A Compliance-Friendly Social Media Strategy
Advisor Perspectives welcomes guest contributions. The views presented here do not necessarily represent those of Advisor Perspectives.
I have three young kids so I’m used to whining. I’m not surprised when every time I talk to a wirehouse or broker-dealer representative and all they do is cry about how their bullying compliance department “is picking on me” whenever they try to do something on social media. Even if your ability to post to social media is restricted, it is still a very powerful prospecting tool.
Here are a few ideas that don’t involve posting content to social media – and a way to get the bully to leave you and your Elmo lunch box alone!
No excuse for not doing your homework
If you’re not using social media to do your due diligence on prospects, I’m going to give you a virtual black eye. Get ready.
If you’ve ever been to my LinkedIn or YouTube page, you’ll see that when it comes to my business life, I put it all out there. Yet despite that the free and public information about what I do for a living that is widely available to anyone to consume, vendors never do.
Every time I am contacted by a salesperson trying to sell me work on my website or my payroll, it’s always the same blank, generic pitch. It’s past annoying – I actually get offended. I find it uncouth to call me up and ask me a million questions that you could have answered in three minutes just by looking at what I post on LinkedIn.
There’s nothing worse than an ignorant question from a salesperson.
Get the ice packs ready because I’m about to uppercut to your jaw if you’re doing the same thing.
With so much information available on social media that is free and accessible to the public, if you’re not researching someone on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and every other form of social media, here’s how the prospect feels when you show up for the first meeting.
I’m not really that into you, I’m just after your money.
This flies in the face of every advisor’s marketing pitch (and yes I am 100% certain that 100% of advisors all say this on their websites) that you are the warmest, fuzziest, cuddliest of all the Care Bears and all you want to do is give your clients a big bear hug.
There’s no excuse for not conducting basic research on your prospects using social media.
Let’s take for example multimillionaire Grant Cardone. He’s got five businesses and over $500 million of real estate, based on what he claims openly on his YouTube channel. Grant has a videographer follow him and document his life, which is altogether pretty cool considering that he flies in a private jet.
Look at what he’s giving you. You can find out everything by taking a few hours to study his YouTube page, from his kids’ and wife’s names (Scarlet, Sabrina, and Elaina) to where he likes to vacation to his key employees and the kind of coffee he likes. Moreover, he has guests come on his show who are also qualified prospects so you have access to the same information about them, too!
This is too good a tool to miss.
This is a gift to those who want a TKO prospecting pitch.
In this case, social media is directly giving you all the information you need to create a pitch so customized to Grant’s life that he’ll think you are obsessed with him. Highly affluent people want to feel that way, like they’re the only client in the world and they’ll be given the highest attention.
Social media gives you the opportunity to pitch way deeper than what advisors typically do. It’s not like when I got my first job at Fidelity Investments after college. I remember showing up hoping that my boss wasn’t going to chop me up for dinner. I had no idea how to impress those people.
Now you’re going to whine at me that retired people aren’t on social media. Go ahead, say it.
That’s valid. But most people younger than 60 are on social media, and the more senior generations (80-year olds) are not as likely. However, what about their kids? At least find out where they live and what they may be into based upon their profile information.
If you’re not heavily utilizing social media to do research on your prospects, you’re asking questions that make you appear ignorant in their eyes. So hook, uppercut, bob and weave and pack a harder punch using your Facebook account.
You bet your sweet bippy they’re researching you
Before prospects even think about talking to you, they are checking you out on social media. It’s a reflex people have. You realize that some people maintain an account just so that they can spy on other people, right? They have no intention of ever putting out a single piece of content; they exist on Facebook just to lurk and watch.
Know this and understand the opportunity to put on an entertaining show for these lurkers.
A great number of advisors contact me every day on LinkedIn and I rarely am impressed by their profile. Just look at every advisor’s LinkedIn summary field. Let me guess – you provide investment, financial planning, and wealth management advice to high-net-worth families, individuals and institutions, right?
Or did you leave off business owners by mistake? Add that on, because it makes the whole thing way more intriguing.
Do it quickly because I’m falling asleep writing this.
Try something like this. In my LinkedIn summary field, I put my motto "Do It Creatively -- Or Don't Do It At All” right away. Then I hit them with wording that describes the challenges that advisors face, “99% of financial advisors have no brand and it prevents them from getting new clients any way other than word of mouth or referral.” I then describe how I help fix this problem and offer a free download of my book about LinkedIn techniques.
Bold? Yes. But as I’ve said before, we’re all competing with pictures of Kim Kardashian’s derriere on Instagram.
Maybe you’re not as daring as I am. Fair enough. The main point you should take from my profile is to be customer-focused in a deeper way: Tell people what the problems are that you solve, articulate why these problems are bad for them to live with, and give them a juicy reason to visit your website and get started on fixing the problem.
But do it in a way that has zest.
For all you poor bullied wirehouse reps, severely restricted posting isn’t the end of the world. Don’t look at social media merely as a way to push out information to an audience. There are so many ways it can help you snag a few of the thousands of people retiring each day in our country. These are just a few examples of non-posting techniques; there are others but this article has already gotten too long.
Social media isn’t just a piece of software. It’s a force, changing how people communicate and how they relate to each other. Learn it and get onboard or get left behind. If you want my opinion on your LinkedIn profile page, let me know.
Sara Grillo, CFA, is a top financial writer with a focus on marketing and branding for investment management, financial planning, and RIA firms. Prior to launching her own firm, she was a financial advisor and worked at Lehman Brothers. Sara graduated from Harvard with a degree in English literature and has an MBA from NYU Stern in Quantitative Finance.