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Facebook = Referrals

Facebook represents a two-way street for building relationships. You learn more about your clients and they learn more about you. 

Focusing on Facebook as purely a relationship builder might seem like a soft approach, but there’s strong evidence that it will impact your bottom line. Here at Oechsli we just completed a research project on 1,002 investors with $500,000 or more investable assets, placing special emphasis on their Facebook usage. When you look at the relationship between referrals given and whether or not the client and their financial advisor are friends on Facebook, the evidence for using Facebook becomes really compelling.


This doesn’t mean that simply connecting on Facebook is going to lead to an influx of referrals. Facebook is just one tool for creating the depth of relationship that’s required. It follows in the same vein as taking them to lunch, asking about their family, sending small gifts and other means of building a personal connection. 

Pandemic or not, there are only so many times you can see or talk to a client during the year. Facebook gives you the ability to stay engaged. You’re learning their hobbies, their friends, their sense of humor and other little things you’d never pick up in a review meeting. Equally as important, if you actively post, they’re seeing what’s happening in your life as well. This has nothing to do with a business page, most of your engagement will happen through your personal profile.

By the way, if you’re unsure about connecting with clients personally on Facebook, know that it’s becoming more and more commonplace. In our latest research, 53% of affluent investors are friends with their advisor on Facebook, which speaks to their willingness to engage. Should you connect with every client? Probably not, but you should connect with those you know well personally.  

So ... are you ready to jump-start your Facebook relationship-building efforts? Here are a few action steps that should help: 

  1. Start by searching for and connecting with your clients on Facebook. Begin at the top of your client base and work your way down. Include close family members as well.
  2. Check your clients’ Facebook feeds prior to review meetings. What can you learn?
  3. In your meetings, reference posts from the past week or two (going back further reveals that you researched them). You could say, for example, “Did I see on Facebook that you went to XYZ restaurant recently? How was that?”
  4. Be willing to post about your personal life. When you capture and share your most interesting moments, your clients will engage in a way they’d never engage with your business posts.   

Facebook represents a two-way street for building relationships. You learn more about your clients and they learn more about you. Develop a routine, stay consistent and you too can harness the benefits of the world’s most-used social network.

Stephen Boswell is a partner with The Oechsli Institute, a firm that specializes in research and training for the financial services industry. @StephenBoswell

TAGS: Marketing
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