Jumping into the “deep” end: the social media myth

Social media helps Financial Advisors (FAs) deepen relationships with clients.

Really?

How much deeper is your relationship with Gary who sat next to you in high-school English class because you two are “friends” on Facebook?  Clients are most definitely looking for more out of their FAs (see JD Power’s 2012 Investor Satisfaction Survey), but social media alone will not solve the relationship conundrum.

FAs should not expect clients or prospects to initiate deep conversations about financial goals and lifelong dreams on social media just as you would not expect to talk with Gary about his long history of relationship woes in a forum as public as Facebook.  Rather, social media provides FAs with an opportunity to remind those on the fringes of their circle of influence that they can help when the time is right.  Social media is the leaky pipe that slow drips your relevance to the rest of the world.  Further, clients are researching advisors on social media to supplement their financial education and connect personally with FAs. Because of those expectations, FAs who maintain a professional social media presence will ultimately acquire more clients, and more assets from current clients.  If you’re not in the water, then you’re missing the boat.

That’s not to say that social media doesn’t foster deeper relationships.  It does, but social media can only accentuate the effective FAs who already do a good job of creating those relationships.  Instead of viewing social sites as a panacea to solve the relationship conundrum, FAs should be using social media in ways that round out the activities they are already doing.   Think of social media like salt.  You don’t want it by itself, but it enhances the flavor of the food you’ve already prepared.

Social media is not going away.  The firms and FAs that embrace it are going to distance themselves from competitors.  However, you can’t just jump into the “deep” end without creating a thoughtful strategy.  Delivering a meaningful, multi-channel experience creates trust with clients.  Social media by itself won’t do that.  Just ask Gary.  He’d love to show you pictures of his cat and talk about the good ol’ days over lunch sometime.

 

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