The Advisor Coach Podcast: Succeeding As A Virtual Financial Advisor

Successful virtual financial advisors

Success for financial advisors is becoming more reliant on the degree to which they are able to activate their marketing channels to provide value to their ideal client.

The rate at which the world is progressing digitally is something that financial advisors need to keep tabs on. The reality is that the client-advisor relationship’s hallmarked by the Baby Boomer era is becoming extinct. Whether your client is a Gen X, Y or Z, they are continuously adjusting their behaviours according to what technological advancements make their life easier.

Financial advisors cannot expect their ideal clients to feel secure in this often uncertain financial planning process, if they aren’t willing to speak the language their client prefers.

The Advisor Coach Podcast: How can we become successful financial advisors?

ideal client for financial advisors

Our founder Derek Notman, had the privilege of chatting to James Pollard on the Advisor Coach podcast at the beginning of March. They explored why and how financial advisors should make the transition to the virtual model.

You can listen to the podcast below. If you’re interested in what its like to make the transition and how it can benefit you, then download our Virtual Advisor Proclamation eBook here. If you want a light introduction to the Virtual Advisor System, we have a ton of blogs that will get you inspired to make the virtual transition.

 

Social Media Best Practices For Financial Advisors

social media best practices for financial advisors

By now, we all know the power of social media. Its influence is significant enough to sway elections, change buying behaviors, and alter public opinion on almost anything! It’s too big to ignore, so rather than fight it, you should embrace the capabilities of social channels to help connect you with your potential customers.

By being on social media, you let your customers know that you exist, you’re open for business, and you’re ready to listen. It’s a tool you need to leverage as a part of your marketing strategy to remain relevant and competitive.  

Digital marketing for financial advisors can help increase your brand visibility and boost sales in a fast and cost-effective manner. Social media platforms act as mystical portals through which to channel your enchanting story. Cast your spell and put yourself in front of your ideal clients today.   It may sound funky, but the reality is that it works, but only if you actually do it.

 

When Should You Post On Social Media?

A frequency asked question is, when is the ideal time for financial advisors to be posting social media content? Although there is no universal handbook for posting times, and the algorithms of big platforms continue to change regularly, I still have some advice on how to go about your content scheduling. Here are some general rules of thumb:

  • The best time for click-throughs is around 1 to 4 p.m.
  • Wednesday is proven to be the best day to post.
  • The worst time for click-throughs are weekends between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m.

Take these times with a grain of salt. I’m not saying that you should only post to social media during these times, but as a virtual financial advisor who has been doing this since before mass adoption, these are the best averages to go on. 

Your posting schedule will be dependent on your target audience. Say, for instance, you’re a financial advisor who specializes in working with educators. You probably wouldn’t want to follow this advice because your audience will be in school teaching during the “prime times”. So, tailor your approach to your market to maximize exposure and reach. A/B testing is a great way to gauge response rates at different times and on different days. It’s how you find your sweet spot.  

Social Media Best Practices For Financial Advisors

Keeping It Real

Originality is everything when it comes to content and should be your main priority. Your content is an extension of yourself and your story. Please don’t be sending out canned spam into the ether, and by canned spam, I mean cold, generic, lazy and impersonal content.  You know exactly what I am talking about! The kind of content that makes a terrible first impression and probably does more harm than good to you and your practice.

Keep it real – when it comes to social media marketing, content drives engagement. When content is unique and original, it encourages clients to engage with you. Make it personal by writing for your audience. Ask them questions to grab their attention and make them feel as though you are having a conversation with them in an authentic way.

Originality is a brand builder. Posting original content will help search engines drive traffic to your website and boost your reputation in terms of creativity and trustworthiness. This approach can have potential clients feeling as if they know you before even using your service, which is a fantastic foot in the door on the way to building a lasting relationship. 

So, what should you post on Social Media?  A variety of original content.  Plain copy posts.  Pictures.  Short videos (try to keep them under 2 minutes).  Articles.  Audio clips of podcasts you are on or are producing.  The list goes on.  

All of it should be driven by WHO your ideal client is.  And stay out of the weeds, people don’t care so much about complex financial products, strategies, etc.  They want to know who you are.  They want to know how you can help them.  They want to know why you instead of the next advisor.  They want to know the benefits of working with you.  They want to know your why.

social media best practices for financial advisors

The Fundamentals For Social Success

Integrate social media into your overall marketing strategy – Think of social media as an element of, not a replacement for, your other marketing efforts. Start slow. You don’t need to break the internet overnight and trust me, and you won’t. Trying to do too much too fast can be overwhelming. Rome wasn’t built in a day. 

Your efforts will be most effective if you take your time, observing and learning along the way. This will allow you to grow in confidence before tackling a new platform. I recommend starting with LinkedIn, where networking is the game, then move on to Facebook to build some relationships.  A caveat here is that if you know your ideal client is on Facebook, Twitter, etc. more than any other platform then go to that platform and crush it.  You can always add another platform later once you are rocking it on one.

Engagement is key. Don’t post your content and then disappear.  If people are commenting on your content, then engage with them, thank them, ask them additional questions.  Make it a conversation.

Never stop learning from others. What effective financial advisor marketing strategies have you seen lately? What was interesting about their website? What type of updates generated the most interest and engagement? These are the questions you need to be asking yourself to find the most effective solution for yourself.

Set goals for your social efforts – lay out a plan for achieving them and track your progress. Set up automated reminders on your calendar to stay on track with your social ambitions. Be consistent in your messaging and what you post. Once you have set up a pattern for posting you are happy with, stick to it. This forms part of your social identity.  

Lead generation for financial advisors is all about driving traffic into your marketing funnel.  For example, you post on LinkedIn, you build an audience that gets to know you, you post about an eBook they can have for free on your website, you send them there. Measure your efforts by using Google Analytics to track referrals from social media to your site. When you find out what’s driving traffic to your site, do a heck of a lot more of it!

Social media for financial advisors is an art & science.  It is not something that magically starts driving in clients overnight, forget that myth.  If you build a robust digital footprint, which includes social media, and are actively engaged with amazing organic content good things will start to happen.  When you start to see what works then, and only then, should you venture into the world of paid advertising (boosting posts, etc.) to throw gas on a fire you have already started.

What is your favorite social media platform and why?

 

Thanks for taking some time to read this, I really appreciate it!

Best Regards,

Derek Notman

That Annuity Show, Episode 87: Turning Your Practice Into a Lamborghini With Derek Notman

that annuity show financial advisor

How to turn your practice into a Lamborghini

What will become of physical spaces and places as the world continues to progress in the virtual landscape? The truth is, advisors cannot afford to define their financial practice by a zip code anymore, purely because consumer behaviour is changing quicker than we can adapt – the brick and mortar advisor is dead!

Building a niche is building a successful financial practice

Our founder, Derek Notman explains why building a successful practice is like designing and building a Lamborghni.

A metaphor thats only strange if you have trouble understanding what it means to stand out in a very crowded market.

Watch the full show here.

Going Virtual – The Value Of Being A Location Independent Financial Advisor

Helping clients with their financial planning from a sandy beach in South Africa may sound too good to be true, but it’s not, and I’ve done it. The anywhere advisor concept was almost unfathomable a decade ago, but with the rapid adoption of technology in a Covid-accelerated digital wilderness, it’s now the most practical solution.      

Financial advisors traditionally had to sit down with their clients, face-to-face, and walk them through solutions to their financial planning challenges with paper presentations. How to get clients as a financial advisor was about cold calling, door knocking, seminar selling, and so on to drive more in-person meetings. However, times have changed, and virtual advisors are on the rise. Let’s analyze some of the benefits of practicing as a location independent financial advisor.  

Leverage Technology 

Videoconferencing helped me improve my life-work balance by reducing the need for business travel. It also allowed me to take on ideal clients who weren’t initially in my geographic scope, essentially without limit. It’s certainly the most effective way of delivering personalized advice in the digital age and having more time for your social life and family is one heck of an incentive, all while making more money and drastically reducing your overhead in the process.

Technology systems and web-based tools are virtually everywhere, which is a double-edge sword for advisors since so many solutions exist yet we don’t know how to put them all together to get the most out of them.  This is one of the reasons I created Conneqtor, to give advisors the master blueprint they need to help serve clients regardless of where you or your client happens to be

The anywhere advisor can serve different types of clientele, thanks to the cost savings and efficiency of using technology as opposed to a traditional office. Location independence presents the potential to craft an especially focused business serving niche clients that becomes feasible in the world of content and inbound marketing.

Freedom And Well-Being

Imagine never having to delay your life plans, while you wait for the ‘right moment’? Break free from the shackles of a physical location occupation. Stop being bound when you were made to explore. As a virtual financial advisor, you have the opportunity not only to create a life around the business of financial advice but to create an advisory business around living your life to the fullest.  

The ability to balance work and life has become the key to feeling happier and being more productive within your work. Saving time that would otherwise be spent on a long commute allows for better work-life balance and adds hours back into your days. Working remotely can improve your health and wellness by reducing stress.

What about financial freedom? The benefit of operating virtually and having a robust digital presence is that it’s possible to launch a new advisory firm at a fraction of the cost. A brick & mortar location is a massive expense, and with that eliminated, you can focus on building a fierce virtual practice and target your ideal clients. This newly found freedom also makes it more feasible to serve clients with different business models.

How you choose to spend your time saved as a virtual advisor are entirely up to you. Make sure to get that father of the year mug in 2021, go on that trip you’ve always dreamt of, or put the extra hours into other projects or passions. Either way, ka-ching! It all holds value. 

Replace Prospecting With Marketing 

Cold calling now seems like something from a prehistoric nightmare, but it was once a cornerstone of our profession. The world has since gone digital with everyone now online. This is where you must exist to stay relevant. 

Digital marketing is the most powerful asset at the disposal of a virtual financial advisor. Tech platforms offer many new opportunities to improve your overall marketing strategy, such as the ability to reach new audiences, generate leads, and close sales. Digital marketing is no overnight phenomena and can take months to start bearing the fruits of your efforts, but once you have an engaged audience, the value add is quickly evident. 

Connect through content – start focusing on creating content rather than AUM. Assets under management have almost zero value to a potential client. It’s an ego stroke that in a service-based business like ours should be left at the door. Clients are searching for how you can help them, and with 3.5 billion Google searches made every day, you need to be featured among them! 

Embrace technology, grow your digital presence, tap into new markets and become a specialist advisor who operates from anywhere. Write your own story – set your own hours – choose your own destiny. Become the anywhere advisor to acquire more clients, reduce your expenses, and have an amazing life-work balance.  How can anyone argue with this?

 

Best Regards,

Derek Notman

Lead Generation For Financial Advisors Isn’t Everything- Why We Need to Change Our Focus

lead generation for financial advisors

Lead generation for financial advisors, ugh, where do I begin? As advisors, we need to get the nagging voice out of our heads telling us, “you need more leads”. For decades, advisors have been taught to focus on obtaining leads to grow their business. This is all wrong. We don’t want leads, but rather ideal clients.

Think about it, would you like to be referred to as a lead? It’s such an impersonal, inhuman word, solely focused on one thing, selling something. Client, on the other hand, is a far more human word — one that is relatable and will lead to more significant sales.

We need to shift our focus to stay competitive in a rapidly changing world. Prioritize the client, not the business. Treat clients like the unique entities that they are. Worry more about niche satisfaction and the quality of your client acquisition than sheer numbers. Use a personable approach to liaising with clients, made up of empathy and support, to make you the clear choice in a financial advisor. Let’s dive a little deeper, shall we?

 

There Are Better Ways of Doing Things

To truly excel as an advisor, you need to understand you are not merely a salesman. There is so much more to being a great advisor than just selling a product.

Advisors who buy cold leads are essentially slapping people in the face (pitch slapping ring a bell?) as they ask them for money. It demonstrates that someone holds no value to you other than as a pay-check. This is not the kind of experience people are lining up to get more of, and they are rightfully looking elsewhere.

Prospecting is, for all intents and purposes, dead. Yes, it may yield some return — but at what cost? It’s a soul-crushing process that is certainly not scalable. As a virtual financial advisor, myself, I know there are far better ways to tell your story and propel new client acquisition in the digital world we live in today.

financial advisors

The Art of Financial Advice 

Financial advisors who focus on selling a product are subjecting themselves to massive competition – an endless rat race of misguided purpose and ambition. At the end of the day, we can all pretty much sell the same products and services. They are a commodity. But brilliant financial advice? That is an art form. An art form through which you can differentiate yourself and thrive.

Art requires skill – Michelangelo didn’t paint the Sistine Chapel by accident. You will need technical know-how and formidable storytelling abilities. Experience, credentials, and expertise create the basis for great relationships and client trust. Expressing your ideals and breathing life into your brand’s story can be the perfect lure to get well-suited clients.

With the possession of both skills, you can be sure the right clients will be placing their financial wellbeing in your hands. Advisors who focus on the art of financial advice have all the opportunity in the world with virtually no competition.

 

Clients Are Everything

Advisors who focus on client acquisition are the most likely to find long-term success. Remember, people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. You need to show them you care by marketing strong commonalities, deepening the human connection.

An ever-present human element forms part of any effective financial advisor marketing plan. This warm Conneqtor strategy bridges the gap between the service provider and the client. Once the client knows how much you care, they will be chomping at the bit to work with you.

As financial advisors, we need to facilitate meaningful, trust-building conversations. Before assisting with financial decisions, we can help clients clarify priorities and values. In this respect, a better client experience involves having financial knowledge and a fair deal of emotional intelligence.

Financial Advisor helping clients

Client participation

Client participation is equally important. Clients want to feel understood, informed, in control and secure within their service. For us, that means we need to deliver a hyper-personalized experience through smart consistency.

Smart consistency requires understanding where it’s critical to deliver a consistent experience and delivering on that. This means leveraging an established process to create tailored strategies based on what is most important to your clients. Advisors should put their clients’ interests before their own, using their goals and unique perspectives in their tailored strategies. A custom experience – that’s what clients want!

They like knowing what’s happening behind the scenes and feeling they have the best support in their corner. The client relationship should be aligned to achieve common goals of awesome advisory service and financial prosperity.

Time to change your focus, my advisor friends!

I hope you gained some valuable insight from reading this article! Remember, you can always reach out to me for more guidance and advice.

 

Best Regards,

Derek Notman

Best Practices & Tips for Financial Advisors When Working with A VA

Working with a va

Building a team of virtual assistants is one of the best business decisions I ever made.

I was tired of the high costs associated with the traditional W2 employees and all of the hassle, heartache, and expenses that came with them.  So, I did something about it.  The following information is there to help you understand how to best build a team of virtual assistants and give you insight into how you should go about working with a VA.

Done right now only will it save you a ton of money (I was able to reduce my overhead expenses by ~61% because I embraced VAs) but it will propel your business to the next level.

The idea of working with virtual assistants has grown substantially in popularity over the last year, and with it the awareness around being able to run an entire business virtually. It was not always this way – the pandemic accelerated our adoption of working remotely.

I have been a protagonist of the virtual approach for years and, as a result, have much experience when it comes to working with a virtual team; I have ironed out the creases, so to speak.

As a virtual financial advisor, I have been through and tried it all, running my practice remotely for the past eight years – so here are the best practices and tips for building a successful working relationship between you and your VA.

working with a va tips

Be Realistic About Their Workload

One of the biggest mistakes financial advisors make when hiring a VA is expecting them to handle a permanent, full-time employees’ workload. VA’s usually charge per hour or task.

My advice is to be realistic about how much your VA can take on in terms of how many hours they will be working for you a month. Remember they are working for multiple clients, so be upfront with them and allow them to quote you, or at least be transparent about how much they can handle.

If you are paying them for ten hours a month, then do not expect more than that. If you do have more work for them, then you will have to pay for additional hours. They are part-time; remember that.

Train Them Thoroughly

Another aspect that financial advisors tend to overlook is the training of their virtual assistants. Yes, you will be able to find the right fit for your company in terms of experience, but that does not necessarily mean that the VA will be able to come in and be thrown in the deep end straight away.

It is essential to train them on your precise processes and allow them the time to get up to speed with your approach and methods of conducting business.

Do not Micromanage Them

VA’s are used to working alone, remotely, and you must give them the space to do so. Once they have a thorough understanding of your business, provide them with the responsibility; a sense of ownership. Brief them properly and let them run with it. That is the beauty of hiring virtual employees. They are self-starters by nature. This can be a massive asset to your business if managed properly – giving you the time to focus on what is important without having to baby them tirelessly.

dont micro manage when working with a va

Setup the Proper Infrastructure for Communication and Delegation when working with a VA

There is an overabundance of free tools available online for you to work seamlessly with your virtual assistant. Suppose you are willing to pay a subscription fee. In that case, there is also Office 365, which is the ultimate means for virtual collaboration, connection, and communication. You can quite smoothly run your entire financial planning practice using 365, Trello, or Asana (a personal favorite of mine).

There are Skype, Zoom, FreeConferenceCall, and Microsoft Teams for communication, which allows you to have one-on-one calls or even virtual stand-ups with your whole workforce.

So, be sure to do your research and pick the applications which are best suited to your service offering. Your virtual assistant would’ve probably have used most of them, so that should be an issue. Having the proper communication and task delegation infrastructure is critical to building successful relationships with your VA or virtual team.

Empower Them to Buy into The Business

Last but not least, showcase your ‘why.’ As with any hire, you need to communicate to them why working with you is important and beneficial.

Make sure they understand your “why”. Make sure they jive with your vibe. Make sure you like each other. Do not make them think you are always looking over their shoulder. Empower them to be their best, let them know it is OK to make mistakes, and they will want to continue working with you. They will emotionally invest in what you do.

In my virtual advisor system called Conneqtor, which is designed to equip you with all the tools and understanding necessary to run a successful virtual financial planning practice, I specifically teach on how to build a virtual team.

Learn how to run, market, and effectively grow your business in the digital world we live in – download our free eBook to learn more.

No matter your tenure as an advisor it is an almost certainty that you can save money and grow faster by embracing virtual assistants.  Mine have been with me for years and I consider them family.  They have my back, get things done, and are amazing people.  Done right, having a virtual team will be a game changer for your business.

Have questions?  Conneqt with me on LinkedIn and ask away!

Best Regards,

Derek Notman

Riskalyze x Conneqtor Lead Generation Webinar Replay

digital marketing lead generation and defining your niche

Digital Marketing, Lead Generation, and Niches

Digital marketing, lead generation and defining your niche are 3 of the key pillars to the ‘digital as default’ model.

As more financial advisors understand the necessity of adopting a remote advisory model, these pillars will become powerful tools in the arsenal of advisors across the globe.

digital marketing for financial advisors

Riskalyze x Conneqtor Lead Generation Webinar

Our founder, Derek Notman had the privilege of joining Director of Channel Marketing at Riskalyze, Matt Fritsch in exploring these three pillars in an exclusive webinar.

If you missed it, you can watch the webinar below:

In summary, the Virtual Advisor System provides advisors with proven strategies and tools for building a robust digital marketing footprint for enhanced lead generation. It also provides a framework from which to define your niche.

If you want to learn more about the origins of Conneqtor and how the Virtual Advisor System can facilitate your transition onto the virtual advisory model, then download our free e-book here.

How Financial Advisors Can Develop a Compelling Online Experience

financial advisor social media and digital marketing

So here we are, about ten months into a global health emergency. Over the better part of a year, we have seen entire countries go into lockdown, with most of our country forced to work remotely from home.

If having an influential online presence was important before COVID-19, it is a high-priority now. You cannot survive without one. Look, our 2020 plans were through for a loop this year, but there also is a silver lining to it all for financial advisors especially.

Arguably our greatest attribute as a species is our resilience – our ability to come together and prevail through even the most treacherous circumstances.

So, although it has been some year, I’m here to show you how to embrace this new normal to your advantage as a financial advisor. It begins with developing a compelling online experience.

Adapt your Strategy

Due to the vast improvements in technology, many of our daily tasks have carried on the same, with some now automated. However, as a financial advisor looking to attract prospects (new clients), you cannot rely on previous marketing methods that are more than dated.

social media strategy

As a matter of fact, you’ve got to change your marketing strategy quite significantly.

By adapting your outreach and lead nurturing approach, you will ensure growth and sustainability. Although it first may seem a little daunting, once you’re up and running, it is more scalable and predictable, not to mention that the consumer expects it.

You can start shifting your strategy by working on your blog and social media presence. Everyone is at home, which means that most of us are on our devices more than usual, so it’s the perfect opportunity to engage with your target audience.

Try to build your new marketing strategy around giving your readers valuable advice that they can apply to their lives immediately. In other words, use your skills and experience to write guides, lists & tip style blogs, newsletters, and eBooks that are free to download. You will need to publish content regularly, at least once a week, so get creative and use your knowledge to reel prospective clients in.

Use Social Media to Promote Your Content

No one wants to be blatantly sold to. You have to base your social media strategy around providing real worth to your audience first. Sure, when you’ve built up a following, there’s no harm in a self-promotional post once a week, but for now, make sure your posts are giving something worthwhile to whoever they reach.

Your social media channels should be used as a conversion tool to serve as a source of credibility for your business and aid your SEO efforts. Your channels (compliance approved of course), such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, should always be kept active with relevant, helpful content and should never be directly used for finding new clients.

Content posted on social media should be broken down into the following categories:

Educational content

Educational content should be made up of posts that share helpful, informative, and valuable information to your audience on a topic that resonates with them. Think about what you can teach them about – top tips, how-to’s, infographics, did you know’s, blog posts, industry information, resources, case studies, etc.

Conversational content

Here, it would help if you tried to ask the audience questions and get people engaging with your brand – think ‘fill in the blank,’ ‘caption this,’ ‘give your opinion,’ or polls that they can interact with.

Entertaining content/Inspirational content

It would be best if you weren’t too serious all of the time. Have some fun and create posts that your audience will relate to and enjoy – think memes, quotes, fantastic imagery, motivational posts, feel-good stories, etc.

Brand connection content

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, you need to make your clients’ experience more personal. Again, have a little fun and showcase what you’re all about. Brand connection content should be focused on behind the scenes, employee features, and your brand story.

Promotional content

Try to build a following first, and once you have, sneak in posts that promote your products, services, specials, deals, etc. Also, make sure to add a call to action so that your followers know exactly what to do should they be interested in what’s on offer.

Use Paid Media Campaigns for Promotion

There are so many ways to ensure your marketing efforts are impactful and effective. Once you publish content regularly and promote it across your socials, you can look at setting up paid ad campaigns.

facebook social media ads

Paid advertising is hugely beneficial because it garners instant results, can be measured, is cost-effective, and ultimately enhances your efforts towards building meaningful relationships with your audience.

Now that you’ve adopted a fully digital financial planning practice, your overhead can be considerably lower, so investing in the right tools to help you develop a compelling online experience is imperative to your success.

At Conneqtor, we have built a comprehensive set of processes that will help you establish yourself as a financial advisor in this day and age. Download our free eBook to find out more.

I hope you enjoyed reading this!

Kind regards,

Derek Notman

Mastering the Remote Digital Advice Delivery Experience – Asset-Map webinar replay

Our Founder, Derek Notman was fortunate enough to join fellow advisor turned entrepreneur, H. Adam Holt, for a recent asset-map webinar aptly titled ‘Tales from Two Advisors: Mastering the Remote Digital Advice Delivery Experience‘.

What is Asset-Map?

Asset-Map, like Conneqtor is a virtual advisor tool that allows advisors to provide a comprehensive advisory experience that not only engages, but empowers clients to make better decisions. The software allows advisors to collaborate with clients on their ideal virtual financial map, subsequently allowing them to realise their financial hopes and dreams.

Why use Asset-Map? Its simple – it allows you to be more efficient, more calculated, and therefore increases your revenue generation potential!

Tales from Two Advisors: Mastering the Remote Digital Advice Delivery Experience

H. Adam Holt and Derek Notman, both embraced the digital financial model over seven years ago. Since then, they have both launched successful products that seek to not only empower advisors by directly addressing the pain points advisors face when transitioning to a remote virtual model.

In the webinar, the two discuss:

  • How to create a robust digital footprint to attract new clients.
  • Digital fact-finding (from shoeboxes to Dropbox).
  • Managing a virtual meeting calendar.
  • How to present impactful visuals virtually.
  • Virtual team management.

Click the image below to view the webinar:

 

Digital Marketing for Financial Advisors: Compliance Guidelines

digital marketing compliance fir financial advisor

When creating a digital marketing strategy, compliance is often a complicated issue for financial advisors, usually turning out to be a bigger headache than it should.

I recently created a poll in a LinkedIn group, asking my peers what the biggest challenge preventing them from creating content on social media is, and 52% of them answered compliance.

Sure, digital marketing compliance for financial advisors is tricky, but you will never look back once you set up a proper process. After all, this is where most of your leads will come from, so you must come to terms with it.

Because social media posts are a form of advertising, your social accounts as a financial advisor are subject to specific regulations.

It all starts with understanding the law, on top of your company’s policies and procedures.

How you are registered as an advisor (RIA, IAR, Agent, RR, etc.) will partially determine what regulations you fall under but I believe it is safe to say that for an issue-free online presence, FINRA’s rules on communicating with the public as a financial advisor are crucial to follow. I think it equally important to abide by the requirements monitored by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). These rules are in place to protect your audience from false, misleading claims, fabricated statements, and material breaches.

finra headquarters

As a financial advisor myself, I live in one of the industry’s most conservative compliance environments, so if I can do it, any advisor should be able to.

Here are some guidelines to follow when it comes to Digital Marketing for Financial Advisors.

Set up Your Social Accounts and Website to Be Compliant from The Beginning

As long as you are aware and understand the basic rules and set up your profiles to be compliant from the very beginning, keeping up with approved content will become second nature for you.

Most often personal & business profiles are subject to adhere to compliance standards for financial advisors. This includes any social account or profiles directly connected to and managed by you or your business. This will likely include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Your broker-dealer or another registered principal is responsible for having policies in place to archive, review, and pre-approve (when necessary) any content published on these accounts.

Get Your Content Pre-Approved from Compliance

The content you’ll need to get approved for publishing is any long-form content, such as blogs, whitepapers, eBooks, or newsletters. Long-form content or static content is usually published on your website and then shared to your social accounts – it lives on your site for an extended period. blog approval for compliance

If you have a digital marketing strategy and plan, you will need to get this type of content pre-approved by a registered principal. Whether this is through a broker-dealer or an independent RIA, it is imperative to get your content pre-approved before posting to avoid breaking any compliance rules.  Although a bit of a hassle this part is very important.  Your compliance back-office if there to protect you too so it’s imperative you work with them instead of against them.

Additionally, you’ll also be doing some community management, and hopefully, be answering a lot of inquiries through direct messaging. Anything interactive, such as tweets, videos, or posts to your wall, will happen in real-time and obviously cannot always be pre-approved for compliance. Although they can’t be pre-approved, they should most certainly be monitored & archived by someone who fully understands the rules and regulations.

Your best bet is to have a policy in place and train anyone who will be posting content on your business’s behalf, such as an assistant or a social media manager.

A lot of firms use technology made available from outside vendors that allows all of your content to be archived and monitored in real time, much better to do this than try and do it manually.

Put A Policy in Place

By having a policy that aligns with FINRA’s rules and ensuring that your employees understand and know how to follow it, you will always be in the clear.

When engaging with clients, prospective clients, or anyone you interact with online, it’s essential to keep up to date with any changes to compliance so that your business can stay away from any issues.

Make sure you understand which posts should be pre-approved, which posts need to be reviewed, and ensure that your employees understand the importance of adhering to your policy. You can view all compliance rules here.

If you are affiliated with a B/D or RIA they have teams that do just this and then educate the field on how to best interact online.  If you are independent this is on you and your firm to manage or find a firm to outsource it to.

Although being part of a B/D or RIA compliance environment can be frustrating it also is a major opportunity for you.  If you do things correctly and are respectful of your compliance department you can stand a chance to influence their policies to better reflect the world we live in.

You Need to Archive Everything

Regarding digital marketing for financial advisors, it’s an absolute must to keep track of and archive any content you publish online. Regulations demand that you archive all of your content and activity for at least three years. Why? For your protection.

If anyone has an issue or dispute with something you have published or shared further down the line, you will be able to dig it up and prove your actions.

Keeping tabs on what you’ve posted requires proper archiving tools. Each type of contact or update needs to be archived, no matter what account you’re using. This includes sent and received messages, which should be reviewed and monitored as they occur. The monitoring of these messages guarantees compliance for financial advisors, so action can be taken if necessary.

For your website this also can be automated and made simple with strong workflows.  I use Advisor Websites for my two sites and their dashboard is directly connected to my compliance back-office so they can review, archive, and approve all my website content.

Never Recommend A Particular Investment or Product

Again, this is for your own protection. By refraining from making any investment recommendations, you will not be held accountable for any of your audience’s choices. Your goal with social media, digital marketing, and your website should be to create an educational environment where people can come get to know you and learn about things in general terms.

You shouldn’t be recommend a product, investment, strategy, etc. since you have no idea who is seeing your message and what their situation is.

Instead you should be letting people get to know you, professionally and personally, sharing general principals and ideas, and so on.  Your digital marketing efforts should lead people down a path to eventually them wanting to contact you.  If done correctly people will know what you do and who you do it for.  So build your tribe and let people contact you when they are ready.

Be Mindful of Third-Party Websites and Links

Using third-party sites to deepen your content has enormous benefits. The most significant benefit is through backlinks, which can improve your organic ranking on search engines and generate referral traffic.

Just take the same approach as with any of your other activities online, be wary of whether the content or website you are linking to is compliant with the rules and regulations set out by FINRA and SEC.  This will be a tough one to manage but what you can do is make sure in your disclaimers that people understand you are not responsible for the information you linked to and are providing it as a value add since you believe it helps further your point and message.

In short, don’t link to any sites that may contain false or misleading information. As you begin to post compliant content, it will take no time at all for you to identify what kind of content is acceptable.

You do not want your firm to look as if it is endorsing any cunning content.

Lastly, my advice is to add a disclaimer on your social media profiles stating that none of the information you provide should be construed as investment advice – this will act as an additional barrier of security against any disputes.  In fact, this is required by virtually all firms and is simply a best practice you should be using.

So, there you have it, digital marketing compliance for financial advisors in a nutshell.  Yes, there is a lot to it, but it is clear you can be successful with your efforts if you stick to being honest, ethical, and following the letter of the law.  Feel free to check out my advisor websites for Intrepid Wealth Partners and Tribe of Luxury for ideas and inspiration.

If you have any further questions in connection with digital marketing for financial advisors, please feel free to contact me – I am always happy to help!

I hope you find this article useful.

Kind regards,

Derek Notman