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Independent Wealth Advisors Need a Digital Brand Mindset

In uncertain times, bad advisors hide from their clients; good advisors put themselves out there—and that’s how they take market share.

We all know there’s a significant wave of wealth waiting to be transferred over in the coming five to seven years. A veritable tsunami of intergenerational money is ready to move. But where will it go? The industry expects that nearly a quarter of current advisors will soon choose to exit or retire. And the bear market is likely to accelerate those decisions. The survivors will find themselves awash in opportunity to seize their fair share of the wealth transfer—but you can’t be passive about it. Otherwise, you’ll get lost in the digital universe that is the internet.

To stand out, advisors should be proactive in building their digital brand. Embrace social media and invest in your online presence. This is your opportunity not only to attract new clients but also to deepen your existing relationships.

The next generation—the inheritors of all this wealth—are quite adept at searching for everything in their lives online. Are you prepared for your first interaction with a prospect to be on your website or your social media channel? You won’t be in the room with them to introduce yourself and explain who you are and what you stand for. Your digital presence will do that for you.

Modern wealth management demands advisors have an active, well-planned and smartly curated presence online. And this is an opportunity that aligns perfectly with the independent advisor. You have the freedom to run your own website and social accounts—you no longer have to seek permission from a corporate overlord. Admittedly, it takes a certain amount of courage to be highly visible online, but that’s a courage born of the entrepreneurial spirit that drives advisors to hang their own shingle in the first place.

All you need to do is invest some time to get your digital brand up and running—and keep it flowing with regular updates. There are myriad agencies and resource partners available to lend a hand or even take the lead.

First and foremost, you need a welcoming website where all your social media efforts will drive traffic from prospective clients. Your site should have clear messaging and compelling reasons why new clients should choose you.

You need to support your online presence with at least one social media channel. There are plenty to pick from. LinkedIn profiles are fundamental—one for the firm and one for each employee. But, as LinkedIn remains business-oriented, most prospects may look for you elsewhere: like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and even TikTok. You might also consider having your own channel on YouTube or Vimeo, where you can build a library of your videos.

Videos are, in fact, the most important element of your social media activity. According to Sprout Social, 93% of companies have acquired new customers via social media video. And you don’t need a Hollywood production to create and distribute effective videos that get across your message.

From hosting 30-minute webinars on Zoom to posting 30-second videos on LinkedIn, you should be developing your digital brand with a regular consistent cadence of informative, instructive videos. But it’s not just about having a presence—it’s about having something to say, and how you say it.

Here are four things to keep top of mind when thinking about the content for your digital brand.

  1. Always focus on your audience. Don’t make your story about you—make it about how you can help your clients. And be sensitive to the range of demographics among your target audience. Our industry remains male-dominated, but it shouldn’t be male-oriented. Be sure to focus on prospective female clients (whether you are a man or a woman), as they’ll be owning the majority of the next wave of wealth.
  2. Wealth management is getting more complex with greater access to private markets and alternative investments, as well as cryptocurrencies. Clients are getting more sophisticated, but they will still turn to you for information and advice. Be sure you’re staying on top of new opportunities and be ready to lead the conversation with your clients.
  3. To stand apart from the noise in the marketplace, focus on a niche area where you believe you can make a difference and be rewarded with smart ROI. Create bespoke content to highlight your insights into an area of relevance to even a narrow slice of your clients. Being seen as a subject matter expert will create a halo effect for you and your firm.
  4. When developing the persona for your brand, be sure to “stay human.” An advisor’s irreplaceable advantage is the human touch—the chemistry you bring to each relationship. Your social media should include stories about your team members and the culture of your firm—even your family and your charitable activities. Be genuine and relatable, and clients will come to you, confident you will understand them and their needs.

It does take courage to be open like this. And while digital technology makes it easier, you need to make a conscious decision to build and commit to your brand online. But remember: in uncertain times, especially in a bear market, bad advisors hide from their clients; good advisors put themselves out there—and that’s how they take market share.

Jim Dickson is founder and CEO of Sanctuary Wealth

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