Editor’s Note: “Doing well by going good” is an often used quotation – and regularly proved out when one gets a look behind the scenes of financial firms in and around our own communities. Mr. Morua’s survey of Facebook use illustrates an important concept – letting clients, prospects and your community understand who you and your team are behind the sign on the door. Rich relationships that will impact your business can cultivate positively over time. We are big believers in using social media effectively to connect with the audience you believe you’d like to do business with. Mr. Morua shows one approach to unlocking potential social media success.
The Ice Bucket Challenge – Inspiration to Use Facebook?
“Facebook. It’s strictly for teenagers and any financial advisor attempting to attach their financial advisory business to it will risk being seen as unprofessional. No question about it.” That’s what I firmly believed, until an old colleague emailed me a link. Boy was I wrong.
Here was a financial advisor, Jonathan Smith of Greensboro, NC, who now has a Facebook page just for a charity he launched back in the 1990’s. There is also a blog where you can see how Mr. Smith (with the help of family and friends) got started. I’d recommend the TedX Greensboro video – which shows just how powerful their efforts have been.
Doing Well by Doing Good
This Facebook page is not meant to entice clients to use his services, since he hasn’t even attached the link to his company webpage. It’s a charity helping those in need, and not his RIA business. He’s simply using Facebook as a platform to share his passion for helping others. However, what an amazing way for a community to first meet you – and then discover how you may be able to help them in their daily lives through your financial expertise.
This use of Facebook is not just emerging with financial advisors in the United States but also overseas. A friend of mine in Australia works for Sydney Financial Planning, a firm that has been a big sponsor of The Sir David Martin Foundation, helping young people in crisis. They proudly post their involvement with The Sir David Martin Foundation on their Facebook page. Their clients love it and because of this, some have even gotten involved.
The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge reminded me of another organization that started in 2006 named Invest in Others. Focusing specifically on charitable efforts of the financial advisor community, they also leverage Facebook to connect with their community – in this case, the community of financial professionals.
Financial advisors are and can be nominated by their peers (and other professionals) and along with the various channels the organization uses to promote nominees and winners – they are also profiles in Investment News annually.
The 10 finalists for this year have been nominated. You might recognize some of the names as I do. Winning is a thrill for any of the finalists as they will not only gain recognition for their efforts but also see financial support given to their preferred charity.
Facebook Intentionally “a little personal”
For Financial Advisors, Facebook is a casual business network, but it can be used to show clients and prospects a little slice of life behind the scenes. That awareness of volunteerism, charitable activities, or philanthropy can often align with someone’s passions or beliefs. This potentially cultivates a personal as well as business connection. It’s also a way to potentially encourage clients to get involved with charitable causes the advisor believes in. That can also open up the doors for discussions regarding charitable deductions or offsetting high capital gains tax exposure.
Creating a Facebook page showcasing an advisor’s (and his or her team’s) volunteer efforts requires commitment and cannot be just a one off post. Getting other members of the firm involved as far as what photos to post, and who responds to feedback on these posts helps build a team spirit. There are a few things you can accomplish, including:
- Measuring results of content publishing, such as ‘likes’ and ‘comments’ received on your Facebook Page (and many other analytics)
- Posting content relating to a volunteer event for your designated charity
- Film and post videos of one of the events participated in (clients are FAR more likely to watch a video such as the Ice Bucket Challenge videos that recently went viral)
- You can also use Twitter to spotlight involvement in charities and direct clients to your Facebook page
Giving back to the community, and leaving a legacy are indeed benefits financial advisors will create by embracing Facebook.