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There is no such thing as a safe investment. Investing is a scary business. Most people prefer to work with financial experts when it comes to finding the best place to put their money. Just like them, you’ve worked hard for every penny, and you don’t want to see it go to waste.
However, what if you’re the expert people turn to for financial advice? Are you using every tool at your disposal to make the best decision? The traditional marketing mix doesn’t apply to you because the result you provide is an intangible service that requires performance and industry expertise. Establishing your brand through performance is the proof your clientele and community needs.
Advising others on how to invest their money is a precarious profession. You potentially hold the key to your neighbor’s retirement, your cousin’s college fund, or even your parents’ elderly care costs.
In addition to your performance, you must portray a positive public image. Making a name for yourself in your community requires active engagement. Volunteering, advertising in your church bulletin, local civic participation – the list goes on. These are all great ways to be an active and respected member of your community.
But is this list enough? It can be, but only if the community gets your message.
The ABCs of Money
- Authority is all about perception – be the authority figure that people respect. Build on this authority with diligent research and by keeping up-to-date on the latest facts and information.
- Brand yourself. Your brand is what defines you, and it’s what makes people like you. It establishes the bedrock of trust. Your brand should be a reflection of who you are and should be consistent in every aspect of your life. Maintaining this consistency will help others trust you as an expert in the innermost of professional relationships: financial advice. The consistency of your brand builds trust and builds your business.
- Confidence is key–making the right series of decisions leads to confidence.
What’s missing in your marketing mix?
We’ve talked about the A-B-C’s of financial advice, but we can’t stop there. Focusing on your brand is what’s going to grow the business you’ve built. How well have you defined your brand? We’ve touched on the traditional marketing mix, but in the services industry, there are more than just the fundamental “4 P’s”: Price, Product, Promotion, and Placement. Providers of intangible goods – services – have more “P’s” to consider: Process, People, Performance, and sometimes Proof. Performance and Proof, in your case, go hand in hand.
Marketing your brand has always involved promotion via multiple channels to reach your target audience. Until just a few years ago this didn’t include social media. Why? Because platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram were seen simply as social channels to connect with friends and family, like a digital dinner table. While Facebook has offered paid advertising options since its launch, the evolution of Facebook advertising means that ads have changed almost as much and as often as the Feed. Facebook is the primary social platform most B2C businesses use, and today’s marketing mix must absolutely involve a social media strategy.
Can social media make you money?
New businesses are born every day, and some from the wildest of ideas – just like Facebook was at its launch. That said, businesses are making money with social media every minute. Are you late to the game?
We talked about the A-B-C’s of Money, so let’s move on to the 1-2-3’s and see how we can make the most of 2018 together.
- Does your company have an established policy on the use of social media? Check for requirements you must follow, if there’s a corporate compliance department and be sure to verify rules for social media use.
- Define your audience. Who are you trying to reach? Do you have a target niche? Just like physicians and attorneys specialize in a specific field of study, like pediatrics or personal injury, financial advisors often focus on a niche. By understanding the specific needs and goals of your clients, you can create a comprehensive investment plan for them. This is your goal.
- Choose your channel according to your audience. If your clientele rarely visits LinkedIn, it makes sense to shift your focus elsewhere.
- Diversify! You advise your clients to diversify their portfolios for maximum returns, so why wouldn’t you do the same? If your audience doesn’t stay within one social circle, why would you?
- Invest in a professional headshot. Personal photos are great in digital albums, but not for your profile photo. Make it clear you take your job seriously, and your clients will feel like you take them – and their nest egg – just as seriously.
- Reveal personal interests, engage with others, and relate on a personal level. In marketing, you learn to follow the “80/20” rule, where 20% of your clients represent 80% of your business and revenue. When it comes to social media and content sharing, stick to a different “80/20” rule: Posts should be 80% professional and 20% personal. All business all the time will more likely result in a loss of client base. Relating on a personal level and helping people see how their success is your goal will grow your base.
- Avoid controversy. The rule of parties is to avoid politics, religion, and money. As a financial advisor, you have to break the rule about money – but do so carefully and tactfully, and without condescension.
- Google alerts are your friend. What are competitors doing? Who in your Rolodex started a new job or has a birthday this month? Is a client getting married or retiring? A personal message will go a long way.
- Share content aligned with your brand, but also to help your audience. Google alerts aren’t just your friend – they’re your best friend! Set up Google alerts for topics of interest for yourself and your clients, and share. Stick to content that represents your brand to underscore authenticity for yourself.
(10)Last, but certainly not least is – no sales pitches! You may violate industry rule – and even your company’s regulations by pitching a sale on social media. Furthermore, you’re also going to annoy and alienate those with whom you’ve worked so hard to build trust and relationships.
This is only a short list of how we can make the most of 2018 together. We have many more opportunities to help your career further blossom in the coming year, including:
- Start a blog. This is time-consuming but establishes a tone of authority and expertise with quality content.
- Expand connections on LinkedIn. Bigger isn’t always better, regarding number of connections, but LinkedIn is the one profile where networking is not only expected but encouraged, to further one’s profession
- Does your firm have a pre-approved library of content for use with social media? So long as it’s in line with your brand, there’s no reason not to take advantage of this knowledge base.
With social media, the possibilities are only limited by the user base. There will never be enough hours in the day to exhaust all the possibilities at your digital fingertips. Follow these A-B-C’s and 1-2-3’s with us and your 2018 will be your best year yet!