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“Today, the way people use the internet is that they vet you before they’ve met you,” says wealth marketing strategist April Rudin, Founder and CEO of the Rudin Group. “[Wealth management] is still a business relationship and many people might get a referral, but they may not act on that referral until they Google you.”
Rudin was recently named the world’s top wealth management influencer on Twitter and helps wealth managers maximise the impact of their digital profile. She says that social media and a strong online presence are crucial tools for wealth managers – whether you’re looking for new clients, building your business’s prestige, sharing expertise or maintaining strong bonds with current clients. With nearly two-thirds of high net worth individuals looking for a wealth management relationship that is purely digital, failure to build a profile on social media could damage your business. “There are lost opportunity costs that advisors need to think about,” April says.
Earlier this year in a post on LinkedIn, Dolfin’s Chief Marketing Officer Andrew Carrier considered the future of social media in light of our growing knowledge of bots, click-farms and false news propagation. “There is a clear trend for more privacy and better quality – both of which people are willing to pay a fair price for rather than surrender information for,” he wrote. “Social media as we know it is dying and will be replaced by something more private, more focused and I believe much more valuable.”
Some users are already moving to new networks built with data sovereignty in mind, such as Mastodon and Blockstack. Meanwhile, Facebook recently announced plans to build an end-to-end encrypted network incorporating Messenger, Whatsapp and Instagram.
While the future could hold a secure, wealth management-specific social platform, the best way to network right now is still across the big four: LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Rudin urges wealth managers to be aware of compliance regulations in their region, as well as their company’s policies on recording digital conversations and posting public content.
One social network still dominates in the wealth management sphere. “LinkedIn is the most important social platform for wealth managers to use to connect with centres of influence,” Rudin says. “Advisors can put forth their own thought leadership, [and] create compelling profiles to help people get to know their personality, passions and professional strengths.”
“The key is sharing clever thinking and valuable content.” – Andrew Carrier, Dolfin
All over social media, there’s an increased appetite for transparency and authenticity, with brands choosing the pull of influencers over more clinical marketing methods. For wealth managers, this trend could mean untapped potential on less obvious social sites. “Many members of our team, particularly client-facing ones, have active social media presences and that’s very helpful in terms of relationship building,” says Carrier. “The key is sharing clever thinking and valuable content – we share Dolfin content as well as that of 3rd parties”.
“Facebook is probably the most underutilised platform for wealth managers, as many believe that it is too personal,” Rudin adds. “However, we know that there is an increased blurring between personal and professional lives, especially online. This can be a key differentiator for wealth managers versus those who are only posting content on their investment outlook.
“Instagram is also less ‘noisy’ with posts from wealth managers. It can be used for more visual content like infographics, photos of your office, introductions to your team or to share your charity work on weekends.”
Combining Facebook and Instagram with the investment-focused content favoured on LinkedIn can allow wealth managers to build that sought-after authenticity. “When you think about it, you probably can’t have a more personal relationship than with your financial advisor,” Rudin says. “Clients want to connect with you in more ways than just investment advice. Maybe you both like running or scuba diving or travel – they may find those facts in your posts.”
“Our business depends on trust.” – Andrew Carrier, Dolfin
Carrier agrees, adding that “Our business depends on trust. To build it, we’ve quite deliberately chosen to go where our clients and partners are already having conversations, rather than waiting for them to come to us. That means maintaining active – and distinct – presences on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram – as well as less universally known platforms like Flipboard and WeChat”. Using multiple channels can also help wealth managers reach a wider audience, spanning ages and interests. “You want to think about content that reaches all different kinds of people in all different kinds of places,” Rudin says. “I like to use a combination of my own user-generated content and third-party content. I think the mix is important so as to not look too self-promotional but also to look well-informed.”
Whichever social platforms you decide to share content on, it’s vital to have a strategy. “Create a plan with an associated content calendar,” Rudin says. “This will help to keep you on task with content and messaging, instead of being all over the place with whatever strikes your fancy. The key to being effective is consistent and constant messaging.
“But my takeaway message would be: just do it!”
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