By Samantha O’Neil
Ever heard of an ego search? It’s a search for your name on the internet to see what results appear. In today’s digitally fueled world, the idea is to gain a better understanding of how you are depicted online.
This could be a useful practice for financial advisors as well. With information being shared at such a rapid pace, how can you be sure your firm is standing out from the crowd?
To “own your space” in the online world, it’s important to use a marketing approach to get your firm’s name out there and to differentiate your firm from the competition. First and foremost, be sure you have firm branding and value proposition in place. Be specific about who your firm serves and be sure to create customized messages and craft a more personalized experience for clients.
Remember: it’s important not to jump into your online marketing channels without having your firm story down first! Once your firm story is ready to share, it’s time to become an avid user of social channels—like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube—and make sure you have an organized website that is the hub for all that you do.
So let’s look at the underlying question: Are you posting content that will catch the eye of a potential client?
For any web initiative, define your strategy and goals, stay aligned with your brand voice and ensure a clear and measurable call to action for your potential clients (prospects can’t call if they can’t easily find your firm’s number).
In Fidelity’s 2016 online strategy report, fewer than two-thirds of advisors said that their websites include compelling visual images, differentiating messaging or descriptions of the types of clients served. To help your firm stand out to a prospect, include rich media in your posts—this is a combination of text, audio, animation, video and interactive content. Leverage engaging visuals, like firm pictures or videos, paint a picture of your company’s spirit. Be sure to use high-resolution images and consider including your company logo or a banner image whenever possible.
Use social “follow” buttons and visitor tracking to connect all of your online channels and track how people are using them. It’s common to incorporate social buttons into the navigation bar, so they will still be available as the user moves from page to page. Using analytics software to assess the use of these buttons and track the general traffic to your firm’s website can provide data on the number of people who visit your firm’s site, from where they originated and what material they view. There are a number of tools available that can help track visitors and the use of social follow buttons—be sure to do your research and choose the one that best meets your business needs.
Promote engagement from your followers by asking readers to weigh in on key topics, and by responding quickly to relevant comments or questions you receive on posts. By including those engaging visuals like pictures, videos, and links to other marketing resources help to foster conversation, but keep in mind that social media is meant to be a two-way dialogue, not just an opportunity to push content.
Be sure that there is a consistent frequency to your firm’s posts. Consider creating a schedule for posting and doing some research on the best time of day to post to various sites. This helps maximize the number of interactions with a post. Just be sure you’re not posting too often—you want to avoid flooding your firm’s followers with content.
With all of this in mind, what would an ego search reveal for your company? Put yourself in your clients’ shoes and give it a try. With the amount of content coming at us day to day through several devices, it’s never been more difficult—or important—for current or potential clients to easily find and follow your content. After all, a poorly designed website or the misuse of a social media platform can be frustrating for a prospect (and may even be a turn-off), but an online strategy that is organized, eye-catching and unique to your brand just might help to win you that new client.
Samantha O’Neil is Head of Marketing at Fidelity Clearing & Custody Solutions.