Why advice firms can’t work without social media

Social media is at the heart of a revolution in both our business and private lives.  However, many advisory firms do not actively use it when communicating with clients. This is a major strategic mistake and one that is potentially dangerous for long-term success.

This is reinforced when you consider the latest statistics for social media use in the UK, which show that online networking  is truly everywhere.

According to the PR and social media agency UMPF:

  • Four million UK adults use Facebook regularly
  • More than half of UK pensioners are now on Facebook
  • 12 million UK adults are on LinkedIn
  • Five million UK adults are on Twitter
  • One million people in the UK use YouTube regularly
  • Instagram and Snapchat are the fastest-growing social media.

The UK advice profession needs to be aware of changing consumer habits. More and more of us are doing things for ourselves and are becoming more inquisitive before we use a service or approach a professional.

What would potential clients find if they Googled your firm? Would they be impressed? Would they find anything at all?

Most successful advisory firms have built their client base through doing a great job and having people recommend them to family and friends. Referrals are the bedrock of our profession as people value our experience, empathy and expertise.

This will continue to be the case but the way in which our current and future clients communicate has changed and will continue to evolve. Yes, word of mouth is still prominent but social media is fast becoming the preferred way to praise or condemn products and services.

Indeed, 53 per cent of active Twitter users regularly recommend products, services and professionals and while only 14 per cent of us trust television advertising, over 90 per cent of us trust recommendations on social media.

If your business is not being recommended and discussed online, who will your clients turn to? Might they try to manage their financial future alone?

The self-serve world is well and truly here, and how we deal with it is a key strategic opportunity for every business. All advisers must ask themselves this question: if we are not in our clients’ digital lives, are we really in their lives at all?

Your answer might be that you do not want to be in their digital lives. However, with the rise and reach of social media and the real-time influence and information it can provide, this is the most powerful self-analysis a business needs to make.

Consider the following key questions. Can social media:

  • Aid your marketing and brand building?
  • Help sell the value you add to clients?
  • Allow you to target the right clients with the right messages?
  • Enable you to expand your business network?
  • Assist your recruitment efforts?
  • Build a community with your clients and lead to referrals?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then you need a social media strategy.

Remember, social media is no longer a business nice-to-have. It is an essential tactic that must be utilised by any firm that wishes to maximise the opportunities social change has created and will continue to do so.

John Joe McGinley is founder of Glassagh Consulting