Employee advocacy is past; social selling is now. Whatever you call it, brands have long relied on employees to promote their offers, whether by word of mouth or incentive programs. But modern employee advocacy tactics that rely on employees sharing preapproved content fall short in one crucial arena: trust and authenticity.
Reposting brand content isn’t enough. Sure, it gives clients and prospects access to reliable financial advice from trusted sources. Still, it’s no way for financial advisors or wealth managers to build relationships on social media. Reposting is better than nothing but lacks the human connection to transform everyday transactions into meaningful exchanges. Today’s social media users know better.
Half of investors say social media influences who they hire as their financial professionals. Advisors need to post purposefully and make their social profiles an extension of themselves, not just a brand repost feed. The solution? Increase your reach, humanize your brand and build relationships with clients and prospects with social selling.
What Is Social Selling?
Social selling is a savvy marketing strategy where brand intermediaries (financial advisors and wealth managers) post authentic content on their social media accounts. Social selling lets you leverage associates’ networks to showcase thought leadership, engage with clients and build trusting relationships. These authentic touchpoints increase the chances of lead conversion by making the most of advisors’ relationship-building skills online.
You get it: In financial services, products go to market through intermediaries. The same goes for social media. Consider this: Employees have 10 times the reach and double the click-through rate than brand pages have. Social selling can humanize your brand and transform social media into a revenue driver for your institution.
Moreover, social selling enables clients and prospects to meet your advisors on whichever social channels they prefer. They don’t have to take time out of their day and come into an office just to get to know their advisor or start financial planning. Social media has no office hours, so advisors and clients can interact on their terms and time.
At this point, you might be wondering how to pull off social selling in a heavily regulated industry like wealth management. Compliance is the key, not just to staying open for business but also to building trust with your prospects and clients. Luckily, compliant social selling is manageable at scale with supportive tech, teamwork and training.
So, how do you develop and scale a social selling program for your financial institution?
1. Push social selling internally.
Social selling is everyone’s responsibility, not just marketing. It’ll take a group effort to get the initiative started. Unless you win the support of others—including leaders and intermediaries—your social selling vision won’t thrive. Prepare your pitch by gathering data that proves intermediaries can reach your audience. Offer examples of how social selling can amplify your messaging. Create a test group of intermediaries, then gather data to bolster the case.
Compliance is another top concern. Your pitch must clarify that you’ve considered the risks/rewards and the guardrails needed to maintain compliance. Building support for your social selling venture will be the foundation for any momentum going forward. Marketing and compliance teams must work together to get early buy-in.
2. Find the right technology.
Once you’ve got buy-in from internal teams, start finding the right social selling tech. When searching, find a platform that creates efficiencies for your people. Does it leverage organic and paid capabilities? Look for a partner that understands your industry and all its nuances and regulations.
Compliance should be another top priority when considering tech options. How do you ensure content is compliant? Manual labor is an option, but it’s slow. To ensure complete compliance, look for a tech solution to streamline approvals and offer compliance protection at every step. The right tech should support your compliance needs, increase efficiency and empower users to make an impact through social selling.
3. Train and launch.
Once your group of social sellers is ready to go, it’s time to train them. Depending on skill, training could mean starting from the basics or jumping right into strategy. A solid social selling platform will include training on the basics of social selling and how to maximize its potential.
Training intermediaries to understand their role in compliance is another priority that shouldn’t be ignored. Instruct your intermediaries on responding to messages, getting content approval and archiving communication. (Hint: The right tech will help support your training.) Compliance is key to trust-building, so every associate should be empowered to participate.
Next, it’s time to launch. Alert everyone in your institution that your social selling program is live and tell them how they can help. A simple like, share, or follow can help boost your social selling efforts. With the organization behind you, you can start creating and posting branded content with support and momentum.
It might look different, but social selling includes the best parts of employee advocacy. Where it differs is how much farther it can take you toward meaningful relationships with clients and prospects. Social selling allows organizations (like yours) to leverage authenticity, grow thought leadership, ensure compliance and get to know clients on a new level. Don’t wait to get started.