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Financial Advisors: Enhance Your Social Media Impact

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HNW Investors are Social

For financial advisors, social media represents a powerful addition to traditional marketing. Indeed high net worth investors are active on social media and expect their advisors to be also.  To wit,

  1. 87% use social media
  2. 52% of investors want to connect with advisors on LinkedIn
  3. 50% of high-net-worth investors want market, trend, and product information via social media

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The FeeOnlyNetwork.com: A Bid to Build Visibility for Fee-Only Advisors

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That’s the goal of NAPFA (National Association of Personal Financial Advisors) with the recent launch of the FeeOnlyNetwork.com for its more than 1,500 Fee-Only member advisors across the country. A parallel goal is to build the NAPFA brand and promote the benefits of working with NAPFA-registered investment advisors (RIAs) for comprehensive financial planning and fee-only compensation.

This comes as Fee-Only Registered Investment Advisors (RIA) have surged and changed the way Americans invest.  This in a climate where investors are more risk adverse, want to be involved in the investment process and, for all generations, increasingly use the web to “self-sell” before engaging.  Having a strong web presence  — including a dynamic web marketing hub, social media significance, thought leadership content and digital marketing programs — is not an option, but an imperative for advisors to be relevant and competitive today.

With FeeOnlyNetwork.com, Individual NAPFA members receive a free, search optimized profile and those who wish to pony up $250, receive a more sophisticated profile with more content, enhanced optimization and linking features. The value proposition seems solid: members can piggyback on the broader branding effort around “Fee Only” with NAPFA and generate leads and SEO value at a reasonable cost per year.

There are a number of things for members to consider in maximizing the value and effectiveness of their profiles. (See FeeOnlyNetwork mockup)

    • Differentiate the message beyond “Fee-Only”
      Use the bulleted specialties adjacent to photo and paragraph beneath it, to provide more depth and breadth surrounding resources and investment options offered, akin to what you might get from a broker dealer.
    • Choose messaging carefully
      Avoid “generic” messages like “specializes in financial planning and investment management”; be more sophisticated.
    • Align Profiles & Links
      Make sure your profiles line up across all your channels – LinkedIn, Website, Facebook, Twitter, FeeOnlyNetwork, etc. – including key words, messaging and positioning.
    • Include Links 
 Make sure all your publicly available links are reflected on the profile and picked up by FeeOnlyNetwork.
  • Complete all of the Profile Features
    This includes links to all of your social media profiles, recent articles, media mentions, welcome video and the like.  If you have more than one location, be sure to include it as well.  Also complete the company profile tab.  There will be an ability to cross-link with other NAPFA members in your company.
  • Show Bench Strength:
    The network is very “planner” and individual based rather than the firm… some investors may want to see that they can engage a firm with a broader set of expertise and specializations within the firm.  This can be done with the company profile tab, but perhaps you can influence the site’s positioning if you want to highlight both you and your company more strongly.
  • Generate Leads:
    Currently, the “Contact Me” button generates an email, however there are plans to enable a form.  Be on the look out and perhaps influence its development.  For example if it were a “Learn More” link instead of “Contact Me”, that could lead to a landing page on your website where they can further “opt-in” to learning without feeling the need to email you right away. Many “buyers” want to self-sell and learn about you (and others) without converting immediately to an email or meeting.

NAPFA says it has made a significant investment and allocated considerable resources to the FeeOnlyNetwork.com, a partnership with Advisorology, LLC, the parent company of the FeeOnlyNetwork.com and FinancialAdviceNetwork.com.  The partnership promises to continue to enhance the FeeOnlyNetwork.com.  Members would do well to actively participate in its evolution.

 

Thérèse Byrne is a Client Partner & Digital Strategist with Revenue Architects specializing in helping clients take advantage of modern marketing approaches to projects from the vantage of creative, innovative and agile solutions to growth. She works with a number offinancial advisor clients developing strategies and implementing compliant marketing solutions enabled by technology and inbound marketing.

Schwab Presentation on Social Media and Digital Marketing

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Charles Schwab

We had a great day working with Charles Schwab Advisor Services and presenting to their financial advisor clients. We were in Philadelphia this time – my old home town during IBM days. About 40 advisors participated in this program to learn about financial advisor marketing topics and the discussion was active and engaging. If you attended the session, please reach out with your feedback.

Top 3 Things to Get Started with Social Media Marketing

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At the Schwab Advisor Services meeting in New York yesterday, about 40 advisors joined to discuss a broad vision for achieving a digital presence with social media. In describing the “how to” I shared ways of thinking about digital presence and the role of social media. To help describe ways to get started, I outlined strategies that included actions for revenue strategy, revenue systems and revenue programs. But even this breakdown of strategy and planning recommendations are a lot to tackle for a busy advisor getting started with social media. I often get the question – “OK, but what are the top three things you suggest? Here are three things I would start with to get established online:

1) Solid Website – all roads lead back here, so make sure you have a foundation you are pleased with and relevant content as well as the ability to engage your audience to download items and register for interactions.

  • Clean professionally branded
  • Relevant content
  • Conversion capabilities

2) Professional LinkedIn Profiles – This is the easiest to manage from a compliance point of view and it is very well aligned with the advisor business of referrals and relationships.

  • Keyword aligned, current, descriptive profile and business page
  • Professional photo
  • Active network and # of connections

3) Active Content Sharing – With these two platforms in place, a steady stream of relevant publishing will help place you in the minds of your audience as knowledgeable and help reinforce your credibility when it is time to make a decision.

  • Sharing relevant material, text
  • Use video if you can to explain and introduce your firm (host on YouTube)
  • Publish regularly using a blog format with an RSS feed

Social-infused Digital Marketing for Financial Advisers

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Among wealth managers/ financial advisers, there remains skepticism about using social media and a digital marketing with a stronger online presence. As I prepare for an updated “Day-in-the-life of an adviser” talk next week with Schwab RIAs (clients of Schwab Advisor Services), I created a summary slide to serve as an abstract for the talk. The slide sums up the key messages for me:

  • While digital marketing will not and should not replace personal 1:1 relationship strategies, it can help you grow your practice and deepen existing relationships – particularly among your increasingly connected client base.
  • A good online presence can help you shift your business mix from traditional “outbound” activity to “inbound” – lowering cost of client acquisition.
  • But, as content proliferates, clients will increasingly use “relevance filters” – using search, influencers and their human “social networks” for trusted answers. It is hard to “game the system”
  • And, for advisors, regulation and changing technology add risk and confusion.
  • So, what should you do?
  • Today more than ever, firms need an effective digital marketing strategy and plan that aligns with their target client strategy.

The follow-on question is what makes up that strategy?

We focus on the three elements of the Revenue Architecture – keeping it simple, breaking it down:

1 Revenue Strategy

  • Set your ambition
  • Segment your audience & define long-tail positions
  • Build value propositions
  • Measure capability and gaps
  • Envision creative strategies

2 Revenue Systems

  • Design a solid website for brand experience
  • Configure and deploy foundation technology / services for digital marketing
  • Establish digital/social outposts

3 Revenue Programs

  • Design creative multi-touch campaigns
  • Develop a month-to-month/ week to week calendar
  • Create multi-media content
  • Publish and engage

10 Steps to Get Started with New Media Marketing

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This is the time of year for lists – holiday shopping, family dinners – why not add on one more: Getting started with your 2010 new media marketing agenda!

During 2009, you likely learned about the potential role of social media in your marketing plan. You recognize how the explosive growth of social networking – with tools like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Viddler, BlogTalkRadio, and YouTube – is fundamentally changing the way your clients learn, evaluate and ultimately make their decisions. You recognize that these web 2.0 tools are an increasingly important influence in the buy-sell process. Buyers seek evidence online to validate decisions and get instant feedback from others by listening and participating in the online conversations.

We work with leading wealth managers and financial advisors who recognize that their clients are using social media and the web to help them evaluate an advisor. The content and professional credentials visible online are an increasingly important part of their decision process.  Successful advisors use their online presence to drive new business. They use blogs, Facebook Groups / Fan Pages and Twitter to engage in the online conversation increasing referrals and attracting new clients.

However, new media marketing is not a panacea. Your online presence and activity won’t replace your existing relationship building activities and the quality work you perform with clients. Your approach to new media marketing should be authentic – engaging in meaningful activities around the quality of your work and personal relationships.  Tackled the right way, a new media marketing approach will further accelerate your growth.

But where do you begin? Which networks should you join? How do you build an online presence? How do you avoid introducing risk with your current brand? What is involved in using social media and inbound marketing techniques day-to-day?  To help you get started, we developed the following checklist. This ten-step plan will guide you in taking positive steps forward in your new media marketing plan. With a thoughtful approach and a committed strategy, you will be rewarded with professional online presence and accelerated growth.

10 Steps to Get Started with New Media Marketing

  1. Define your purpose.  Determine in advance why you are engaging in new media.  Is it for educational purposes or to market your business?  If you don’t have clear intentions, how can you expect to have clear results?
  2. Find your target market. Join the social networking sites which are comprised of your target niche market.  Remember that the most popular social networking sites might not be the sites where your ideal clients visit.  Go to where your potential clients are and don’t just spend time with your peers.
  3. Craft your message. Your audience will only hear bits of pieces of your message at a time, so it is critical that you consistently and frequently broadcast a clear message about who you serve and what you offer. Don’t make your audience guess what you do, make it clear to them.
  4. Gather and create content. Content is king in new media marketing.  Demonstrate your expertise by educating your audience through blogs, articles, videos, or podcasts.  Gather or create useful content to aid you in your new media marketing efforts.
  5. Build your web presence & social media profiles. As you build out your profiles, you will be building a web presence that will give you a footprint beyond your website. This presence will increase your exposure to potential new clients. As you decide to participate in LinkedIn, Facebook, or other networking sites, it is important that you complete your profiles.  A person is likely to only visit your profile once, so make a lasting first impression.
  6. Build your network. The more people you connect with on social networking sites, the more people will see your message.  Make a conscious effort to continually build your connections on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter and other networks you are targeting.
  7. Promote your profiles and cross connect. Let people know you are on the various social networking sites by promoting links on your website and email signature.  This will help you organically grow your network. The more sites where you connect with someone, the stronger your relationship will become.  Where it makes sense, find and connect with contacts across multiple social media sites.
  8. Build an inbound strategy. Craft a strategy for your own website and your email/newsletter marketing programs. It is important that when potential new relationships click back to your website that they experience your brand in the right way. Ensure your website is professional and visually branded for your target audience and includes interactive web features like RSS and social bookmarking. Search engine optimization (SEO), landing page lead capture, and lead nurturing should be part of your website strategy.
  9. Communicate Persuasively. Ensure your messages are sharp and clear. Are you delivering a persuasive message? Is your logic clear and concise? Are you listening and empathetic to client needs?
  10. Actively engage. Use social networking sites and your website as a way to promote your content to your targeted market.  This helps educate your audience and keeps your name top-of-mind.  Social media is the same as any networking or marketing strategy – the more consistent you are, the better the results.  Actively participate in the various social networking sites on a weekly basis to achieve the greatest results.

About Kristen Luke

Kristen Luke is the Principal of Wealth Management Marketing, a firm dedicated to providing marketing strategies and support for financial advisors. Kristen works with independent advisors to develop effective marketing plans and provides the back office support required to implement the strategies. For more information, visit www.wealthmanagementmarketing.net. 

 

About John Stone III

John leads Revenue Architects and provides consulting, general management, education and solution services focused on profitable revenue models and integrating sales, marketing and technology systems. Clients include Putnam Investments, Natixis Global Asset Management, Charles Schwab, and HighMark Funds.  For more information visit revenuearchitects.com.