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Early adopters of social media, RIAs are growing disenchanted with its power to drum up new business

Advisors must become better marketers before they can optimize social media, experts say

Author Dina Hampton December 29, 2011 at 4:08 PM
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Ron Shevlin: Advisors are jumping on the bandwagon without a clear understanding of what they're doing there.

Elmer Rich III

Elmer Rich III

December 29, 2011 — 5:45 PM

We have warned about this for a over a year. In fact, the ability of social media to produce business is being disproven by data from all industries — including consumer goods. People, mainly young women, use social media to connect with friends and family — tat’s about it. The over-selling sales hype fatally distorted all this from the beginning. Too bad.

That said, there are uses for professionals.

Maria Marsala

Maria Marsala

December 30, 2011 — 11:09 AM

All sorts of client acquisition processes won’t work if all you do is throw the spaghetti on the wall, expecting it to stick. I “see” so many financial advisors answering questions or posting tweets and I’m scratching my head trying to figure out the strategy behind this tactic. (I like puzzles, but often give up trying to figure out the “why” before my head starts hurting).

Be where your niche is, not where everyone else is.

Be where your niche is, not where everyone else in your industry is.

The old rules of 7-10 touches (off line) and more like 20 touches on line before someone will make a comment to your blog, email you or join your newsletter IS reason enough to use social networking as part of an overall, integrated client acquisition strategy. (Remember to let your current clients know which social networking sites you have a profile on.)

What has become known as social networking (I mean isn’t all networking social?) is a tool. But unlike most marketing, PR, or other efforts, today it has to be monitored much more keenly because, well, it’s technology. As such it continues changes more and more every year

Elmer Rich III

Elmer Rich III

December 30, 2011 — 12:52 PM

The comment brings up a good point. Social media has inundated busy individuals with additional contacts and devices to the point of saturation. There are also many more ways for competitors to get at an RIAs clients.

Kirk Lowe

Kirk Lowe

August 22, 2013 — 7:47 PM

Can we really judge how successful or not RIAs have been using social media when I’ve yet to see a firm follow the “trust” model to expand their network, engage their followers, and influence buying decisions?

How many RIAs clearly articulate what they do and why they are better to their target audience?

Social media is about “giving wisdom generously”, creating trust by not asking for a sale, and building credibility through being the indisputable expert in your area. It helps to have an “area of expertise” too. Again, another short-coming that effects social media results.

How many RIAs know how to best leverage the various types of social network/tools.

Do RIAs have blogs, papers, checklists and vidoes that share their wisdom?

RIAs that take the time to find the right social media partner, have a great brand, share incredible content and follow the best practices for achieving results – will get the results and then some.

Elmer Rich III

Elmer Rich III

August 22, 2013 — 8:42 PM

There is new information suggesting that technology, gadgets and social media are not only not productive but likely hurt. We are going off and recommending our clients to the same. Lots of time and money with no or negative returns.

It has been so highly hyped and “supply” driven – this was predictable.

Maria Marsala

Maria Marsala

August 22, 2013 — 10:11 PM

“How many RIAs clearly articulate what they do and why they are better to their target audience?” Kirt

I don’t meet many FAs who can answer “what do you do” and “why should someone hire you” with out spewing a mouthful of boring words about their title, name of their firm or the fact that they are investment advisors, etc. etc. It’s the old bad game of features (vs. benefits or differentiators).

But when I look at successful FAs, I notice from their websites that they work with ____ or ____ (a target market).

Recently I’ve noticed a few successful FAs also mentioning on their websites their minimum AUM. That’s great to have, too.

But it goes back further than that… to “who is your target audience —- as the answer is I’ll talk to someone who breaths (although not in those terms, but that’s what I hear). What a waste of time it is to talk to anyone who breaths.

Months ago, I went to the internet to find a list of niches for FAs. To me, that’s the bottom line of a target market that you build on. Hard as I tried, I found <del>0</del>. (So I created a list).

For sure I would have thought that core foundations of a business would have been taught at the training classes FAs attend; if not at business school. Not the case.

Social media is a way to expand your network and communications with clients. Yes, some FAs do get business from social media. But I don’t see that as the norm.

More business comes from treating your clients so well that they talk about you to others, referrals from happy clients who know who you want as clients, attending events where your ideal clients hang out, or you offering events to current clients who can bring new clients with them to the events. All face-to-face.

However, you also have a brochure style website along with a blog with a current article of interest to your readers. And on both your blog and website you provide ways for people to connect with you; subscribe to your newsletter, subscribe to your blog, contact you, connect with you on social networking.

And that’s true in my business, too. When I speak at conferences or workshops, I’m more apt to get clients and/or new subscribers to my newsletter more quickly then I do from work done on the Internet. I’m sure it’s because they have spent 1-3 hours with me and “get/trust” that I’m here to help them succeed. They get to know about me and the way I work, from my talk that they wouldn’t have been able to do by going to my social networking sites.


Mentioned in this article:

Finetooth Consulting
Consulting Firm
Top Executive: Ryan Shanks

Private Capital Management Associates, LLC
Advisory Firm
Top Executive: Nikki Chicotel

FA Match
Consulting Firm, Specialized Breakaway Service, Recruiter
Top Executive: Ryan Shanks



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