Lisa Clarke, social media assistant at Census Financial Planning, shares some thoughts about the use of social media in the context of financial advice, and how social media can benefit your business.
- Social media is a marketing tool, not a platform for giving advice
- Ensuring that your firm has appropriate links on third-party website will help direct traffic to your own site
- Buying followers will not lead to more business
When did you start using social media?
We first started using it in 2011
What types of social media do you use?
We use Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Tumblr, Blogger, Podcasts, YouTube, Pinterest, Google+ and many more. Basically, we use whatever we come across and the ones that give positive feedback - through analytics of our web referrals - remain active. The rest fall by the wayside.
"As far as followers go, ensure you are attracting the right calibre - remember, quality over quantity is what counts."
Did any issues with compliance ever worry you?
It has not been a concern. We are lucky enough to be with Sesame, who have been very understanding of our marketing strategy. However we do submit all accounts and profiles for compliance approval. As for daily posts, compliance keeps a general eye on what we say as they do understand the likes of Twitter operate at a quicker pace and pre-approval of each post would be impossible.
What do you see as the benefits of using social media?
We have found the biggest benefit from social media was with SEO - that is, search engine optimisation. The top results on the likes of Google tend to be websites that are updated regularly and, since there isn't much you can update daily on a company website, this is where Twitter comes in. Not only this but having profiles on other websites means you aren't just the first result on a Google search - you can appear multiple times. Ensuring you have appropriate links on all these third-party websites will ultimately drive traffic to your own site.
We also have business Twitter accounts for all our advisers as we found the clients can identify more with their own adviser than with the company itself. That has proved a good base to promote introducers for external referrals as well as the additional arms to our business, such as Census Protect and Census Connect.
Some advisers make the argument social media takes up a lot of valuable business time – do you agree?
At Census Financial Planning we have a marketing team. This has developed off the back of our work in social media and there is a role dedicated solely to social media, web and marketing maintenance. So we have found it can be very beneficial towards expanding awareness of the business and our services.
What advice would you give to any financial adviser thinking about taking the leap into social media?
We would advise that it should be approached with caution from a compliance perspective - it is not a platform for giving advice, it is a marketing tool. It helps add personality to your business as well as a knowledge hub. This can lead to interaction with prospective clients through common grounds, such as sports and so forth. Finally, as far as followers go, ensure you are attracting the right calibre - buying followers does not lead to more business. Remember, quality over quantity is what counts.