Where do financial advisers add value for investors?
Relationships — including trust and personal connection — account for 72% of financial advisers’ perceived value, according to a recent Vanguard investor survey. The remaining 28%, investors attribute to the actual services advisers provide, such as creating financial plans and maximizing investment returns.
This research emphasizes what many in the industry already know: client relationships are the foundation of financial advising.
It’s no wonder then that advisers haven’t adopted technology at the same pace as other professions. There’s a fear that digital connection can’t facilitate the same level of personal, trusting relationships as face-to-face meetings.
But that fear is misplaced: with the right strategies, it can, and in the age of COVID-19, it simply must.
In-person meetings are no longer safe options for connecting with prospects or clients, so technology is imperative for advisers who want to continue to grow their practices during this pandemic and beyond.
Where technology fits in the client–adviser relationship
Technology is the only avenue to build trust and human connection when you can’t see clients face to face.
Moreover, your prospects expect it in your business.
Among surveyed consumers, 95% think it’s important that advisers be tech-savvy, and up to 96% said they want their advisers to use technology-based tools.
But respondents weren’t interested in tech-only solutions: 88% said technology should complement, not replace, human financial advisory services.
Even before the pandemic disrupted life as we know it, clients wanted a tech-enabled experience, but still valued the human touch.
The following strategies can help you control technology to boost meaningful connections and, in turn, build trust with prospective clients.
1. Start meeting clients and prospects where they are: on social media
With traditional in-person outreach techniques off the table for the foreseeable future, you have to change how you meet and engage with clients. This means connecting with clients and prospects on social media.
Proactive relationship-building is easy on platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn. It’s all about finding and messaging the right people in the right way.
Social media helps you create trust and build relationships, but your influence depends more on your personal interactions with clients than on those of your advisory firm.
After all, those financial advisers with networks 10-times larger than their employer’s follower list can generate twice the click-through rates (CTRs) as a brand’s when sharing social media content.
2. Share relevant content that establishes your credibility
Use your social media channels to educate prospective clients about financial concerns that relate to them personally. That will not only help you establish trust and connection, but also demonstrate to your network that you’re an expert source of financial information.
Social media search functions can help you determine what type of information to share with whom. For example, if you’re interested in helping young adults build their investment strategies, you could search for recent college graduates on LinkedIn and think about the questions that someone in this demographic might ask, to inform what you disseminate.
Whatever content you share, just make sure it feels like a genuine attempt to help. A sales pitch that highlights your products and services won’t do anything to establish a trusting relationship.
Stay up to date on your connections, follow them on social media, and apply that information to personalize messaging. For example, if you see one of your new connections has just purchased a home, you can send a congratulatory message along with a few pieces of financial advice for first-time homeowners.
3. Invest in paid social outreach
As you become more skilled at social media, you can level up your outreach by investing in strategic paid social advertising.
Organic posts help build credibility and trust, but sometimes they aren’t enough. To reach the right prospective clients at the right time at scale, targeted paid social ads may be necessary.
These paid social ads should complement the informative and educational messages you share with your audience. They should help build your reputation as a financial thought leader and raise awareness about your practice to your targeted audience.
Be deliberate and precise. Money is no substitute for thoughtful targeting and messaging. For return on investment, you must be strategic about how you distribute your paid social. Social media management software can help you find the best placements for each ad and optimize its reach.
Financial advisers might have once shied away from integrating technology solutions into their practices. But forgoing digital tools altogether is no longer an option.
Bottom line, the right technologies and digital outreach strategies can help you reimagine how you reach and engage clients in a virtual world.
For more on harnessing technology and investing in new era skills read the Investment Professional of the Future report.
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By Doug Wilber, CEO of Denim Social.
All posts are the opinion of the author. As such, they should not be construed as investment advice, nor do the opinions expressed necessarily reflect the views of CFA Institute or the author’s employer.
Image credit: ©Getty Images / Drazen_