By Rina Chong
Social media began a new era and highway for sales and marketing in 2005. During this time wealth management firms quietly watched on the sidelines, taking the reactive approach, while meticulously figuring out how social media could impact their business without giving too much information away. With that being said, it made the wealth management sector slow to adopt social media into their arena. When the 2008 crisis happened, and the economic recession followed, the perception investors had of wealth managers, and financial advisors, left a sour taste in their mouths; making them take matters into their own hands by doing their own due diligence and research through friends and family and conversations on various social networks. The problem was that advisors were not in on these conversations.
Other reasons why social media was slow to acclimate in the wealth management sector was due to the fear of legal ramifications, reputation and brand protection, as well as thinking that social media was just a fad. Of course some of the older advisors that did business the ‘old fashioned way’, via telephone and one-on-one coffee meetings at Tim’s, were also major paper pushers that rarely used computers and were not so hot-to-trot for this new route of communication and marketing. So when social media hit the scene, the leaders of that era weren’t entertaining the idea of using it for fear of making a mistake, had no time and didn’t want to be bothered to be trained on this new age marketing. And of course, there are also those that are ‘content’ with the business they were receiving from referrals. I believe, in any industry, that if the older generation of leaders do not take head of social media, they won’t be able to lead in the next couple of years; they must be open and willing to embrace and engage people online in this digital age. Keeping up with the Jones’ is not a game in business, but a reality if you want to keep up with the market.
It’s been only in the past couple of years that the adoption of social media for wealth management firms has evolved, at the minimum. The way that companies communicate with potential, and existing, clients have changed; therefore, making advisors aware that they have to be more engaged and proactive in their communities. While wealth management is a peer driven industry, both for advisors and clients, keeping connected and communicating is vital in making a presence online to meet offline, especially in a world that is now drowning with millions of users on the web searching and communicating. Social media is not a game of popularity but the numbers are still rising. It does, in fact, build reputations for advisors by influencing clients with their expertise, as clients share their learned wealth of apprehension with their family and friends. Posting varied and abundant information is beneficial if all you want to be is a billboard; engaging and participating in conversations is far better than traditional marketing ways with a much more considerable reach to educate and influence. So the more engaged you are, the more searchable you will be, creating trust and brand recognition; which, of course leads to more referrals while leaving footprints in your community as an industry leader.
Using social media for two-way communication has the following benefits:
Low cost Builds online presence
Increases web traffic Engages clients
Brand/product awareness Crisis management
SEO Global reach
Wealth management firms can easily start engaging with the following 5 suggested social tools: LinkedIn, Twitter, financial blogs, podcasts/vlogs, and once that’s rolling, a social media press release will have to be sent out. Citi Group shows a great example of how they are industry leaders by using social; you can find their social networks and blog at the bottom of their homepage at www.citigroup.com. So if you’re a small fry, or just new to an industry and you want to get noticed, then social media is the best way to let the World Wide Web know how you can contribute to the world. The only downside with most of the free applications of social media is the time you need to invest in it. Having a department, or social media manager, handle your social is more attractive to people that are too busy but know they can’t ignore the fact that they need to jump on the social media cruise. With the unpredictability of modern times, why stay local when you can go global with word of click?
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