As a unique and challenging niche, the financial services industry is faced with additional hurdles when it comes to adoption and execution, and it is my belief that we are in the early stages of a massive evolution of how financial professionals connect, engage and collaborate with clients and prospects.
Here is what I believe…..
…that early adopters of social media in financial services will be rewarded with new business opportunities as they engage and share valuable content with their clients and prospects online. Not having a social strategy IS a strategy and a formula for failure as the acceptance and usage of social media tools to drive consumer behavior increases- especially with the next generation of investors.
…that citing compliance and regulatory concerns are an excuse and should not hinder financial professionals from exploring how to develop social media policies and participation within the framework of our regulated industry. Early adopters of social media are already participating by partnering with social media archiving and monitoring solutions like Actiance that are providing the infrastructure and process for participation with Socialite.
…that social media is not new to the engaged and connected advisor and is just an amplified digital extension of their values, beliefs and approaches. One of the biggest surprises for new adopters of social media is how easy it is to extend their authentic voice in a social medium. Social media and networking does not require you to learn how to be social, it just encourages you to be more visible.
…that customers will begin to demand that their financial professionals be available and connected in the social mediums THEY prefer. The next generation of investors is not going to wait for you to catch up, and e-mail is not going to cut it. Given the amount of time people are spending on social networks, it is only a matter of time before financial professionals are EXPECTED to be online, and those who are not- invisible.
…that social media networking will become the preferred method of new business development and relationships. Social networks are built on common connections and will facilitate the opportunity for new introductions and word of mouth referrals. Presence online will be akin to the new storefront and business brochure of the 21st century. If you are not online- you don’t count. When was the last time you used the yellow pages for anything other than a door stop?
…investors will demand more authenticity and transparency that social media can provide. Social profiles on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter will allow financial professionals to broadcast their thought leadership either by curating or creating content that illustrates their unique voice or by engaging with their audience. People like doing business with people they like, and you online self should be a reflection of your authentic self (quirks and all).
…financial professionals will enrich the relationships with existing clients regardless of account size. Social media broadcasting provides financial professionals the ability to scale their practice and democratize their message regardless of account size or geographic location. Time sensitive messages will not be hindered by the need to contact top clients first, and instead advisors can broadcast to all clients and follow up with those that have specific concerns. This is critical in times of volatility and uncertainty when investors are looking for direction and guidance…be that voice of reason.
…using social media will allow advisors to create and find the niches they would prefer to work with and in. Finding your tribes online that share similar passions and tastes will be easier using social media. Financial professionals will be able to carve out niches around their shared passions and activities providing them with a richer work experience. Who wouldn’t want to work with Rodeo Clowns? Hey, if it’s your tribe, embrace it, own it!
…unique thought leadership via a blogging platform that includes video content is the future. Early adopters like Ted Jenkin of oXYGen Financial are already showing us a vision of where we are headed in financial services social media best practices and use. I envision that others will follow once they master the tools of engagement, and get more comfortable with a new vision and bring in front of a camera.
…niche focused networks will grow and add value to professionals that are using them. LinkedFA is a unique niche social network for financial and insurance professionals adding value to those who participate by keeping the focus on the industry and needs of clients. Users will not be distracted by posts outside of the scope of their niche and can remain focused on the conversations and relationships that help build and grow their business.
…that the adoption of social media will grow faster as client testimonials and financial professional success stories become more common. Celebrating client life events such as retirement, job changes and new family members will be commonplace in a social media setting and increase engagement between clients and advisors. Stories of how clients and their advisors are relating and sharing online will be passed along at picnics, family reunions, and among friends.
…that the lines between professional and personal profiles will blur in social media and that transparency will be valued even more- providing you an opportunity to be represented as your authentic self. Your profile will reflect who you are, what you value, and what you stand for. You will no longer be defined by what you do, but who you are.
…we are only scratching the surface of opportunity for business growth using social media. Access may be the first challenge for many financial professionals followed by the need for best practices training and understanding on how to use the tools. In the near future I envision a social world where we will no longer differentiate a social strategy from an overall strategy, and that the social aspects of the campaign will be built in. Social Marketing will be Marketing, and Social Media will be Media. All will be one.
That’s what I believe. How about you? What do you think?
source: This is an updated version of an original post from the author on Red7Marketing.com