best for you. Of course, feel free to post your own content but gathering up articles and links of interest to your demographic is a solid strategy.

Best times to post on Twitter: Wednesdays at noon, but this could vary depending on your niche.

Is Pinterest for Me?

If your demographic is over 80 percent women, then you’ll want to spend some time on Pinterest. Creating content that is geared specifically towards personal finance and budgeting will go a long way. Just be careful to utilize a keyword strategy so that your content doesn’t fall into the incredibly broad “penny pinching” and “thrifty” categories.

Best times to post on Pinterest: Pinterest varies wildly from its counterparts because it’s an image-based platform like Instagram. However, there is a consensus that “pinning” is usually done on Saturdays between 8 and 11 p.m., but 2 a.m. and 4 p.m. any day is also considered fine. Avoid work hours.

Is LinkedIn for Me?

If your client profile has a heavy professional element to it (and it most likely will), targeting business pages where they hang out is a good strategy to have. Creating a Company Showcase page for your practice is the first step as a passive and constant place to show your content, but actively seeking out groups related to your demographic is highly recommended.

Best times to post on LinkedIn: Midweek (Tuesday through Thursday) from 5 to 6 p.m.

Is Google+ for Me?

It’s very unlikely that you’ll find your traffic on Google+ because it’s viewed as one of the less active (community-wise) platforms. CoSchedule found that 90 percent of users on Google+ are lurkers and won’t interact with your page. However, from a SEO perspective (see my last Practice Management Blog post), having a Google+ local business page is incredibly important. Firstly, it helps validate that you are, in fact, a real business. But it also will help prospects find you on the map, contact you easily from their mobile devices and give you that very important validation that being on a Google listing brings.

Is YouTube for Me?

We believe that advisers need to first educate their clients and not worry so much about selling to them. Our job is to help them buy. That said, if you fancy yourself in front of the camera and want a more personal face-time approach to finding and interacting with your clients and prospects, then having regular content uploaded to YouTube is a great idea. Bonus; Like Google+, having a YouTube channel helps with SEO.

Best times to upload a new video: This one is up to you, depending on the content you’re sharing. If it’s more educational in tone, uploading on Mondays generally gets better viewership. If you’re trying to get a call to action completed, try for Thursdays. Industry tip: the same rule applies for sending out emails to your list.

Tools You Can Use

Content scheduling tools can help free up your time to do your client work and analytics tools can help you find out if your efforts are worthwhile. Here are a few:

Content scheduling and engagement
Hootsuite
Buffer
Feedtable
Sprout Social
Social Pilot
CoSchedule
Feedly

Analytics

Buzzsumo
Simply Measured
Keyhole
Reputology
Brandwatch
Google Analytics

An Important Note on Compliance

You know there are rules for traditional marketing. Rules also apply to digital marketing ventures. If you need to know more, make sure to review what FINRA and the SEC says, or check in with your compliance officer before any design or piece of content goes to the cutting room floor.

Kristina Rocci

Kristina Rocci is the web content manager for the CWA Network, a Rochester, N.Y.-based financial adviser coaching business that has developed a turnkey practice management business plan for the high net wealth, 401K and Mass Affluent/Gen XY markets. She originally hails from the fin-tech world in Toronto with 7 years of digital marketing under her belt. You can learn all about how the CWA Network can help adviser and planners alike at www.cwanetwork.com.


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5 Tips to Help You Take Charge of Your Social Media Strategy

If your biggest challenge as a financial planner is finding and acquiring new clients, you’re not alone. Nearly two-thirds of financial planners recently surveyed by the Financial Planning Association listed “client acquisition” as their top challenge.

And yet, the money and skillset required to come up with an effective prospecting—and what it might take to execute the plan—can make attracting new clients seem impossible.

While certainly not a magic bullet on its own, social media can be a cost-effective way to build your personal and professional brand and connect with potential clients in a genuine, authentic manner.

This post offers five tips to help clear up common misconceptions about using social media in business and to help you begin building a social-driven prospecting strategy from the ground up.

1.) Recognize the Uses of Each Platform. One mistake when using social media is to immediately build a profile on every platform without thinking through how to create or curate content for each separate entity.

Placing the exact same content on multiple platforms can make your brand look lazy and out of touch. What works on Instagram may be the opposite of what drives engagement on LinkedIn. Further, creating and curating the amount of content required to run a functional blog/website and generate activity on four to five separate social platforms is simply not an option for most small businesses.

Avoid the temptation to build a profile on any social outlet until you have worked out why and how you plan to use the platform. Here are a few tips on some of the heaviest hitters:

LinkedIn is primarily a professional network, and the content that performs best on the platform follows suit. Investopedia reports in its article “LinkedIn: How Advisors Can Use It to Grow” that nearly three-quarters of U.S. advisers maintain a profile, so it may be a good place to look at focusing your initial efforts.

Facebook and Instagram are more personal, with Instagram focusing heavily on imagery. This is not to say that you can’t or shouldn’t have a profile on these platforms, as many advisers do—it all depends on the type of clients you’re trying to reach, the content you are looking to create and/or share and whether you can support many platforms at once.

Twitter is essentially a newsfeed and, while the content required for each post is smaller in volume (140-character limit), the platform requires a larger volume of posts to maintain a semblance of activity.

2.) Find Your Formula. Businesses that use the social platforms for promotion often treat the content as a one-way street to aggressively push product and sales-related information. In his blog post “Why Content is Fire and Social Media is Gasoline,” marketing guru Jay Baer said, “Social media was not intended to be the world’s shortest press release.” I believe social media was designed to replicate human conversation, and building a healthy following is dependent on how well you tell your personal and professional story.

While advisers are somewhat limited in how much they can engage in two-way discussions on social media, one area that can make a major difference is in how you curate and deliver content. If your profile summary, original posts and retweets on Twitter reflect the tone of a sales brochure, you risk driving people away.

Instead, as you’re crafting your profile, writing your first few posts and deciding what to retweet or share, think about how you prefer to get to know someone when you meet in a face-to-face conversation. What do you want people to know about you? What are the things that are most important to you? What defines you? Answering these questions will help you frame your presence in a way that best reflects who you really are.

My good friend (and social media expert) Steffen Kaplan (@SpinItSocial) shared a formula for building an online presence that I have found to be unbelievably valuable, especially when it comes to attracting followers on Twitter. He recommends parsing the content you create, what you share and what you like into three separate buckets: one-third of your posts should be designed to create awareness about your business (think of this as your “branded” content), another third should be personal (answering the questions outlined above) and the last third should be content designed to engage and inspire (quotes, photos and videos that might make others smile).

3.) Share Content That Tells Your Story. Most advisers know they need to do a better job promoting their practice and value proposition, but many don’t consider themselves to be marketers or know where to start in communicating with prospective clients. In the past, promotion didn’t matter as much, as a high percentage of new clients came via referrals from happy customers.

In today’s world, communications should be more persuasive and educational than a simple list of your services. But who has time to create all that content and send it to the right people at the right time? The beauty of the level of saturation in the blogging and social media world is that you don’t need to spend all your time creating your own materials—you can easily find educational content that you appreciate and share it with your clients.

When you share content, you are advocating for the message of the material, and that’s often the closest thing to putting your name on it. Beyond saving time and money, shared content comes with its own set of advantages as it allows you to send powerful messages from a credible third party. Relevant, useful and valuable content is an effective way to build trust with current and prospective clients. As content marketing expert Drew Davis puts it, “Content builds relationships. Relationships are built on trust. Trust drives revenue.”

4.) Don’t Overdo It. You don’t have to post content 50 times a day to be successful. Sure, social media requires creating and posting content with a high level of frequency, but that doesn’t mean you must spend your entire day brainstorming your next tweet.

Like any other marketing medium, social media success depends on the quality of the content you distribute—including the actual post, the attached image or GIF and the post’s linked content. To help focus on quality over quantity (and maintain your sanity), create a simple editorial calendar and plan out posts for each week or month. You can find countless free content calendar templates with a quick online search, but a traditional printed cat or firefighter calendar will also work just fine.

5.) Have Fun! Seriously, have some fun with it and do your best to be you. Your readers and followers will appreciate it, and it will make your content better in the long run.

Happy Tweeting!

Disclaimer: Before you go down this path, it’s important to understand FINRA’s regulations surrounding the use of social media, as well as any guidelines provided by your broker-dealer or RIA, if applicable.

Dan_Martin_Headshot
Dan Martin is the director of marketing for the Financial Planning Association®, the principal professional organization for CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER (CFP®) professionals, educators, financial services professionals and students who seek advancement in a growing, dynamic profession. He is an award-winning author with a diverse financial services industry background in marketing and communications. He earned a journalism degree from the University of Denver and his MBA in marketing from the Daniels College of Business.