There are actually two truths that are universally acknowledged in financial services:
- Maintaining a solid online presence is important; and quickly becoming imperative; and
- Maintaining a solid online presence is, oftentimes, a royal pain in the proverbial.
The cumulative build-up of seeing the ubiquity of competitors online, LinkedIn ninjas charging tens of thousands for a lead generation diagram and the still-pending, herculean task of finally updating the website you Asked Jeeves to help with in 2004 can leave even the most organised, tenacious of humans ready to stick pins into their own face, writes Aimee Speight, founder of IFA-focused firm Speakeasy Communications.
With new social media networks, websites and online tools popping up more frequently than Whack-a-Mole, it can be challenging to keep up and know where to focus your precious time; not least on top of servicing your existing book, managing daily operations and generally trying to exist as a functioning professional in a world where a lettuce outlasted a prime minister.
And yet we can’t overlook the impact of digital communications; its importance having only been exacerbated since the stream of global lockdowns. Clients and prospects are increasingly turning to the internet to research the products and services they need, or to check the credentials and expertise of their potential adviser.
If you’re not visible, you’re missing out on valuable business opportunities; be it from a potential commercial partner, journalist, investor or client. Worrying. Not to mention that if you are visible, your online footprint must be impeccable.
It’s not all treacherous though. There are strategies that you can implement to make sure that you’re creating an online presence that audiences value and yields results.
Choose your social media platforms wisely
There are countless numbers of online platforms available, but it’s neither practical nor necessary to try and generate 100,000 followers across all of them.
Instead, focus on the platforms that are most relevant to your target audience and align with your strategic goals.
LinkedIn is a great platform for financial advisers to build connections with industry peers, engage with potential clients and showcase your expertise.
Or if you’re working to integrate within your local community through events and sponsorships, Facebook can also be useful.
Create engaging content
This one usually elicits a glazed look from advisers at best, and a world-weary sigh at worst. Who has the time, right? But here’s the thing – it doesn’t need to be complicated.
Odds are, you’ve earned your stripes in your field of expertise. Now tell people about it.
Write blogs, share blogs; pen articles, get comfy behind the camera and start talking to your audience about investments, savings plans, pension tips and bitesized advice. Share your insights, share your information.
Whether it’s on social media, podcasts or guest blogs, either tool up or outsource because your competitors are already out there building communities and client bases online.
In the digital age, content is no longer a ‘nice to have’.
If Dexy’s Midnight Runners can dine out on Come on Eileen for nearly 40 years, then you can make that superb article you wrote go further.
Rope a designer in, chop it up into an infographic, a video, a social media post – contrarily, expand it out into a longer thought leadership piece.
Get your content working for you and get recycling.
I want you to park the industry mantra of ‘diversify, diversify, diversify’.
Nobody panic, it’s just for a moment. Instead, let’s think ‘iterate, iterate, iterate’. Monitor the content you’re putting out, measure it and if you need to, modify it.
There are a number of free tools online to help you track your website traffic, social media engagement and other key metrics; see what’s performing for you. If it’s not performing, stop, evaluate, adjust and try again.
At a time when there is more ridiculous and dangerous misinformation online along with an undercurrent of worry among consumers that robots are taking over the world with AI, we could all stand to benefit from a little more authentic human connection when it comes to talking to people about their finances.
Engage with people who reach out on your social media and incorporate your own personality into your digital communications. It puts clients at ease, it breaks the tension with third parties and immediately you start to cut through the noise. Ease up on the jargon and remember that people buy from people.
It takes some considered planning, along with consistent effort to develop, but creating and maintaining authentic digital communications is the cornerstone for IFAs looking to develop their prospects.
While it can be challenging to build effective digital communications, when you master the basics of creating your online presence and put the time in to do so, you’ll harvest greater opportunities for your business and watch that growth trajectory soar.
This article was written for International Adviser by Aimee Speight, founder of IFA-focused firm Speakeasy Communications.