As a financial professional, you can leverage social media platforms to grow your business and foster meaningful relationships with clients. But where do you start? If you don’t know a hashtag from an endorsement, you’re not alone. With the number of social media networks and their myriad of functionalities, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.
And in a heavily regulated industry such as financial services, navigating social media can be even more intimidating. But it is possible to use it for business while complying with regulatory requirements.1 In fact, as many as 83% of financial professionals are doing business on social media.2
Whether you don’t have an account at all, or you have one you’ve logged onto once or twice, it’s never too late to join the party.
The term “social media” is so common these days that it’s easy to forget that the phrase didn’t exist in the earliest years of the new millennium. Once used to describe a handful of sites that allowed for communication between users, today social media encompasses so many platforms—Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat, and countless others—that it can be hard to keep track.
And if you think that social media is just for the young, think again. While it’s true that the vast majority of younger generations use it (90% of 18-29 year olds), their parents and grandparents do, too. Of those age 65 and older, 40% participate in social media,3 for a variety of reasons and 53% in this age group own smartphones.4
Social media provides a way to connect with clients and prospects of diverse ages and backgrounds. It enables you to maintain a visible online identity, and to brand yourself as a trusted resource so that you can grow your business, at little or no cost.
So, where to start? There are three platforms that stand out with the most potential benefit to financial professionals: LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.
What Is LinkedIn?
LinkedIn allows you to create a business network online. It’s the most popular social media platform among financial professionals when it comes to their business.5 You can use it to strengthen your industry knowledge and grow your business by reading and sharing influencer articles, joining groups, and using the built-in networking capabilities to prospect.
At first glance, LinkedIn looks like a digital, interactive resume, but it’s so much more.
LinkedIn is an online business network you can use to increase your industry knowledge and build your book of business
How LinkedIn Can Benefit You
Building a LinkedIn network may be hugely beneficial to you. A recent study revealed that 40% of investors between the age of 18 and 44 find that a financial professional’s online profile is an important part of their decision-making process.2
Once you have accumulated a broad network of connections, you can filter searches based on criteria such as mutual connections, location, education, or role. You can target prospective clients based on their skills, experiences, or geographic location, among several other options.
You can also join groups on LinkedIn that could connect you to prospects. By joining groups that are relevant to you or your business (e.g., your college, a favorite charity, or a professional association), you are one step closer to connecting to new people with similar backgrounds. Because you’re mutually connected by the group and common interest, taking the next step is much easier than a cold call or an unsolicited email.
What to Post on LinkedIn and How Often to Post It
If you maintain a professional profile and share compelling content regularly (but not constantly), you can also establish yourself as a trusted resource to your clients and/or prospects.
What kind of content? You will have to make sure you comply with your firm’s policies, but some examples include: interesting articles, suggestions for podcasts you like, or original content you’ve created (think white papers, blog posts, or tips for your clients). Comment on posts and send personalized messages to clients and prospects.
Whether the content you share is directly related to financial advice or broader financial well-being, you may develop stronger, more meaningful relationships with your followers.
It doesn’t happen overnight, but investing the time in your LinkedIn presence has the potential for significant return. To get started, create a posting routine. You don’t want to inundate your followers and come across as a spammer. So aim to post one to three times per week. The most important thing is creating a schedule. Maybe you post every Tuesday and Thursday at 10 a.m. Or weekly each Wednesday afternoon. Creating a routine will help you stay accountable, organized, and on top of your game.
With LinkedIn, you can position yourself as an influencer or expert at little or no cost and without ever having to set foot outside your office.
What Is Facebook?
Broadly, Facebook is a platform for sharing photos, feelings, and links to other internet content with “friends,” a network of people you know. For a financial professional, Facebook is a place to nurture and strengthen existing client relationships.
By maintaining a Facebook page, you can get to know your clients better, connecting with them on a more personal level.
Facebook is a platform for sharing content to nurture and strengthen existing client relationships
How Facebook Can Benefit You
Leveraging Facebook may lead to an easiness between you and your clients that can allow for better communication and even generate referrals.
The trick to using Facebook as a financial professional is to make sure you have a separate business profile. Keep your personal page—the one where you post pictures of your kids’ first day of school and ask for recommendations for local painters for your kitchen remodel—personal. Your business profile, however, should be public. Then you can send invitations to follow your page to clients, prospects, and colleagues. With a public business page, you will be easily searchable, so not only will you be able to reach out to prospects, but they will also be able to find you.
Facebook offers the ability to comment on posts or share content you find interesting with your followers. Sharing and posting content is an easy way to start a conversation with your followers.
Imagine you have 200 followers on Facebook. You share a short piece about retirement on your page. Even if a small percentage of your followers, let’s say 25 individuals, chooses to share that post with their followers, your exposure has increased exponentially and at no cost to you.
What to Post on Facebook and How Often to Post It
As with LinkedIn, you want to be thoughtful about posting frequency. While you can post on Facebook more frequently than LinkedIn without coming across as a spammer, three thoughtful posts per week are more effective than three slapdash posts per day. If it fits within your firm’s policies, you can pepper in some more personal content on Facebook, too. Give your clients a sense of you as a person, not just a financial professional.
Facebook is the most used social media platform in the United States. Sixty-nine percent of US adults are on Facebook, and most of them log on daily.3 To grow your business, you should consider being one of them (within your company’s guidelines, of course).
What Is Twitter?
Twitter is an online space where users can keep up with the news in real time.
On Twitter, you can “follow” individuals, corporations, news outlets, etc. to consume content they post or link to messages called “tweets.” You can also compose your own tweets, which may or may not include links to other sites or content.
Twitter can be useful to you because it’s a way to stay informed about the industry, competitors, and current events, as well as connect and interact with clients and prospects.
Twitter is characterized by its immediacy, which allows users to track current events in real time
How Twitter Can Benefit You
What sets Twitter apart is its immediacy. News breaks on Twitter in real time, and you are able to react with equal timeliness. So if there were a significant market event, for example, you could read up on the topic easily and immediately if you’re following industry news accounts, and you would be able to compose a succinct message with your thoughts to tweet to your followers (i.e., clients and prospects).
You can engage with people, publications, and groups who use similar hashtags to you, attend the same events, or share similar content to increase your engagement. If you follow peers, clients, and prospects, they may follow you back and broaden your own audience.
What to Post on Twitter and How Often to Post It
Another important feature of Twitter is the hashtag (#), which is a means of classifying content. You can search by hashtag to find relevant content on a given topic or event. For example, if you attend a conference for financial professionals, the event likely has its own hashtag. You can then search for that hashtag to find what others are posting about the event, or you can hashtag it yourself so that others can find your tweets from or about the conference.
With Twitter, unlike LinkedIn or Facebook, you can post frequently without coming across as a spammer because the posts are short and the nature of the platform is so immediate. Between the frequency and immediacy, Twitter is an excellent way to deepen your existing client relationships.
Social media can be scary. There are so many platforms to use, each with their own functionalities, purpose, and vocabulary. But getting started is the first step, and as with anything, practice makes perfect.
If you take the time to develop a strong social media presence, your relationships with clients and prospects will undoubtedly become stronger. It pays to log on and get posting.
Hartford Funds offers a number of resources on LinkedIn for financial professionals. Whether you prefer a workbook, webinar replay, or podcast episode, we’ve got you covered when it comes to building a better brand and prospecting with LinkedIn. Find these materials and more in the practice management section of hartfordfunds.com.
If you want to keep up with the latest content from Hartford Funds, follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. We would be thrilled to share our insights, webinars, photos, and all things #HartfordFunds with you.
Be a Social Media Leader by Being a Follower
Top financial influencers on Twitter
|@ritholtz||Wealth Management||Director of Cognitive Dissonance, ritholtzwealth.com Chair/CIO Bloomberg.com/opinion/, Masters-in-Business radio podcast host|
|@sophiabera||Generation Y||Financial planner focusing on Generation Y|
|@JosephCoughlin||Demographic trends||Director, Massachusetts Institute of Technology AgeLab|
|@MoneyNing||Personal finance||Blogger focusing on retirement and financial goals|
|@EricBalchunas||ETFs||Senior ETF Analyst for @BloombergIntelligence, “ETF IQ” on @BloombergTV, “Trillions” on iTunes|
|@susanweiner||Business writing||Writer-editor and chartered financial analyst (CFA) who helps financial professionals increase the impact of their writing on clients and prospects.|
|@sherylgarrett||Financial planning||Founder of the Garrett Planning Network, a nationwide network of hourly based financial advisors|
|@MstarETFUS||ETFs||Director of Global ETF Research, Morningstar|
|@BethKobliner||Personal finance||Journalist, author, and personal finance expert|
|@business||Economic news||Reports financial and economic news|
1 Always consult your firm’s social media policies before using social media
2 Investor’s Business Daily, “For Financial Advisors, Social Media Needs To Be Part Of Their Portfolio,” 2/24/20
3 Pew Research Center, “Social Media Fact Sheet,” 6/12/19
4 Pew Research Center, “Mobile Fact Sheet,” 6/12/19
5 Financial Advisor, “92% Of Advisors Using Social Media To Gain New Clients,” 4/8/19
Hartford Mutual Funds may or may not be invested in the companies referenced herein; however, no particular endorsement of any product or service is being made.
This material is provided for educational purposes only.