An on-going concern for financial professionals is how to walk the line between sharing too much and too little of themselves through their social media presence. It can be challenging to find the perfect balance point between keeping it professional and giving your visitors a bit of who you are personally – enough so that they will to be comfortable starting an online (and offline) dialog.
On LinkedIn, an easy way to get started with sharing what’s important to you is through the Volunteer Experience & Causes section.
For Cathy Curtis, a financial advisor in the Bay Area, sharing her involvement in area non-profits is a key part of her business development program. She uses her LinkedIn profile to highlight a number of causes that she actively supports. “One of my key beliefs when it comes to marketing to a niche is to be authentic and transparent, not only about the business process and fees, but also about who I am.”
Think about your current client base; it makes sense that they would share many of the same values and interests that you do. People feel most comfortable doing business with people like themselves. It’s easier for them to build trust in someone whom they can relate to. So as you are looking to build your client base, you can accelerate the relationship-building process by allowing your prospects to find common ground with you.
Does this really work? Cathy thinks so:
“I definitely have gained clients because of my work in the sustainable agriculture/healthy food system community work. The organizations that I’m involved with, in particular the Commonwealth Club and CUESA (the center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture) are very highly thought of in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. Often in prospect meetings, my involvement is discussed and I have a growing list of clients who work in those areas.”
You don’t have to join a group just to put it on your LinkedIn profile. Like many financial professionals, you are probably already involved in community organizations as a way to support causes that are important to you. It’s just a matter of including that in your profile.
LinkedIn makes it easy by including a dedicated “Volunteer Experience & Causes” section that you can use to include both current activities and past involvement. You can even list your specific role in an organization, which is a great to highlight leadership positions you have held.
Is it possible to push away potential clients by sharing what groups you support? It’s possible; but it’s unlikely that you will lose ideal clients who share the same values by sharing what’s important to you. If you are concerned, for example, that a political or religious group might bring up some questions, it’s OK to leave it off. Focus instead on organizations and areas that have wide-spread support. Cathy says, “I must admit, I don’t worry very much about turning anyone “off” by disclosing my community involvement or charitable interests. Generally, I think advisors generally attract like-minded people to their practices.”
Your prospective clients today are more savvy and more informed than they have every been – and they have more options! They are looking for help from financial professionals that they can connect with and trust. Give them the information that allows them to feel comfortable with you, and start building relationships that last a lifetime.