By Justin Barish
Social media is an extremely valuable—though often underutilized—tool for advisors to grow their business. From the four years of experience I have coaching the hundreds of advisors in the Dynasty Network on how to most effectively use social media, here are the three biggest ways I have found that advisors can build a successful RIA with the help of social media.
The Modern Referral
Whenever I ask an advisor, “How do you get your clients?” one of the answers I get all the time is: “referrals.” The beauty of social media is that it can serve as a robust and dynamic referral network that can be tapped into each and every hour.
Whenever an advisor posts content on their corporate social page, that post immediately gets funneled into the feeds of all of the page’s followers, where some of those followers will interact with the post. As soon as that follower engages with the post in some way, the post is then broadcast to that follower’s entire network of connections. Without even realizing it, that follower has just referred the firm to their entire social network with a single click.
Specific Messaging, Specific Audience
Advisors can also pay to implement sponsored advertising campaigns on social media platforms. Using this feature, advisors can direct highly specific messaging to highly specific audiences. For instance, if an advisor is looking to sign executives from local firms in a specific industry, it is possible to create an audience of solely upper management-level employees at those specific companies, and then send that audience an ad with specific messaging about that industry. This capability can be utilized for brand awareness-building, garnering interest and lead-generation.
An additional benefit of using inorganic social media is that it is extremely trackable. It does cost money to run these campaigns, but platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook keep live-updated metrics on the performance of inorganic campaigns, so that ROI can be easily measured for each targeted post. Using these metrics to gauge performance trends, firms running inorganic campaigns can get a sense of what in the campaign is working, what is not working and how to iterate on the campaign to improve it. Through repeated iterations of campaigns to nurture target audiences, I have seen firms in the Dynasty Network run inorganic campaigns that yield increased brand awareness, leads and even clients, from campaigns running a budget of $1,000 or less per month.
Search Engine Visibility and Website Traffic
On aggregate in the Dynasty Network, I’ve found that about 75% of traffic to our partners’ websites comes from search engine queries, primarily from Google. That means that to drive the most traffic to its website, a firm needs to perform really well on search engines, or do something called search engine optimization (SEO). Representing a hub of information for potential clients, an advisor’s website must be easy to find.
Search engine algorithms provide users with the most relevant and useful content available based on the search. One of the considerations for quality and relevance of an advisor is that advisor’s behavior on social media. For instance, if two firms both have similar websites, services and clients, but one of them has a strong social media presence, and the other does not, search engines will prioritize the firm that uses social. The firm that uses social media most likely provides higher value to prospects who also use social media than the firm that does not, and will therefore be ranked higher in search results. Building out a social foundation is something that companies can do for no cost, but which could potentially provide a very valuable boost in website visibility.
Justin Barish is vice president, Digital Marketing at Dynasty Financial Partners.