How Can We Use Social Media to Create Client Groups?
As investors and other consumers expand their use of social media to answer their questions about wealth management, financial professionals are following suit, albeit more slowly. A report by FTI Consulting and LinkedIn, Financial Advisors Research 2012, reported that more than 71 percent of financial advisors were using at least one social network for business purposes.
But what does that mean? Financial professionals can be engaged on social media in a variety of ways, from superficial to deeply probing. Advisors can merely follow the tweets of leading wealth managers for news or fresh ideas, or they can develop broad strategies across multiple platforms to attract new clients, strengthen relationships with existing clients, and position their business for future growth. Like everything else in social media, the degree of your involvement is entirely up to you. See Figure 29.1.
But it's important to remember that merely creating profiles or delivering messages on social media won't help you reach your business goals. A number of digital marketing executives in the financial services industry feel that many companies still don't get certain fundamental realities about social media.
THE BIGGEST MARKETING MISUNDERSTANDING ABOUT SOCIAL MEDIA
“Social media is not about a company sending a message, but people interacting with people,” says Frank Eliason, the director of global social media at Citi. Engagement is key. Building relationships on social media is no
FIGURE 29.1 Social Network Use By Business Purpose
Source: FTI Consulting
different in principle than building relationships through networking on the golf course or cocktail parties.
So how can a busy financial professional – someone who's short on time and looking to accomplish things efficiently – best use social media with those ends in mind?
The answer, not to be too flippant, is to throw a cocktail party: an electronic cocktail party. First, stop and think: Who is it you remember at a party? It's the people who share interesting stories or who really listened to you. It's not the people who talked about themselves. The same applies online, whether you're using Twitter or creating a group as a way of bringing like-minded people together.
Now, consider the social events that your financial practice may occasionally sponsor for your investor clientele – a wine and cheese get-together at your office, for example, usually coupled with a short program from an industry expert on a topic such as recent gyrations in the stock market.
There's a social media complement to activities like these. Creating groups on your practice's website is one way to accomplish multiple goals: targeting the right audience, building a following with investors, and also learning about and understanding their own needs.
Your practice is filled with clients with common interests: middle-aged couples looking for ways to build their retirement portfolios or people on the cusp of retiring who need to restructure their wealth. Maybe you work closely with a certain type of client with specialized needs: doctors, teachers, or scientists.
By creating social media groups around these investors' needs, you are inviting people to a party of sorts on your website, where they can learn interesting things about subjects that matter to them, and where they can interact with you and others at the party.
-  “Financial Advisors Research 2012,” FTI Consulting and LinkedIn, marketing.linkedin.com/sites/default/files/pdfs/LinkedIn_FinancialAdvisorsResearch_2012.pdf. Accessed June 3, 2014.