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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


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There are 7 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. 1 million regular YouTube users? The same number of people in the UK play World of Warcraft. Presumably that means we all need to create orcish archmages and dispense financial advice while tanking the Hellfire Citadel as well.

    The premise of the article is that financial advice businesses want to maximise the number of people who contact them (I won’t say “potential clients” because it’s not the same thing) which is simply not true. Maybe for some but not all.

    I can promise you the Twitter statistic is rubbish. I know about three people who use Twitter where it isn’t part of their job (out of a fairly tech-savvy demographic) – it is mostly populated by corporate accounts and spambots.

  2. There seems to be many social media experts around but few have much to say about the financial sector.

    There’s a good reason for this. The financial services industry is a regulatory minefield, and getting social media wrong can cause it to blow up in your face.

    As a result the financial services industry has trailed behind other sectors in social media, but that is now changing fast.

    An important point for firms to remember is that the FCA’s rules are intended to be media-neutral, meaning any form of communication, including social media can be seen as a financial promotion. The fundamental requirement that all communications are ‘fair, clear and not misleading’ and all the other requirements apply to social media just as they do for any other media.

    By bringing together the wide range of skills from marketing and creativity to compliance, LS consultancy can provide a unique resource – designed to make your communications more effective and avoid the regulatory pitfalls.


  3. What a load of twaddle. I actually canvassed by client base and less than 1% used social meeja. My client base was from ages 35 upwards. Mostly business and professional.

    Personally I think social media is totally moronic. What’s wrong with e-mail, text, telephone and post? Do I really want to reach out to the world and have to engage with all kinds of dross?

    • John Joe McGinley 17th February 2016 at 3:54 pm

      Cheers Harry always great to hear from you and it’s good to see you have done your research which is the most powerful thing any business can do when it comes to Social Media.

  4. To say Advice Firms can’t work without Social Media might be a slight exaggeration, but makes a good headline! They certainly can work without it, but maybe not as effectively as if they embraced Social Media and used it to their advantage.

    Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and Twitter (amongst others) are just utilised as standard forms of communication for people now. As a result, over time these will simply become the norm without the need for any concious effort to adopt a new approach.

    To the people who dismiss Social Media out of hand, you would be surprised how many people do use it in some form or another. I was talking to my 88 year old neighbour, Malcolm, just the other day. I was very surprised when he told me he uses WhatsApp on his iPad to communicate with his son in New Zealand. I’m sure if I canvassed him and asked him if he was a Social Media user, he would say no. But if I asked him what methods he now uses to communicate with people that are different to those he used 20 years ago, the answer would be that he does use what is deemed ‘Social Media’.

    It is not about showing people a picture of what you’ve had for dinner or moaning about what a bad day you’ve had! It’s about free, easy and effective communication with people, some of whom may just happen to be clients.

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