Financial advice firms can benefit from the use of social media to present their best face to potential prospects, strengthen their brand and better tailor services to their clients, according to Financial Advisor magazine.
Brand Image, Reputation and Client Background Information
To start with, it’s important that a firm’s compliance department and social media staff work closely from early on, according to a panel of experts at the Social Media and Compliance in Financial Services conference held last month, the publication writes.
Advice firms should also treat their social media accounts as their “handshake,” said Lisa Natalicchio, the global head of internal communications and social business at State Street, according to Financial Advisor magazine. It’s sometimes a potential client’s first interaction with the firm, while what others post about the firm shapes its reputation, according to Natalicchio, the publication writes. The opinions of not just the public, but also the firm’s current and former clients and employees, can help strengthen or hurt the company’s reputation, according to Financial Advisor magazine.
To present a consistent clear brand image, Amy Sitnick, vice president of content marketing at PNC Bank, said her firm does an annual audit of all the firm’s social media accounts and all the content on them, according to the publication. Sitnick also recommended yearly summits to bring together compliance, marketing and social media directors, Financial Advisor magazine writes.
It’s also important for the firm’s advisors to be involved, according to Natalicchio, the publication writes. If some are reluctant to participate, it’s worth discussing the opportunities social media can create for new leads, said Leeor Sillman, a director of client relations and marketing at Epoch Investment Partners, according to Financial Advisor magazine. In cases where advisors simply don’t know how to use social media, advice firms can create a guide, according to Sillman, the publication writes.
When evaluating the effects of social media posts, firms can analyze the number of likes and shares on their posts, the number of clickthroughs, and the types of posts getting people to their websites, according to Financial Advisor magazine. Sillman, however, suggested not just looking at the number of clicks on posts but also taking into account how long each post has been around, the publication writes.
As for the types of content likely to help ramp up a brand’s reputation, Owen Donley III, a chief counsel for the SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy, suggested that advice firms go for educational material rather than “sell-focused content,” according to Financial Advisor magazine. That direction can also address some concerns about compliance, according to Donley, the publication writes.
Natalicchio also said that advisors should engage with their clients’ social media accounts to mine for background personal information to shape conversations down the line, Financial Advisor magazine writes. Firms can then also use the same information to teach their sales staff, she said, according to the publication.