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Paid Digital Marketing for Financial Advisors Part 1: Is It Really Worth the Money?

With the world seemingly turned upside down since the advent of the pandemic, businesses from across the globe have been rapidly shifting to a digital landscape in an effort to sustain their operational models. Social media strategy has played a large part in this digital transformation, and as a result, many financial advisors have struggled to adapt. Sound familiar?

Deviating from the traditional way of doing things certainly has been an adjustment of epic proportions for financial advisors as they attempt to understand how social media strategy will help boost their financial advisor brand. The good news is that social media offers many incredible platforms to diversify your offering while boosting your profile to a whole new audience.  How so, you may ask?

It is important for 21st century online financial advisors to understand that the internet and social media is a vital source of new clients, especially in this dynamic digital age where information is available in an instance. Digital marketing for financial advisors will not replace traditional marketing methods, but rather complement them when properly executed.

Financial advisors appear to have a conundrum when surveying the social media landscape as the plethora of information across different platforms can become quite overwhelming. Many financial advisors who have taken the digital plunge contemplate between organic social growth and paid social media. This is where many virtual financial advisors have trouble adapting as they often choose the wrong strategy that may prove to be costly and ineffective.

Is Paid Digital Marketing & Social Media the Answer?

Paid digital marketing & social media is a way to display ads or sponsored marketing messages on various social media platforms with the intention of targeting a specific type of audience. Paid social media content would differ across various platforms as they each have their unique identities. For the online marketing of financial services to work, social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and Google all need different types of content that appeal to users of those platforms.

With that in mind, online financial advisors who are active across multiple social media platforms will have to adjust their paid marketing strategy for each platform – a time-consuming and costly affair that requires precise execution with the right content to be successful. There is no “one size fits all” content that can be used across the board in the hope of achieving resounding success.

Since most financial advisors are cooks, captains, and bottle washers with limited budgets, it can be an enormous ask to expect them to compete with large financial conglomerates in the paid social media space. Such institutions possess almost unlimited budgets for online ad expenditure, making it extremely difficult for financial advisors to compete. There is hope, however, as paid social media is not always the answer to drive inbound leads and carve out your presence.

Drawbacks of Paid Social Media for Financial Advisors

While paid social media is certainly effective in some instances, when it comes to sending specific content to a particular audience, there are some distinct disadvantages that dissuade many online financial advisors from employing this digital strategy.

Competition

Considering the display and search advertising space on social media, it can become quite cluttered with an increasing number of advertisements appearing each day. With so much competition for advertising space, your paid social media content could get lost in an abyss, especially if you are working on a small paid ad budget.

While virtual financial advisors can use a bit of creativity with their content to attract an audience, bigger budgets always win in the social media advertising space. Another thing to note is that although there are billions of social media users, they each only have one news feed. This means that there is only one opportunity that you may have to grab a potential client’s attention.

Average Cost per Result

While you may get fantastic reach with a great paid social media ad, this may not result in the expected engagement from those who have seen your content. This may not necessarily reflect on the quality of your content; it may be the case that your content is not reaching the right audience, or that your content is not engaging enough for the audience to act on.

Quantifying this can lead to your average cost per result being much higher than expected. One way to circumvent this is to invest more money into your paid social media strategy and create multiple campaigns for top-of-funnel, middle-funnel, and bottom-of-funnel – a risky and potentially costly exercise if you don’t nail it from the beginning.

Frequency

Your paid social media content may appear too frequently to certain users as the algorithm may have programmed it that way. With such frequent exposure to your content, your target audience may mentally switch off when encountering your paid ad and may regard it as a hindrance. This, in turn, may discourage potential clients from showing more interest in your financial advisor brand and services. 

Expense

As mentioned earlier, those companies with massive online advertising budgets are likely to get the lion’s share of digital advertising space and will dominate the audience that you are trying to attract. While you may choose to increase your advertising budget in an attempt to infiltrate the status quo, it may not always work in your favor. Many virtual financial advisors have discovered through trial and error that throwing more money into paid social media advertising doesn’t guarantee a better return.  We simply can’t outspend the big players.

A virtual financial advisor thinking about using organic social media for her business.

Why Organic Social Media?

Organic social media is any social media activity that online financial advisors would use without paying for it. Since the most popular social media platforms are free to use, virtual financial advisors have a digital space from which to build their online presence and engage with an audience for free. The purpose of organic social media is to grow your presence and build an interactive community where you can post relevant content and engage with those who interact with your financial advisor brand – at absolutely no cost.  Well, there is a cost, the cost is your time commitment.  Organic takes time, consistency, and effort so yes there is a cost, just not to your wallet.

For the 21st century online financial advisors, organic social media is a popular and cost-effective way to show clients your culture and values whilst learning more about your clients’ needs and preferences. To leverage organic social media to your advantage, it is vital to have an objective in mind and plan your social media strategy in that direction. Digital marketing for financial advisors on social media would include posting relevant content that would focus on your community of followers and appeal to their needs and preferences.

How does that help, you may ask? By posting valuable content that helps to solve the problems of your audience, you will appear to be more credible in the eyes of your digital community. This credibility that you establish positions you as a thought leader in the industry, and being framed as such will automatically attract the right type of client to you. Lead generation for financial advisors at its finest!

Being determined and focused on your organic social media strategy by using the right content that resonates with your community will undoubtedly grow a genuine following and quickly build your reputation in a highly competitive industry. The value that your digital presence would benefit from through organic social growth far supersedes that of paid social media that does not have nearly as much effect. Digital marketing for financial advisors using organic social media is not complicated and just requires some understanding and patience to make it a success.

Building a Strong Organic Social Media Presence

When working out how to promote financial services with an organic social media strategy, it is important to speak to issues that affect prospective and current clients, provide tangible solutions to these issues, and show your community of followers the person behind your financial advisor brand – all of which are key components that forge long-lasting relationships for a sustainable business model. Seasoned financial advisors would agree that clients want to have a good relationship with the person they entrust with their finances and insurance needs.

With that in mind, your organic social media content must establish trust with your online community and that sense of togetherness will set your financial advisor brand apart from competitors in your community’s social media feeds. While social media appears to be a fickle world, people ultimately crave authenticity, and the more you open yourself up to your community and add value to their lives, the more authentic you appear in their reality – the perfect ingredients for boosting your digital presence.  Attract your tribe with your vibe, now you are competing with no one since you are the only you, so let that shine through in everything you do.

Having a website is crucial when building up your social media presence as your organic social growth will lead to more prospective and current clients visiting your web page. Driving traffic to your website is important as clients get to learn more about you and what you do, and your organic social media strategy plays a vital role in this respect. In a nutshell, your organic social media strategy is like a flyer that gets more people to visit your shop to find out more about your services, products, and brand offering. Digital marketing for financial advisors will only work when leads are directed to your virtual shop and then converted into clients.

The most important thing to remember is that your community follows you on social media because you add value to their lives in some specific way. By trusting the information that you give them, they may enlist you as their financial advisor, or at the very least will be grateful for your online content and recommend you to others who may need your services. Valuable social content is like a digital compass that leads clients to your direction and helps to maintain your inbound strategy.

Using Organic Platforms to Maximize Exposure

While a paid social media ad may catch the eye of a user, it’s not going to automatically convert that person to your brand instantly. With organic social growth, however, you will steadily update your followers with valuable information and enable them to learn more about your financial advisor brand while gaining their loyalty.

By having a loyal following who interacts with your financial advisor brand online, their contacts will notice their interactions with you. Lead generation for financial advisors becomes much easier with personal interactions & endorsements as opposed to having a fickle community of followers who are disengaged with what you have to offer. Having a loyal following that engages with your brand is much more powerful than paid social media ads that are relevant only for a moment.

While there are many social media platforms to use, virtual financial advisors must capitalize on those platforms where their target audiences engage the most. Effective lead generation for financial advisors entails a healthy variety of content that keeps your followers interested. Too much similar content can cause people to switch off, so online financial advisors must devote some time to their organic social media strategy.

With organic social media content, it is an excellent idea to offer your community value for free. Everybody wants to add value to their lives without paying a penny, and your financial advisor brand should be just the destination for such value. Some great ways to add variety to your social media content is to offer:

  • Templates and spreadsheets for your prospective clients to use for their personal finances;
  • Free webinars hosted directly on Facebook through Zoom;
  • Webinar replays hosted on your website;
  • Interactive quizzes offering advice once their scores or results are determined;
  • How-to guides (think investment or saving tools & tips);
  • Comprehensive eBooks (think “How to Rollover an IRA”); and
  • Explainer videos.

These are just a few examples but the world is your oyster as you get creative with your free value-added organic social content that delivers the knock-out punch to your online community.

The benefits of organic social media for virtual financial advisors

Benefits of Organic Social Media

Despite the enormous pressure that social media platforms put on brands to use paid social ads for better results, using organic social media can be extremely powerful when executed correctly.

Boosts Validity

Organic social media content is extremely helpful with word-of-mouth marketing as users are likely to visit your profile and see how other people view your brand. Incredibly, 87% of people on social media trust online reviews written by other clients as much as they would trust a personal recommendation.   Although endorsements/reviews/recommendations have just recently changed for the better in the USA, a lot of compliance departments are still figuring it out so even if you can’t publicly list an endorsement just yet the writing is on the wall, it’s going to happen, so make sure you are ready for it.

This means that having a successful organic social media strategy that engages with your loyal following is likely to lead to online reviews that other people would read. Lead generation for financial advisors couldn’t be simpler when your endorsements are openly displayed for the world to see.

Forging Sincere Connections

Although paid social media can spread awareness of your financial advisor brand quickly, your organic social media efforts will help you to connect with your loyal following regularly, creating trust in a sincere and authentic way. By promoting content that appeals to your online community, you are forging a bond that is far more effective than any paid social media content that you may post.

Cost-Effective Solution for the Long Term

Organic social media growth doesn’t require a budget, so your financial advisor brand can be built cost-effectively. Provided you offer content that is creative, transparent, and attention-grabbing, you will set yourself up for unprecedented success over the long term. A key element of making your organic social growth successful is to be responsive to your community. This means answering questions, giving feedback, or simply conversing with your following timeously.

Final Thoughts

To make your journey as a virtual financial advisor a success, organic social media is a key component that will boost the profile of your financial advisor brand. Prospecting clients online may be vastly different when compared to the old-fashioned way of doing things, but the 21st century online financial advisor must adapt to the times.

Your overall game plan may very well be a blend of organic and paid, but think of paid as pouring gasoline on your social fire, just don’t forget to start the fire first with organic!

Make sure to check out my specialized coaching academy for financial advisors here and learn more about expert techniques and strategies that are perfect for your virtual practice.

Take some time to read my free e-book, The 21st Century Financial Advisor Proclamation, and discover the magic of adapting in this new age to become the best 21st century virtual financial advisor that you can be.

As always, thank you for reading and please consider me a resource.

Best Regards,

Derek

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