Twenty years ago, advertising your financial practice was much different than it is today. Your best bet then was television, but with the cost of filming and production, it was too expensive to use regularly. As an alternative, you could place an ad in a local newspaper or magazine, but those, too, came with a price for design and ad placement without an accurate way to track the number of eyes who saw it.
Today, enter the proliferation of social media. The digital age has brought us a way to advertise our services more easily and efficiently, plus with better viewership reporting capabilities, all for free. Like any new technology though, social media brings with it its own cultural etiquette that can be difficult to navigate. Using simple best practices, you can promote your brand, stay at the forefront of prospect’s minds and solidify client relationships, all with a few taps of your phone.
Step out of the office
While many tout LinkedIn as the premier online networking platform, I prefer Instagram for promoting my practice to consumers. Instagram provides an extra layer of personal connection that LinkedIn lacks, plus it’s extremely user-friendly and casual so you don’t have to agonize about crafting the perfect post. I’ve found that our clients and prospects actually prefer when we are more natural, direct and authentic.
Showing clients who you are outside of the office helps to humanize our industry and build a connection a client might not see in a meeting. Don’t feel as though you have to talk about insurance all the time. Keep things lighthearted by posting videos of your children at their soccer game or spelling bee, or sharing a hike you took with your dog. When they see that you’re personable and relatable, it creates an added layer of trust.
Alongside videos of your family, post a photo of an MDRT meeting you recently attended or an industry award you just won. It lets your followers know that you’re serious about your profession and you’re constantly refining your skills. If you’re passionate about community involvement, share a photo of your most recent volunteer day. Clients will appreciate seeing that you intentionally invest in the community on a regular basis.
Even though they are more casual, your Instagram posts should still remain professional as an extension of your business. Stay away from inappropriate jokes, memes or political commentary. Remember, your intention is not to provoke or initiate an argument. Instead, you want to provide your audience with innovative ideas they will find useful in their daily lives and can share with others.
Share finance 101 tips
One of the benefits of Instagram is that it allows us to provide our clients with helpful information in a non-intrusive way. I’ve found that sharing simple financial tips with my followers helps to remind them that we are not only personable, we’re also a knowledgeable resource in the industry. When you post financial advice, keep it brief, don’t lecture and include information that the average American would find valuable. To make your tips more memorable, create simple and sleek graphics with a free graphic design platform like Canva to accompany your post. Even if you’re not artistically inclined, Canva lets you design snap-shot graphics that are on-brand and easy to share.
Instagram’s story feature allows you to publish bite-size video clips that are engaging to your audience and easily sharable. I love incorporating simple industry tips into mine, for example, I recently filmed an Instagram story explaining to mothers why they should keep their children’s health insurance ID in a safe, easily accessible place. This advice resonated with many of my followers, who then shared the content with their friends. When filming Instagram videos, film someplace that feels natural to you, like your kitchen, and create several videos at once to save time. Then, post the clips over the course of the next few weeks.
One of the best ways to advertise your expertise and reach new prospects is to make your financial tips as easily shareable as possible. That way, if a current client finds your advice useful and shares it with her coworker, the coworker quickly becomes a potential prospect. Increase your chances of people sharing your content by posting a short caption alongside your financial advice tip. Remind your followers that, if they found the quick tip helpful, they should share with others who might appreciate it as well.
Instagram is a great tool for broadening your prospect range, and it also helps you connect with them in real life. One of the perks of posting an Instagram story is that you can see who viewed it, so you know if there are any new prospects to reach out to in the following weeks. Including relevant hashtags in your captions such as #financialadvisor, #fintech or #financialplanning is a great way to make sure even more people see your content outside of your regular follower base. In fact, including just one hashtag will score your post 12.6 percent more audience engagement.
Build relationships online and off
Don’t be shy about following clients or prospects on Instagram. I’ve found it helps cultivate the relationship because it allows you to see what’s going on in their lives and then proactively reach out to them if appropriate. If they buy a new house and post about it, give them a call to congratulate them, then advise them on how that purchase affects their current policy. Liking a client’s or prospect’s post keeps you on their mind. If you show up on their feed every so often, it makes it easy for a prospect to reach out about a specific product or for a client to quickly refer you to a friend.
While the goal is to establish a presence on Instagram, don’t rely completely on that presence to connect with clients. You should still mail them a card on their birthday or send them a present when they have a baby. Instagram helps to supplement the human component of our profession, not replace it.
Whatever you do, be there
Next year, Instagram is projected to reach 120.3 million monthly active users, and it’s one of the top platforms that millennials use. If you want to grow your younger client base, earn more referrals or just stay present in your current clients’ lives, Instagram is an excellent tool for cultivating deeper relationships and building your brand. Plus, it’s free advertisement for your practice and expertise. Whether you only share one photo a week or several stories daily, it’s a great tool for any adviser to incorporate into their practice.