Most posters on my timeline (LinkedIn included) fall into the trap of aggressively promoting their wares without bothering to reply to comments or attempting to connect with followers in a genuine and personal way. We wouldn’t approach someone at a trade show and just launch into a sales pitch, so why do we do it online?
Sharpening our digital marketing etiquette goes beyond social media savvy and it’s OK to, 1. Start somewhere and 2. Be a bit rubbish at it to begin with. We aren’t all marketeers in the same way that we aren’t all mechanics, but many business owners, from lone advisers to large firms, are expected to grasp these principles without ever having studied them. Prospects reports that there are 153,000 people qualified enough in the subject to get a job in marketing in the UK and 70% of them are graduates, so where does that leave everyone else in the promotional stakes?
If you don’t have time to do a marketing course on the side whilst juggling your financial planning day job, family life and as much self-care as you can scrape together for a few hours on Sunday, start by modelling these advisers, who seem to have it sussed:
1. Robert Gardner, founder of Redington and RedStart Educate / Author, and Director of Investments at St James' Place
Robert’s Twitter profile displays all the hallmarks of an online marketing expert. He has a respectable 13,700 followers (not bad for a feed with no half-naked selfies), a bio explaining what he does in a nutshell with links to his business accounts and a photo of him literally rubbing shoulders with Claudia Winkleman. As if that wasn’t enough, his cover photo shows off his physical merchandise, which includes childrens’ finance book, Save Your Acorns and a range of educational aids. All of these things act as ‘social proof’ that he knows what he’s doing with your money and that he’s a credible authority on finance - Save Your Acorns has over 50 Amazon reviews and has been covered by the BBC and The Sunday Times to name a few. If writing a book or starting a children’s financial education movement isn’t on the cards for you just yet,another one of Robert’s standout online marketing skills is the confidence to share valuable material, even if it comes from a competitor. In the Tweet below, Robert could be seen to be promoting fellow personal finance thought leader, but is generous enough to do so and provide value for his audience:
2. Farida Hassanali, Financial Planner & Investment Analyst at Jarrovian Wealth
A regular contributor on LinkedIn, with over 500 connections and almost 2,500 people subscribing to her posts, Farida Hassanali appears to have cracked one of the most valuable, yet cynical social networks out there. The one thing to take away from how Farida and her firm, Jarrovian Wealth, market online is the importance of weaving something personal into your content every now and again, as opposed to flooding followers with promotional or ‘serious’ posts. The example below has nothing much to do with Farida’s work as a planner and will probably not directly lead to Jarrovian Wealth getting new clients, but it shows that she is an actual human that might be interested in the same things as you:
Social accounts belonging to Jarrovian Wealth do the same, however their website does a very nice job of combining serious information, such as staff qualifications and career background, with their personal interests. Their ‘Meet the team’ page includes tidbits like, “Farida decided to become...a Financial Planner at the age of 12” and “She can often be found trekking up mountains, competing in triathlons or tackling Tough Mudders.”
This five year-old firm recently appeared in FT Adviser after they hit a milestone and grew by 25%. Not shy (although still tasteful) about promoting company news, press coverage and award nominations, Continuum’s site is a content marketer’s dream. They also have an ‘Education Centre’, featuring downloads on various aspects of personal finance and wealth-building, as well as taking the time to ensure their own PR messages are up-to-date. Their homepage is designed to quickly funnel visitors through to the most appropriate part of their content-packed website by asking, ‘What stage of your financial journey are you at?’, which offers options like ‘Investing your wealth’, Saving for the future’ and ‘Pensions & retirement’. The Continuum team haven’t neglected their social media in favour of creating all of that reading material - their Facebook page is verified by the new ‘grey tick’, solidifying their position as a firm of note. Social feed content is just as rich and relevant as that of their ‘Education Centre’:
After 25 years in business and a string of accolades, including a February 2019 award for ‘Best Network’ by Professional Adviser, Tenet tick all of the rudimentary online marketing boxes, including - a website with plenty of phrases that people will be likely to use when searching for a firm on Google, a blog, press section (credibility rules in this industry), a customer service chat bot and invitations to connect with them on social media. The online marketing gold from this firm possess in addition to all of that, is their programme of free events. The post below shows Robert Peston speaking at a Tenet event:
Tenet regularly encourage potential and existing clients to meet them in real life, which may be the ultimate test of the effectiveness of your online strategy. Clients are bombarded with all sorts of calls-to-action and things to read which clamour for attention from their email inbox, social feeds, text and everywhere in between. Tenet have cut through this noise and successfully persuaded delegates to leave their growing to-do lists and early nights in front of Netflix, to get out there and brave the sometimes uncomfortable world of networking and making eye contact - without a screen or keyboard in sight!
For more adviser tips and commentary, explore the rest of our blog.